AEGEE’s local of the month, May 2020 has been quite active recently, not only in their own antenna but also at a European level. These fellow AEGEEans had spread their love for the association doing a “Europe week” around Europe day, counting with the collaboration of EaP+ and ECWG for some of their activities, and they have also shown their most creative side by filming a video promoting Europe. Congratulations for being elected as the Local of the Month, May 2020, AEGEE-Nijmegen!
To start off, can you tell us a bit more about AEGEE-Nijmegen?
Hi! First of all, thanks a lot for the election as local of the month! We are very honored, really. AEGEE-Nijmegen is an antenna in the Netherlands. We try to offer a broad range of local activities to our members: Beer tasting, cooking workshops, Agora preparation evening, pizza picnic and a Europe week were the most recent activities that took place, besides our weekly social drink. In the last three months, everything had to take place online of course, and we are quite proud that it worked out and very thankful for our members -because they still showed up and participated and because a few of our committees organized awesome online activities like mentioned above! Now we are picking up on doing offline activities again, as long as it is possible to keep the required distance from each other and sticking to our governments’ rules.
What are some of the most memorable moments you’ve had in your local?
I think our member’ weekend ‘Survival of the Fittest’ last October was great and very memorable for everybody who was there! We slept in tents and had a range of great activities. Wine yoga, a pub quiz and a lot outside like a scavengers hunt and archery tag, in line with the theme of the weekend.
Definitely worth mentioning also is an evening where we participated in the yearly Amnesty Write for Rights action, organized by our European committee. A lot of our members showed up to write several letters to different governments that keep people wrongly imprisoned. We were happy to see that our members care and are willing to take action!
Talking about our European committee, they organized a whole online week dedicated to our European network. They had a collaboration with EaP+ for a European Discussion Forum, a pub quiz, and a workshop from ECWG. Kudos for that, they did great work! Some of our members participated and some members of other AEGEE antennae as well. We received great feedback for that week, which is amazing! And then both of our introductions, one in September/October, one in February.
Working on our identity this year also, with a survey that we sent to our members and two sessions where we summarized the results and then rephrased our vision and mission and thought about a new slogan as well. I could go on talking for longer, we have had great moments for sure.
What has been the key to your success? In which areas have you needed more help and development?
I’d say the key to success has been a combination of trying out new things that we as board thought would be good for our local and trying to involve the opinions of our members as well. And then also to invite externals more, for instance when it comes to somewhat more serious activities. Sometimes it helps to involve people with new, fresh thoughts!
I think we could need some help with keeping older members active, still offering them activities that are interesting for them, but especially trying to create new bonds between members. A factor here that makes it a little harder: We see that there is a quite big gap between people who have been members for years and people who just joined. Members often enjoy coming to activities together with friends, so the fewer people they know, the harder it seems to keep making people enthusiastic. We find it important that AEGEE-Nijmegen offers a place for everybody, so that is something to work on!
Some words of wisdom to other locals?
Find your individual way of doing what fits you as a local and to your members! While doing so, don’t be afraid to try out new things when it comes to activities, organization, promotion. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail, learn from your mistakes, try again and improve!