Local of the Month: AEGEE-Valladolid organising its first event for more than 200 participants

Organising an event for 200 people is no easy task. However, it is a task that is possible to overcome, and it does not matter whether or not the antenna hosting it is young or experienced. The secret recipe is to have a strong supportive network and motivation, and the result is Renove. An event that you could read about in The AEGEEan the other day and an event that made The AEGEEan team choose AEGEE-Valladolid to be honored as this month’s Local of the Month.

For many members of the Spanish speaking locals this “Renove” event has gained a special place in their hearts, despite only being an event organised once in 2011, and the second time about two weeks ago. However, this event might be even more special for AEGEE-Valladolid members because it is the first event that this antenna has organised since being “brought back from the dead” when they became an antenna in Spring Agora Enschede 2012, and the succesful organisation of this event made them deserve the title as this month’s “Local of the Month”.

One of the organisers, Patricia Garcia, is new in AEGEE too, and she told The AEGEEan about how she joined the Network more or less one year ago: “It all started in September of the past year. One day I was thinking about joining a student association, something I always wanted, but in Valladolid I only knew about Board of European Students of Technology (BEST, for engineers). Then I remembered that my cousin told me once how she had travelled to Brussels with one association that existed in León. I phoned her and she told me about AEGEE. I liked what I heard so she told me about Sergio Oliveros who was trying to create an antenna in Valladolid. Half an hour later I was talking to Sergio on Facebook, a week later I met him and Alberto Cuesta Noriega (AEGEE-Oviedo) and the following week I went to Renove in Madrid.”

Soon she became a part of the team trying to bring AEGEE to Valladolid, and together with Sergio and others she kept fighting for the creation of the antenna because they were all convinced that it was possible and worth it. Then, as history tells us, the antenna was fully created in May and soon the preparation for Renove 2.0 began. A big event to host for a new antenna, and possibly an even bigger event to handle for a first-time organiser, but Patricia managed to enjoy it:  “My first event in AEGEE was Renove so I was looking forward to assisting Renove 2.0. When we knew it would be in Valladolid I was enthusiastic about organising it. I must say it was overwhelming. It was my third event and my first time organising so I had to learn while doing everything, which made things a bit… chaotic,” she laughs and continues “It was really difficult on some occasions to manage with more than 200 people but we did our best and Renove had stuck us together. Besides people from AEGEE-Valladolid, there were helpers from other antennae that made things easier. Organisers, helpers, participants…  Thank you all!”

Another organiser of the Renove 2.0 was Sergio Oliveros, president and founder of AEGEE-Valladolid. The AEGEEan managed to catch him as well, congratulate him on being president of Local of the Month, and hear about the future of AEGEE-Valladolid.

The AEGEEan:  Congratulations on becoming “Local of the month” – what does this mean to you?

Sergio: First of all, thank you very much for this award. This is something very very special and important for us. We are a new antenna (just since Agora Enschede). It was our first event, and the challenge was very big: 200 people. As president, and one of the most experienced members or our antenna, I am proud of AEGEE Valladolid’s team, and all of our helpers of almost all the Spanish antennae, for being able to organise and manage such a big and amazing event.

Last time you told The AEGEEan that you had tripled your number of members, what does the member situation look like in AEGEE-Valladolid today?

Well, summer is a difficult time to recruit members, because of the holidays, Summer Universities (SU) etc. But after summer is the perfect moment to activate them, and the aim of this event was exactly to do so. The situation is almost the same since SU campaign but thanks to Renove 2.0 we have motivated some more people, almost all of our members were helpers/organisers in the event, and their motivation right now is close to the sky. Thanks to that we will be able to organise a lot of activities during this season and we hope to increase our number of members with them. We will also organise a Local Training Course (LTC) in November for all of our new members and newbies of the closer antennae.

Also, last time you said that AEGEE-Valladolid was interested in having a volunteer through European Service Voluntary (EVS) in your city, what does the situation look like today?

Yes, and we still are very interested in it, but it is a hard process. We have every document, and whatever we can do, but now the biggest problem is that the university cannot provide us with one office, and that fact is blocking our plans. But anyway we are going to re-start the dialogue with the university in the next week trying to get it, and finally use the possibility of EVS in our antennae, only option of EVS in the city.

You organised Renove 2.0 last weekend, how did it go? Did you have any difficulties organising the event?

AEGEE-Valladolid members at Renove in 2011

Well, all of the members of the team were newbies in organisation of events (also the main organiser), so we had to do our best to learn very fast and not to make mistakes. A big event like that requires very important logistics and coordination, but finally we got good places for sleeping, workshops, activities, meals and social programme, and all of them closer than 150m to the gym.

Organising the groups for team-building activities, dividing them and moving them for the cultural visits due to the huge amount of people, coordinating an interactive wine tasting with all the participants… But luckily, we were able to do everything thanks to the support of Serrada’s City Hall, the village where the event took place.

At the beginning we felt nervous, also sometimes kind of lost, but bit by bit everything was better and better – the nervousness became fun, and we got a nice event.

So what lies in the future of AEGEE-Valladolid?

Our feelings are amazing right now. Our motivation is really high, our team spirit is completely alive. The team is meeting once per week, increasing our motivation. Our next activity will be an LTC, to be organised the week after Agora Budapest, and then we will develop our activity plan and strategy during the upcoming season.

We will explain to our new members what AEGEE is, on a local and European level. Moreover we will have workshops about how to manage the antenna, how to work as a treasurer or a secretary, how to work in group… Everything needed for being active in our antennae.

Part of your antenna is your mascot Chazo… Why is it called Chazo and what kind of an animal is it?

The newlyweds

It was not easy to find a name for our lovely mascot. First of all we wanted to choose something representative of our city, and that animal is the most typical of our gastronomy. A lechazo is a baby lamb that has not eaten anything but milk. It is a typical meal in this province in addition to wine. Then, the name of Chazo comes from this animal, but the original name is “Chazo le Chazo” (like the 007 agent), but Chazo for friends.

Is it true that he got married during Renove 2.0?

Yes, that is true, in Renove Chazo he got married to Latxa Pela, a beautiful sheep from Bilbao, and the wedding was like a real one. We sent invitations to all of our participants, including them in one group depending of their relation with the couple, for example “Ex”, “Singles”, “Family”, “Lovers” and so on for 12 groups.

The event started with the open ceremony, presentation and live music. It was followed by an interactive wine tasting, European night and stag party, and a full programme on Friday night. After cultural visits and team-building games in the afternoon, the wedding ceremony took place. It included speeches and presents of every group. Finally the whole thing ended with a joyful dinner and party. But the wedding was much more than that. We are going to start new activities with our “wife antenna”, exchanges, and we are also thinking about the next Travelling SU (TSU) Bilbao-Valladolid.

It seems that AEGEE-Valladolid has many plans in store for the future. The AEGEEan congratulates them once more on being the Local of the Month and on the wedding of their mascot… May everybody live happy ever after!

Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København

Attention: If you think you know an antenna, which deserves to be honoured as “Local of the Month”, send an email with the locals’ name and the reason for nominating to aegeean@aegee.org.