Recently the Comité Directeur distributed the Open Call (OC) for autumn Agora 2014 organisers. In the meantime people in Zaragoza and Patra work hard on preparing the best Agorae ever, despite being organised in two countries where the economic situation could be better. The AEGEEan interviewed Angela Campos from Zaragoza and Costas Deltouzos from Patra to get an update on the two events.
In a recent interview with The AEGEEan Chema Rueda told us that working with FR for the Agora is difficult so The AEGEEan decided to interview Angela Campos from AEGEE-Zaragoza who is the responsbile of fundraising. She tells The AEGEEan that when deciding to organize the Agora they were fully aware of the economic situation and the difficult task it was going to be. “Getting money is always hard work, but the more help you get, the easier it is, and I can tell you we have a really motivated team working on it.”
When getting deeper into the subject Angela recognizes the difficulty of getting money as a big challenge “Actually it’s the biggest problem you have to face when you are an organizer. I think it complicates everything because while you are working on other tasks, money is always on your mind. By the way, I think that fundraising used to be the main challenge for each core team and we will go ahead. Our main goal has always been to organise the best Agora ever, regardless of the economic situation we are living in.” AEGEE-Zaragoza is doing everything they can to make sure it will be an Agora that everybody will remember “We are looking for fundraising everywhere, we are calling all the enterprises we know, asking for help from our region, trying everything, doing our best and we always welcome any help we get. It’s known that hard times make you stronger and every effort is being made to improve the ZarAgora.” One of the impressing deals that AEGEE-Zaragoza managed to get was together with Spanish railway company Renfe and buscompany Alsa to ensure that participants arrive in a great way to Zaragoza.
It is not only ZarAgora organisers who are trying to impress everybody with a fantastic event. Agora Patra organisers are also facing similar challenges but also have manners to overcome them. Main organiser Costas Deltouzos comments “Both Spain and Greece face big problems because of the economic crisis and of course fundraising is not easy in this period. So before applying as a host antenna for the Spring Agora, we wanted to be sure we would be able to do it even with little fundraising in money. We analyzed the basic needs (lodging, meals, facilities) in order to have an Agora in Patra and started fundraising them in kind. When we got the first meetings with University, the Sports Center and the Vice Mayor and got their support, we knew that we can host this Agora! Of course not all of the needs are covered yet, but we have a nice FR team working on it”, he says with a smile.
Another thing that the two antennae share is the eagerness to prepare of members and helpers in the best way for the Agora. Recently AEGEE-Zaragoza organised a Local Training Course (LTC) and Patra has something similar in mind “We plan to have several team building activities. First is a big Regional Training Course (RTC) with the other Greek locals before the end of the year, either in Patra or somewhere close. The aim will be to both make young members more active and educate the future helpers of the Agora. Then we plan to have close communication with all helpers involved throughout the preparation phase. Finally one month before the Agora we will bring everybody together again and work specifically on team building.”
Up until now it has not actually been official when the Agora in Patra will take place but it seems that the dates are set. “There was a big discussion on when the Agora should take place. Initially we wanted it to be during the Greek Easter holidays, but since the facilities were not available at that time, we decide to postpone it to later. So the dates selected are April 30th to May 4th 2013 and it will not be changed unless there is a huge need.”
In the past hosting an Agora or an EBM has been a cost to antennae financially, so The AEGEEan asked Costas how they in Patra work to assure that they will have enough financial means to cover the big event. “The fundraising strategy aims in several directions. One part has to do with local institutes/foundations and authorities, where our strong point is that we are bringing 1000 European students in Patra, a city that is not known widely abroad. So all these local partners are eager to help us have a memorable Agora. Second part has to do with companies, both local and international, that see this event as a big promotional campaign for their products. The last part has to do with European institutes that want to support us because the theme of the Agora is about youth participation and the European Parliamentary Elections 2014.”
The YVote2014 project kicked off in Valladolid recently and will be organizing another event in Las Palmas in the beginning of October. They will also have a big influence on the Agora in Patra and Costas elaborated on it when asked whether or not they will work together with the YVote2014 project team “Yes, during my visit in the CD house this June, I had a meeting with the project team of YVote2014 and expressed to them our will to have this theme for our Agora. We both agreed that a cooperation between the Agora and the YVote2014 project would be beneficiary for us both! The key person for this cooperation is Alma Mozgovaja that is member of both Core Team of Agora Patra and the YVote2014 project.”
AEGEE-Patra was earlier this year elected as Local of the Month because of being so efficient with HR and distributing work amongst different teams, and talking with Costas it seems that all of them are busier than ever “After the summer holidays and the exam period of September, all the sub-teams are starting to work hard again on their tasks. The IT team is working on our website, the HR team is recruiting new people, the PR team is creating our visual identity etc. We are working also on creative ideas on how to rock ZarAgora, but I can’t say more at the moment!”
Guess we just have to wait a bit more to experience how AEGEE-Patra wants to surprise us at the Agora in Zaragoza next month!
Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København