Last May, AEGEE-Hamburg organised the film event “Moving Europe”, which was directly connected with the Action Agenda. For this reason, they were chosen as the ACTive Local of the Month. We spoke to David Knöner, President of the local, to find out more!
ACT: Congratulations! As we would like to get to know this month’s winner, could you tell us a bit more about your local?
David: AEGEE-Hamburg is a very old association, even older than AEGEE itself [jokingly, ed.]. We had some golden periods in the past, but are currently struggling as the last boards did not care about recruitment anymore. Therefore, our main efforts go into making the antenna visible again and gaining new members. Luckily, we get some awesome support from other antennae, especially Berlin and Groningen.
You have organised the film event “Moving Europe” and a workshop that contributed to the Action Agenda. Can you tell us more about your events?
To be honest, besides some few local events like Moving Europe or two days of AEGEE-Berlin’s SU, there is not that much happening in Hamburg. This is a result of a huge lack of activities and we are working hard to change this.
Why did you decide to organise this workshop and event?
This event takes place annually. Its aim is to get young people interested in European topics in an entertaining way. There are a lot of European events happening here, but they are mostly attended by the same, old people. So we try to do something about that, together with the European Affairs Department of the city and state of Hamburg, Creative Europe Desk Hamburg and varying other youth organisations. This year a lot of big changes are happening in Europe, e.g. nationalist movements, the refugee “crisis”, etc. It is challenging most people’s basic views and opinions on Europe. So we agreed on making the topic as fundamental as possible, and that is European identity. And it was kind of obvious to link this topic to refugees.
What was the result?
Almost all seats in the cinema were taken, but unfortunately the majority of guests weren’t as young as we had wished. We think it is easy to make people happy when you preview an award winning movie and offer free snacks and drinks, so the general happiness indicator was quite sufficient, we would say. We saw a lot of lively discussions during the break and afterwards, so we guess we actually made people think.
Why do you think the Action Agenda is important for the Network, and what would you say to other locals that are thinking about organising something related to the Action Agenda?
Europe needs a strong AEGEE, now more than ever. But AEGEE can only make a change when we work together. We have to actually be one team of 13 000 people. And that is why we have to agree on common goals and measure sets, noted down in the Strategic Plan and the Action Agenda. If every antenna just does what they think is right, we have 170 different, small, irrelevant organisations which do not change a thing.
Do you have any other big plans for the upcoming months?
We are planning a huge recruitment campaign for the start of next semester, including online campaigns, stands, flyers in every important canteen, lecture hall presentations, introduction events, two exchanges and a Local Training Course. If this goes well, we will implement a new local events series and organise a content European event for next year. If not, AEGEE-Hamburg will be closed down.
AEGEE-Hamburg has certainly shown to the Network that it can be an example to other locals. What would you say to other locals that want to be as awesome as you?
We don’t think any local would want to be like us, because the antenna is in existential danger. We would rather like people to see AEGEE-Hamburg’s development in the last years as an example of how not to do it. Because we see a lot of antennae organising some nice events, but that is it. Like AEGEE-Hamburg did. Three years ago, we had a Top-5-SU, even last year we still had a great Network Meeting.
It is always the same, experienced people, sometimes someone new walks in through the door. But more and more people leave and there will come a point where the local is not viable anymore. We were and are pretty close to that point, because the last boards didn’t care about recruitment. So we can only try to remind people that recruitment is the most important thing for any student organisation. We need every local we have to survive, because Europe needs us. Now and in the future! The less we do for it, the more room opens for nationalists.
Which sentence would describe your local and your event?
Trying not to die; trying to still do cool stuff while trying not to die.
Written by the Action Agenda Coordination Committee