Local of the month, April 2020: AEGEE-Alicante!

They have been quite active ever since their beginning. Last year was an exceedingly busy period for them, hosting several European and local activities, and this year has been no different despite the difficulties that they are facing. As they confess, AEGEE-Alicante has been organising activities for almost every day of April, but it is their enormous solidarity action that has made them Local of the Month, April 2020. 

Tell us a bit more about your antenna, AEGEE-Alicante.

First, we would like to thank you for this recognition, for us it is an amazing dose of energy and motivation to continue working in this strange situation. Founded in 2002, AEGEE-Alicante has always been known for being a small huge family. From the beginning of our short history, we have had members that have done big projects inside our antenna and that have been involved in all the levels of AEGEE. Their knowledge and skills have always been transmitted to the next generations of our antenna. Even several of our members left our city and created new antennae (you may know some examples: AEGEE-Dresden, AEGEE-Manchester, AEGEE-Vigo, and AEGEE-Málaga).

At the local level, we have always been quite active and we have organized almost all kinds of events, being remembered by their quality and AEGEE-Alicante mark.  In these 18 years AEGEE-Alicante has organized 1 Agora in 2011 and 4 NWMs, has had 3 members in the Network Commission and 2 CD members.

In 2019 AEGEE-Alicante organized 4 European events (RTC, Conference EOT, Summer University and T4T SMASH Project) and also 2 local events and more than 30 local activities. A great year that would give way to 2020 full of big projects, projects that we had to postpone due to the global pandemic, but that didn’t affect our desire to continue working at AEGEE. 

We started the year with a trip to visit the CD house in Brussels with 9 of our members, the visit of our friends from AEGEE-Eindhoven to our city and our participation in the EPM Barcelona. A few weeks later everything started to change for us. We looked for all the motivation that we had accumulated from all the events and we worked more than ever to keep organising activities to give an inspiring and special touch to the AEGEEans’ quarantine.

In March, we organized our #gendermonth which ended with an amazing online workshop and a discussion with Europe On Track team. Cinema Sundays, online games competitions, mindfulness workshop, sushi nights, women empowerment workshop, a collection for health material and an online postcard exchange and many more activities, nearly one activity per day during the whole month of April. We also did a pilates and home exercise training with our beloved twin antenna AEGEE-Málaga. 

What are some of the most memorable moments you’ve had in your local?

It has been a difficult month for us since we had to take the decision to cancel the 2 European events we had organized for the next months, “Mediterráneamente” and our Summer University.  Maybe it was our family spirit or our desire to keep having an AEGEEan atmosphere, which made us join forces among all of us and get through a month full of activities.

For us, it was very exciting to see how former members of Alicante, many honorary members of the antenna, joined our activities remembering great moments of the antenna and congratulated us for all the work we were doing. Our activities became a family meeting of old and current members of AEGEE-Alicante and members of other antennas in an atmosphere full of fun disconnecting from our worries.

It was also very exciting for us to organize a fundraising campaign to purchase protective health materials and contribute to the fight against Covid-19 for our city hospital. With all the money collected ( more than 1500 euros) we were able to obtain 3,000 individual protection gowns. In this way, we try as an association to contribute to improving the current situation.

What has been the key to your success? In which areas have you needed more help and development?

All our “success” is due to the people who are from AEGEE-Alicante. Without them, nothing would go ahead. We would like to thank all the people who collaborated and organized all the activities. Many of them are not going through their best situation, members whose families have lost their jobs, members who work in hospitals and members who are finding this whole situation very difficult. Thank you for continuing to invest your time in AEGEE-Alicante, we will always be grateful to you and we will love you forever.

We are a big family formed by very different people, who by joining their strengths and weaknesses, manage to create a great team willing to fight even when the wind is against them. Perhaps the most difficult thing for us is to get new active members to allow the antenna to have a smooth transition in time between generations. We will keep on fighting for AEGEE-Alicante to keep on rocking for a long time!

Some words of wisdom to other locals?

AEGEE is full of travel, personal development, cultural exchange, inspiration, but above all full of extraordinary people. Take great care of your members, especially their mental health. In these difficult times, we must be a refuge for those people who need support and need a place to feel safe and valued. And if you are a member who is reading this, don’t be afraid to ask for help and let AEGEE help you to dream and to achieve your goals.