Twelve years ago, in 1996, AIESEC United States moved to dissolve its own compendium, and thus ended the student-run nature of the organization on a national level.
On Sunday, October 19, 2008, in Kresge Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, the National Plenary of AIESEC United States held the first legislation since that time.
Twelve years of struggle, strife, anger, high times and low times, opaque structures, “need-to-know” bases, CNDAs, sidelinings, secret conversations in hotel rooms and across the world, member obliterations, and my own Local Committee’s obliteration came to an end.
We got the history, unfiltered and full-on, for the first time. We heard the shocking current state of the organization as it has been dropped in our hands. And then we took on responsibility and we got to work.
Normally we’re running out the door at six in the evening on Saturdays for national LTMs. We groan when we get outside, and we make coalitions to talk about the farce that went on in the meeting. We roll our eyes, get very frustrated, threaten to quit. We despair.
This time, we voluntarily forewent dinner until nine, and even then wanted to stay and order dinner in to keep working, but at that point we were pretty ahead of schedule so it wasn’t necessary. We all had such high spirits, and a delicious dinner with Chicago-style deep dish pizza did nothing to diminish that. Neither did the beer tower that Dave, LCP Austin, and I shared that night.
We reconvened again at nine in the morning to do legislation. After a humorous education by Naoufel and Missy, we arranged ourselves, LCPs the ones to wield the votes. We established our structure, our elections process (the part I worked heavily on), and our business development structure. All were passed by acclamation, but not after some good discussion and amendment.
Notably, LC Madison was the proposer to open legislation, and LC Georgia Tech was the proposer to close legislation, with LC Yale seconding. I used my speaking time for the proposing to express how proud I was to be in that room with those people, after our struggle together and unfortunately at times against each other, to come to this seminal moment in the life of AIESEC US, in my own life, and I believe in AIESEC as a global organization. After Alina from Yale noted that this was the first legislation in twelve years, we closed our legislation by acclamation.
There is a huge amount of work to do before Winter Conference in St. Louis. There is so much to be careful about due to the financial mess we have been left in and our vulnerability to litigation, albeit unfounded. Despite all of this, we have risen above, we have taken on responsibility, we have come into the role we are destined to play and are bound to pass on to generations of the future, generations who have a world to change just like we do.
It’s cool to be an LCP!