The News Bulletins — AEGEE’s Unfiltered History Books

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It was once AEGEE’s main infor­ma­tion source: the News Bul­letin. When it was cre­at­ed in 1989, there was no Inter­net in AEGEE, no cheap phone num­bers, no cheap air­lines and the num­ber of events was less than 50 per year — which is less than a quar­ter of what it is today. In oth­er words: get­ting infor­ma­tion about what was going on, was real­ly hard. And this in the era of change in Europe, when the Berlin Wall fell and the AEGEE mem­bers were hun­gry to become active in the asso­ci­a­tion. In case you want to find out about how AEGEE was in the begin­ning and devel­oped over time, this is the most orig­i­nal and unbi­ased source. The Gold­en Times is scan­ning and pub­lish­ing as many issues as I can get hold of.

It was no sur­prise that the News Bul­letin became an imme­di­ate suc­cess. Well, near­ly. It was cre­at­ed by AEGEE-Ams­ter­dam in 1989. After a few months it was tak­en over by Maria Alvarez and her friends from AEGEE-Oviedo. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Oviedo paid the biggest part of it. So the edi­tors team pub­lished one edi­tion every month! In these ear­ly years, the News Bul­letin was a place for event PR, board announce­ments and dis­cus­sions. A must-read for everyone.This is what Maria Alvarez told the edi­tors of AEGEE-Europe’s 10th Anniver­sary Book about their work: “Dur­ing those years the News Bul­letin wit­nessed the fastest peri­od of changes in AEGEE. The times when AEGEE opened itself to the East, to the North and in some way, also to the South; when the idea of Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ty was replaced by the ‘Idea of Europe’. The times of expan­sion in oth­er fields of inter­est, of the Coop­er­a­tion with oth­er Asso­ci­a­tions, of the active Work­ing Groups, of the dis­sem­i­na­tion of the Comité Directeur and the grow­ing of the Address Book and the Cal­en­dar of Events. It was quite a lot what we, mem­bers at that time, inher­it­ed; but it was treat­ed well and it was more what was left to those com­ing after.”

The News­Bul­letin stayed in the hands of AEGEE-Oviedo until 1993, then it was tak­en over by AEGEE-Madrid. After that, from 1995 until 1997, Marcin Polak and his team in AEGEE-Warsza­wa took care of it. When they stopped, the Gold­en Age of the News Bul­letin was over — and more and more infor­ma­tion was dis­trib­uted via the grow­ing num­ber of mail­ing lists. Nev­er­the­less, it con­tin­ued to be pub­lished until 2008, although there were only one num­ber in the end per year. “The idea was that many mem­bers are read­ing the Key to Europe, spe­cif­ic AEGEE-inter­nal arti­cles were sup­posed to be pub­lished online”, recalls Ver­e­na Schmidt from AEGEE-Tübin­gen, last chief-edi­tor of the News Bul­letin. “You can regard The AEGEEan as a replace­ment for the News Bul­letin.”

News­Bul­letin Feb­ru­ary 1989News­Bul­letin May/June 1989
News­Bul­letin April 1990News­Bul­letin June 1990
News­Bul­letin Sep­tem­ber 1990News­Bul­letin Octo­ber 1990News­Bul­letin Jan­u­ary 1991News­Bul­letin March 1991
News­Bul­letin Sum­mer 1991News­Bul­letin Novem­ber 1991News­Bul­letin Decem­ber 1991News­Bul­letin Jan­u­ary 1992
News­Bul­letin Feb­ru­ary 1992News­Bul­letin April 1992News­Bul­letin Sum­mer 1992News­Bul­letin Sep­tem­ber 1993
News­Bul­letin April 1994News­Bul­letin Novem­ber 1994News­Bul­letin Sep­tem­ber 1995News­Bul­letin Novem­ber 1993
News­Bul­letin Jan­u­ary 1996News­Bul­letin March 1996News­Bul­letin Sep­tem­ber 1996News­Bul­letin April 1997
News­Bul­letin Feb­ru­ary 1998News­Bul­letin Octo­ber 1998News­Bul­letin March 1999News­Bul­letin Octo­ber 1999
News­Bul­letin April 2000News­Bul­letin Octo­ber 2000News­Bul­letin March 2001News­Bul­letin Spring 2002
News­Bul­letin Autumn 2002News­Bul­letin Spring 2003News­Bul­letin Spring 2004News­Bul­letin Spring 2004
News­Bul­letin Spring 2006News­Bul­letin Autumn 2007News­Bul­letin Autumn 2008

In the 20th Anniver­sary Edi­tion of the Key to Europe (Key20), we pub­lished an inter­view with for­mer News Bul­letin chief edi­tor Maria Alvarez. This is what she said about the News Bul­letin — in the full ver­sion, which is twice as long as what was pub­lished in the Key20.

Maria Alvarez

Key20: You became famous for pub­lish­ing the News Bul­letin for AEGEE-Europe. Every month, with­out e-mail.
Maria Alvarez: We, in Oviedo, took the torch of Jeroen [Hooger­w­erf] in Ams­ter­dam and began the pub­li­ca­tion of the month­ly News Bul­letin. First only 300 copies, short­ly increas­ing to 1500 copies print­ed and dis­trib­uted to 200 to 250 address­es all over Europe. In AEGEE-Oviedo we pub­lished 27 edi­tions of the News­bul­letin. Times were so dif­fer­ent then: no mobiles, no dig­i­tal cam­eras, no Inter­net, no e-mail, weak soft­ware and almost no laser print­er. It sounds like if we are talk­ing about pre­his­to­ry, but it was just one decade ago. We had a post office box where we received all the let­ters and pho­tos, and tried our best to rewrite texts received by post or fax. The result, our News Bul­letin, would look now like a school newslet­ter, but fif­teen years back it real­ly looked great, at least for us.

How do you see the impor­tance of this com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool in pre-Inter­net times for the asso­ci­a­tion?
Maria Alvarez: Before the Inter­net, the anten­nae could only receive infor­ma­tion by the dif­fer­ent newslet­ters, which was real­ly expen­sive and slow. In 1990 we moved to laser print­ers and we opened our first EARN account. EARN, the Euro­pean Aca­d­e­m­ic and Research Net­work, was the first com­put­er net­work for com­mu­ni­ca­tions in Europe wide­ly used for sci­en­tif­ic, edu­ca­tion­al, aca­d­e­m­ic and research pur­pos­es with 500 insti­tu­tions then, includ­ing the founder CERN. Our first EARN-Bit­net account was an ances­tor of an e-mail, but we did not get much mes­sages there, for there were few anten­nae who could get an account by them­selves. Nev­er­the­less, we can say that AEGEE was a pio­neer in using e-mail.

How was it pos­si­ble to make the News Bul­letin so often? How did you get the ideas and mon­ey?
Maria Alvarez: AEGEE-Oviedo was lucky to have the sup­port of our uni­ver­si­ty, who paid the print­ing and the mail of the copies to the anten­nae and the so called “NB fan club”. The clos­ing date for pre­sent­ing the arti­cles was offi­cial­ly the 20th of every month but in fact, we accept­ed doc­u­ments till almost last day. We used to print the copies the first day of the month, and arrange for the post dur­ing the first week fol­low­ing. I always had some help in AEGEE-Oviedo, most­ly with the logis­tic, and, for almost half of the issues we had Maria Jesus Andres draw­ing for us. Every­body in AEGEE-Oviedo was engaged with our NB com­mit­ment, and every­body could give a hand with the enve­lope, labels, box­es and trans­port. It was a team work.

What was the typ­i­cal con­tent and which sto­ries for the News Bul­letin do you remem­ber most?
Maria Alvarez: Most­ly every­thing was print­able. Nev­er­the­less there were always some famil­iar sec­tions: What’s new?, AEGEE Cal­en­dar of Events or the let­ter by the edi­tors. The rest was usu­al­ly a mix of let­ters arriv­ing from AEGEE mem­bers, anten­nae or insti­tu­tions, adver­tise­ments of com­ing AEGEE events, reports on post events, pre­sen­ta­tions of boards, fun­ny pho­tos or any weird thing that some­body could find inter­est­ing for AEGEE mem­bers to read or to watch. All those things filled more than 600 pages of infor­ma­tion about AEGEE arriv­ing from every cor­ner of Europe. It was very fun to receive anten­nae changes and pho­tos with the boards, but I remem­ber most our own writ­ings, the let­ter of the edi­tors or opin­ions. It was also very nice when some­body sent an open let­ter to all the anten­nae. There was no type of cen­sor­ship with­in the NB team or from the CD.

Enjoy read­ing the News Bul­letins!

 

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