Recently it was shared with our Network that the host of the AEGEE Olympics is AEGEE-León: a strong and motivated antenna that is already working hard on organising a big event for 200 people in October. The AEGEEan interviewed Daniel Garcia Rodriguez, Local Activities Responsible and Sport Responsible of AEGEE-León, in order to get to know what is going on in the life of their antenna.
The AEGEEan: Can you tell us a bit about your local?
Currently we have about 100 members, and 35 of us are very motivated and active members who work every week in our sports and local activities, trips with Erasmus, thematic parties, workshops, and participating in AEGEE events in all Spain and Europe. When we talk about each other we say AEGEE-León is like our other family, and at this moment we think that is time to show it to the rest of Europe with this incredible and thrilling project “The first AEGEE Olympics with the SWG”.
You are one of the locals involved with the European Voluntary Service program. How are you involved in it and how has the experience been so far?
We are a young institution accredited in the EVS (since September 2012), as sending, hosting and coordinating organisation. We applied for our first volunteer and fortunately we got someone. She has been with us since February and will be here until June 2013.
As sending organization there were many solicitors. We have planned to send AEGEE-León members as volunteers to other countries during the next year. When you see that all your efforts are paying off, you feel good about it. The EVS is a very important opportunity to get experience, and it is a very good solution to youth unemployment and a strong training alternative in Europe. So we want to continue being in the EVS, and encourage other antennae to join it.
Furthermore, your mascot is nominated again for the cutest mascot award for The AEGEEans Choice Awards. What makes him so popular, and do you think he will win again?
Yes, we are very proud of Leoncio. We know he will win because he has the AEGEE spirit: he travels a lot, he is a party animal, he is interested in savannah affairs and he seeks cooperation between other mascots.
Also, you are organizing the same Summer University for the third time in a row? What makes your Summer University so special, and what is changed about this year’s edition?
Our two last versions of St. James’ way were really successful, in 2011 we got the first place in the ranking, in the second version in 2012, we got the third position so the results were still amazing. This year it is a Summer Course, not a Travelling Summer University (TSU), so we will try to get even closer to environmental issues. And we want to open it for disabled people, in particular blind people. It is going to be a huge challenge but we are sure we will succeed.
You are one of the locals that use sports a lot in your activities, but maybe not everybody knows about it. Please tell us how you use sports in AEGEE-León?
We use sports as an important tool to connect to our local Erasmus students. These moments of sport are one opportunity to bond with them and to promote the integration and team spirit. This way the Erasmus students can have a nice afternoon with AEGEE-León.
In implementing this, we cooperate closely to our university – they let us use their facilities to play two hours of football every Monday, two hours of basketball every Thursday and two hours of volleyball every Friday. Usually we have around 30-40 exchange students participating in these activities, and AEGEE-León members enjoy playing with them each day. Also, four to five times during the year we organise a world championship of football: one part is general (male and female) and other part is for female teams.
Which leads me to the AEGEE Games – why did you choose to apply to host the first edition of this event?
When we first heard about the AEGEE Olympics inspired games we immediately thought that it could be a very good opportunity to host an interesting sport meeting. Our faith in our strong cooperation with our university because of all the sports we already do with them, and the fact that we have many motivated and active members hoping to organise a good event lead us to develop a very good project.
The motivation of AEGEE-León is very inspriring and The AEGEEan hopes that other antennae will follow their example and focus on the thematic aspect of AEGEE, Working Groups, and strong Summer Universities.
Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København