The month of November brought us a new Local of the Month: AEGEE-Manchester, a new local, managed to do beautiful things in the past year. We talked to Bryn, one of the founding members and the Human Resources Responsible, and asked him to tell us how few people can accomplish what they want if they have will.
The AEGEEan: First of all, congratulations! Tell us a little bit about how AEGEE-Manchester began to write history.
Bryn French: Both myself and Pablo felt something was missing in our lives in Manchester, and when we thought about it we realised it was our active lives in AEGEE! I was a member in Toulouse and Durham, and Pablo was a member in Alicante. We met up with each other and agreed to start AEGEE-Manchester! We got in contact with Domitille, who founded the European Union Society at the University of Manchester some weeks before, and everything went on from there.
How did the NWM that you organised at the beginning of November go?
In April 2016, Pablo was elected as Network Commissioner and we thought that if we have a NetCommie from a UK antenna, we’d better have a Network Meeting in the UK too. We had three people in the Core Team (me, Bryn – Main Organiser, John – Treasurer and Silvia – Incoming Responsible). We spent lots of time planning, but this really paid off during the event. There were more than 50 applications for the 26 places we had. Close communication with Pablo, our NetCommie, and between the three organisers meant everyone knew what was happening. The event took place between the 4th and the 7th of November. We had a variety of trainers and members delivering different workshops, a great European night and even some time to explore the beauty and nature of the local area. All the participants enjoyed the event and expressed how much fun they had.
How do you see the development of the local in the last months?
I think in the last months, while working on the NWM, different members have developed various skills, particularly regarding the soft skills of communication and organisation. We have improved links with the University of Manchester Student Union and found a great venue for possible future events with the Youth Hostel Association. We have improved our fundraising experiences and again raised our profile within the AEGEE network.
How do you keep you members motivated?
As a very small antenna, we work together closely. It is really a family feeling, where all the members know each other. Every member is able to contribute as much or as little as they feel like, depending on what is needed at the time and the project we may be working on.
The United Kingdom just has a few AEGEE locals. What is your impact on the community?
The majority of students in the UK have never heard of AEGEE. It is always a difficult job to explain what we do and to recruit new members. At universities in the UK there are lots of different societies and associations for students to be involved in and it can be difficult to make an impact. We have started to branch out and cooperate more with similar societies such as AIESEC and European Movement.
What is happening next in AEGEE-Manchester?
We have been thinking about the NWM for the last 6 months and right now we do not have a project in the pipeline. This is in fact one of our tasks for the first meeting back after the Christmas holidays. We are continuing to send our members to events (EPM, Agora, etc) and will continue to collaborate with other antennae in the UK. Promotion of the Summer Universities will take place in the Spring term like every year and this should help raise our profile within the University of Manchester.
How do you see the local at the end of 2017?
I would like to see fresh new members returning from Summer Universities motivated to make an impact on the European community at the University of Manchester and in Manchester in general; contributing ideas and projects for us to improve European harmony, particularly following whatever may happen nationally!
Written by Raluca Radu, AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca