AEGEE-Burgos was born only six years ago, and since then, they haven’t stopped facing one challenge after another one: organising Summer Universities, Network Meetings, a Renove, several training courses… The ‘peak’ came only last February, when they organised a European Planning Meeting. Many agree that it has been one of the best statutory events in the past years, and they have unanimously been elected as Local of the Month of March! The AEGEEan has spoken to Rubén Sanz, main organiser of the EPM Burgos and one of the people who made AEGEE-Burgos grow so successfully in the past years. Now watch out… as they have some new challenges in mind!
The AEGEEan: First of all, congratulations! You just came back from organising the European Planning Meeting in Burgos, what was the feedback that you got from the participants?
Rubén Sanz, AEGEE-Burgos: Thanks a lot for this prize, dear AEGEEan! We always support you as much as we can, and you have made us very happy when you nominated us [at the past two editions of The AEGEEan’s Choice Awards, ed.] as “Best merchandising” for our famous pink style, and Morcillote for “Best Mascot”. This is the first time we win in one of The AEGEEan’s awards and you can not imagine how happy we are.
The feedback was awesome, all people have written really nice things about us. You know, Burgos is one of the smallest AEGEE cities and universities, so we have to work more than others to get good results. All the work has been rewarded when you constantly hear that all the small details were thought of. I always say that big things are the link between a lot of small ones, so first of all we took care of all the small details, and we made a big effort to try to avoid problems. When somebody asked anything, we always had the answer prepared, people were aware of it it and that was the result. In the words of the Comité Directeur at the closing ceremony: “the best organised event ever”.
Which are, according to you, the ingredients that made the EPM such a good event?
I think the mix of experienced members and newbies with a lot of motivation. What made the EPM so incredible was the group, there is no doubt about this, with about 30 people from Burgos and 12 helpers from other cities with a lot of experience. We had a lot of training weekends for all the organisers, so we were prepared for this. But to me, the most important thing is that we have become friends, all of us, so when one organiser could be tired… another one was always going to help him, so the support and the motivation were absolutley amazing. This was team work, and it ended as a group of friends doing a common project. This recognition is the recognition to all of them.
Were there any “congratulation” messages that made you particularly happy or proud?
Yes, I was completely impressed when I got a congratulation message from a board member of AEGEE-Leiden. You know that there was a race between AEGEE-Burgos and AEGEE-Leiden in order to organise this EPM. We got it, and since then, there was a big controversy about our choice. Receiving a message with such good things about us really made me break some stereotypes. Especially in AEGEE, Dutchies and Spaniards usually have rather different points of view, and I can say it clearly, when I received it, they really increased in value to me, and I feel really proud of being part of the same association.
What was the best thing of organising the EPM, for you?
I think the most important thing for AEGEE is that we showed to all of Europe that small antennae can organise big events too. You only need a motivated group, having this and a bit of coordination you will be able to solve all the challenges.
And the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Of course we had a lot of “surprises” and things that went in a different way we thought. Our big challenge was to solve all situations fastly. It was not easy but we were successful because I think participants didn’t realise about them.
Now, can you tell us a bit more about our new Local of the Month, AEGEE-Burgos?
AEGEE-Burgos was founded just six years ago. We have 60 members but we have a good knowledge transfer system that made us have more than 30 active members, and one third of them have been main organiser of some events. We have a weekly meeting, and in the last three years we have organised almost all the events (Summer Universities, a Network Meeting, Renove, Local Training Courses, our yearly event “Burgos me pone Morcillote”, and now this EPM). We work hard, helping and organising activities for Erasmus and international students in Burgos, and a lot of trips and exchanges with friends from other cities.
What does the future hold for AEGEE-Burgos? Any ambitious plans coming?
Now we have a lot of newbies which are ultra-motivated, so… After an EPM, there can be only one further step… So who knows… Maybe in some years we will have an Agora in Burgos! People checked and we are able to do it. Now all of Europe knows we can do everything.
What makes your antenna so special?
We are growing a lot as an antenna, year by year new people join our group, and the factor that makes us different is that we are a group of friends, a hard core that can easily add people to the team. Even when there are no meetings, we have social meetings, and from one event we always start to prepare the next one.
Anything else you would like to add?
Finally I would like to say “thank you” to all the organizers, I am really proud of you, I am really happy for having been able to do this in Burgos. Thank you to all our friends that came to support us and to all participants who came to Burgos, too. I hope you enjoyed, we tried to do our best, thanks to all! Now you have a bit of Burgos and a bit of us in your hearts… because “Burgos won’t leave you cold” / “Burgos no te dejará frío”.
Written by Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona