Throughout the AEGEE Network inspiring local activities are being organized every year and The AEGEEan decided to honor this for The AEGEEan’s Choice Awards 2014. Therefore five antennae are nominated for the “Most inspiring local activity” category.
AEGEE-Warszawa is nominated for the “Don’t talk to strangers – or do” activity. The AEGEEan interviewed Izabela Rudnicka (the coordinator of the project). “I came up with the idea of the project when applying for a summer school in New York. The essay questions made me think about equality and all my experiences with people disliking others just because of their foreign nationality.” The project consisted of a series of meetings with foreigners living in Poland, talking about their culture and their emigration experience. It was meant to broaden the horizons of people and fight the prejudice. There were mostly AEGEE members involved in the activities, but everybody else was also invited to come and discuss. “We struggled with finding a venue and getting people interested in the project, but we will definitely repeat it. Maybe we can even expand it to include more social groups against which prejudice exists in Poland,” Izabela tells The AEGEEan.
AEGEE-Tenerife has also been very active in the society and is nominated for the promotion of voluntarism and trying to help Tenerife to become the European Youth Capital 2015. The local municipality summoned all youth associations by the end of November 2011 to propose the idea of running for the contest to become European Youth Capital 2015. “Our president, Tayri Campo volunteered to be the youth representative for the project. That year, we were rejected on the first round. However, there was already collaboration among the youth associations and it was us this time who decided that we would like to run a second time, but this time in a more organized way. She was also the youth representative for the next year and the coordinator of La Laguna Youth Forum. So it was a project lasting from November 2011 to November 2013.” AEGEE-Tenerife boosted the creation of a platform called La Laguna Youth Forum to promote the collaboration among the associations and to make it easy for other young people to participate either in the European Youth Capital Project or in any other of their organizations as they gained visibility. “Some of the things we are more fond of is the promotional video. We created the script and were lucky to know some young professionals in filming and editing who were willing to collaborate. We also had an exchange with AEGEE-Thessaloniki, hosting them here to know about the good practices of Thessaloniki to become the current European Youth Capital in 2014 and them hosting us during the final ceremony in Thessaloniki. Next to that, we had a trip to the European Parliament and the Committee of Regions in Brussels to present our project and look for support.
Several members of AEGEE-Tenerife also participated in the forum as IT managers and designers. “It was a lot of work trying to organize activities among associations as each of us had their own internal activities in the organization so, it was like having the double amount of work. It was also difficult to concentrate all personal objectives into a global one as many people were involved. Concerning data it was needed to do a thorough study of statistics in the municipality to look for the most important needs for young people.” And even though AEGEE-Tenerife did not become the Youth Capital they still gained from the project. “First of all young people are more connected, networking has improved and we have worked together and learnt about what other associations do. This and the platform are the most important things we have gained. Also we have gained more experience about European level projects and learnt a lot about politics for youth on an European Level and the previous Youth in Action programme. We also feel that young people who participated in EYC are much more aware about the opportunities Europe has and what they can do to take advantage of them and develop an active role.”
The AEGEEan also talked with AEGEE-Zaragoza about their collaboration with the Food Bank (Banco de Alimentos). Carlota Castel from AEGEE-Zaragoza says “It was Silvia Sánchez who suggested to collaborate with this project back in 2012. She managed to organise our chaotic schedules so all of us could participate in the activity.” The Food Bank is a non-profit charitable organisation that distributes food to those who have economical problems to put food on the table.
Members of AEGEE-Zaragoza spent the day in supermarkets talking to people about the importance of donating and also collected the food. Since 2012 it has been organized again in December 2013 and it is the reason why AEGEE-Zaragoza is nominated for “Most inspiring local activity”. Up to 20 members of AEGEE-Zaragoza took part in the activity which was published in the Facebook group of the antenna and a lot of rookies were happy to get involved in the activity, even if they didn’t have a lot of time to work for AEGEE itself. “It is good to know that they are there when we are dealing with something important,” Carlota says. The success will of course be repeated next year. “This is an annual event and we are eager to mobilise more members and friends next year.”
AEGEE-Brescia is nominated for the “European Talks” activity, which was an idea by Michele Turati. Every year, AEGEE-Brescia’s team applied for funds from the university in order to let some prestigious speakers come to Brescia to deliver a lecture about different important topics regarding Europe. The 4th edition of European Talks were given once per week and the period was from September 2013 until December 2013. The “talks” are just small conferences. Each talk is divided in two parts: the first is a speech of a invited speaker, the second part is a debate/discussion. Participants have the opportunity to talk with the speaker during the talk. The aims of the “talks” are to examine European topics and problems of students, especially of European citizens.
The super motivated team of AEGEE-Brescia as organizers and many AEGEE members as speakers took part in the activity in the autumn of 2013 (Sabiha Kapetanovic, Alexandra Vilcu, Vytoria Voytsekhovska, Lea Charlet, Karolina Mazetyte, Miguel Gallardo Albajar). Michele Minuti tells The AEGEEan about the challenges: “The speakers are involved in AEGEE projects or working groups and the main challenge was to promote them in Brescia, showing how much AEGEE is full of opportunities. Every year we get new motivated members by this activity.” Despite the challenges, the success of this activity will also be repeated. “We have already requested money from the University for the 5th Edition. Gunnar Eath, Szabina Hellinger, Maria Arends, Veronika Velkovska will be the speakers for the new edition and they will talk about non-formal education, media, Erasmus+ and human rights.”
AEGEE-Zielona Gora is also nominated for organizing “Bone marrows day donation” activity. However, it has unfortunately not been possible for The AEGEEan to obtain information about the activity.
Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-Zaragoza