AEGEE-Kraków belongs to the top anten­nae in AEGEE. And they have been doing this for many years. Among oth­ers, they organ­ised two statu­to­ry events – both pre­de­ces­sors of today’s EPM, when they still had dif­fer­ent names: the Pres­i­dents Meet­ing of spring 1992 and the Euro­pean Boards’ Meet­ing (EBM) of spring 2010. This year AEGEE-Kraków turned 25; the Gold­en Times looks back at their great his­to­ry in a series of arti­cles. In this first inter­view Andrzej Kozdę­ba, main organ­is­er of the EBM, looks back at this great event.

Andrzej Kozdeba
Andrzej Kozdę­ba dur­ing the EBM 2010

GT: Andrzej, what are the strongest mem­o­ries that come into your mind when you think of the EBM in Kraków in 2010?
Andrzej Kozdę­ba: That was one of the best times of my life, so I have many hap­py mem­o­ries of it! We had great team, we spent a lot of hours work­ing togeth­er, we were young, moti­vat­ed and excit­ed because we were organ­is­ing the great­est event in AEGEE-Krakow his­to­ry. I can’t choose one or two favourites mem­o­ries. The whole event is a beau­ti­ful one.

GT: How come that AEGEE-Kraków applied for organ­is­ing it?
Andrzej: To be hon­est with you — I have no idea. The deci­sion was made by our board. I remem­ber some rumours about that but I did not par­tic­i­pate in the appli­ca­tion process.

GT: How did you become main coor­di­na­tor?
Andrzej: I was very moti­vat­ed to orga­nize this project, so I pre­pared a long appli­ca­tion of more than two A4 sheets and a movie. There were three can­di­dates for the task. One of them, Zbig­niew, was much more expe­ri­enced than I, so our board decid­ed to talk with us. For­tu­nate­ly, they chose me.

GT: Were you also think­ing about organ­is­ing an Ago­ra instead?
Andrzej: Yes, we were and as far as I know we still think about it! How­ev­er, AEGEE-Kraków will not apply for the Ago­ra organ­i­sa­tion if the board is not com­plete­ly sure that we will pre­pare the best event ever. For now the biggest chal­lenge is logis­tics, because when it comes to peo­ple then AEGEE-Kraków is 100% ready, as always.

The ple­naary with the logo of the event. Pho­to by Patrick Kirsch

GT: Before you coor­di­nat­ed the EBM, what had you done in AEGEE-Kraków?
Andrzej: Well, I wasn’t too expe­ri­enced… Before I applied, I has been mem­ber of AEGEE for 14 months and I had been respon­si­ble only for LTC logis­tics. I also had been mem­ber of four or five project teams, but you can­not say that I was well pre­pared to be coor­di­na­tor of such a big event.

GT: How and when did you actu­al­ly become a mem­ber? Is there a fun­ny or inter­est­ing sto­ry about it?
Andrzej: Haha, I’m glad you asked. Frankly speak­ing my friends prompt­ed me to go to an LTC. Before I had joined AEGEE I thought that stu­dents’ organ­i­sa­tions are for losers, that their mem­bers have no friends and they work all the time: no par­ties, no vod­ka, no hob­bies. So I decid­ed to go to an LTC to show them how to par­ty! I bought a lot of vod­ka and my dream was to be the worst par­tic­i­pant ever. I want­ed to make the orga­niz­ers afraid to orga­nize anoth­er LTC, because anoth­er per­son like me might apply. How­ev­er, real­i­ty was much brighter than my expec­ta­tion and I fell in love with these peo­ple!

GT: Great sto­ry! The EBM was the biggest event your anten­na ever did. How many par­tic­i­pants attend­ed it?
Andrzej: There were around 350 par­tic­i­pants and 25 orga­niz­ers.

The EBM Chair Team. Pho­to by Patrick Kirsch

GT: In which uni­ver­si­ty did it take place? And where did peo­ple sleep?
Andrzej: The whole event took place at Cra­cow Uni­ver­si­ty of Eco­nom­ics. The uni­ver­si­ty let us sleep in their gym but it was real­ly hard to nego­ti­ate that. For­tu­nate­ly I had an expe­ri­enced men­tor, Mirek Krzanik. He helped me a lot with that.

GT: What were the great­est chal­lenges in organ­is­ing it?
Andrzej: Get­ting the gym was the great­est chal­lenge. When we found a place where all par­tic­i­pants could sleep we knew that every­thing will be OK.

GT: How was the coop­er­a­tion with­in your local team? And how was the coop­er­a­tion with the CD and Chair?
Andrzej: I had a great team and they did an awe­some job before and dur­ing the event. I could count on them all the time. They were work­ing even dur­ing sum­mer hol­i­days. I am real­ly thank­ful that I could work with them. This event was so great because of their work. I was only a link between them all. Also Chair and CD were help­ing and made lots of efforts to pre­pare this event. My Eng­lish was rather weak then so I’m grate­ful that they had the patience to lis­ten to me.

Alfre­do Sel­l­it­ti, who would lat­er become Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Europe, enjoyed the EBM par­ties. Pho­to by Patrick Kirsch

GT: How were the par­ties? Did you have great loca­tions or par­ty themes?
Andrzej: To be hon­est with you: I was so tired dur­ing the event that I almost don’t remem­ber the par­ties. Kraków is a city of stu­dents so there are a lot of pubs and clubs. But it wasn’t easy to prompt own­ers to have a closed par­ty dur­ing a week­end. I know that I had fun, peo­ple had fun. So prob­a­bly the par­ties were not epic but still they were great.

GT: How did being in AEGEE change you or change your life?
Andrzej: I’m sure that AEGEE changed my life. Today I would not be the same man with­out all these expe­ri­ences. Before I joined AEGEE I did not know that I can make my dreams come true. Now I trav­el, I have my own busi­ness, I know how to plan, learn and teach oth­ers. I met all my friends in AEGEE. We still work and have fun togeth­er.

Get­ting the gym was the hard­est part. Pho­to by Patrick Kirsch

GT: Did you also join the Euro­pean lev­el of AEGEE?
Andrzej: I was Sub­com­mie, respon­si­ble for LTC pro­grammes and mem­ber of the “YOUrope needs YOU!” project team.

GT: When did you leave AEGEE?
Andrzej: I’m not active any­more for two years, but still some­times you can meet me at AEGEE. Even this year I led some work­shops dur­ing AEGEE events. It’s fun.

GT: What did you study? And what are you doing as your main occu­pa­tion now?
Andrzej: I stud­ied Polit­i­cal Sci­ences at my bach­e­lor and I did my mas­ter in Man­age­ment: trade and mar­ket­ing. Now I lead a small busi­ness: Stu­dio KMIN. We design web­sites and teach peo­ple how to man­age the image of their com­pa­nies on the Inter­net and dur­ing meet­ings.

The end of a suc­cess­ful EBM. Pho­to by Patrick Kirsch

GT: Where do you live now?
Andrzej: Most­ly in Kraków, but I trav­el a lot, espe­cial­ly in Poland. It’s easy to meet me, for exam­ple, in Toruń.

GT: Final ques­tion: AEGEE-Kraków turned 25 this year. What’s your mes­sage to the next AEGEE gen­er­a­tion?
Andrzej: Choos­ing AEGEE is choos­ing a life full of excit­ing adven­tures, beau­ti­ful peo­ple and valu­able expe­ri­ences. What’s more: it is a real­ly wise choice. AEGEE-Kraków was always a strong and impor­tant anten­na. It was the voice of young peo­ple, a place where you can par­ty, love, trav­el and work. I hope that it will not change in the next 25 years.

After the EBM many peo­ple had time for sight­see­ing. Pho­to by Patrick Kirsch