‘The General Membership Meeting of AEGEE-Europe occurs bi-annually, once in the Spring and then again during the Autumn,’ explains UT-student Tom Simons, member of the AEGEE organizing team. ‘The purpose of this conference is for inter-cultural exchange, seeing as the participants are from all across Europe – and a few other countries. To do this, we have a social program and some games, so that students can interact and get to know each other.’ The Sports Centrum is the place where over 600 international students from all over Europe have hunkered down for the night.
Talk about the future
On the agenda for the next four days are workshops, project presentations, city tours, debates, and board elections. ‘During these events we talk together about the future of AEGEE, and debate upon current European events such as Brexit,’ continues Simons. ‘We elect new board members as well, and our various projects present their latest work. AEGEE also cares about the personal development of its members, so we also host workshops to develop various soft skills such as team management, project management, and fundraising.’
Of course, they’ve left plenty of time for fun. ‘There are hundreds of students who are visiting Enschede for the first time, so we’ve planned a program to get them acquainted with our student city,’ says Simons. Seeing as AEGEE is a student association, this program naturally includes partying at various clubs in the area, such as ‘t Bölke and the Pakkerij, and Club Merlijn in Hengelo.
‘It’s really an honour to be able to organize such a large event for the entire AEGEE association. That being said, it’s quite a lot of work. We have been planning this event for a year and a half, only to execute all our plans in just a few days,’ says Simons. ‘It’s very challenging to think about the logistics for such a large group of people. We had to submit so many papers beforehand proving that we were capable of hosting such an event. Nevertheless, we are extremely excited for these coming few days.’