Four anten­nae have organ­ised three Ago­ras so far: Ams­ter­dam, Athi­na, Budapest – and Enschede. This is obvi­ous­ly not enough for the local at the Dutch-Ger­man bor­der: from 23rd till 27th of May AEGEE-Enschede will host its fourth Ago­ra! 800 par­tic­i­pants will be able to come. The appli­ca­tion peri­od start­ed a few days ago and already more than 100 peo­ple sent in their form. Just like in the pre­vi­ous edi­tions it will be an Ago­ra of short dis­tances: lodg­ing and all Ago­ra loca­tions will be on the cam­pus, as well as two par­ties. Main organ­is­er and for­mer Ago­ra Chair Tom Simons and Renske Hort­en­sius, Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Enschede and PR respon­si­ble of the team, told the GT what you can expect.

GT: AEGEE-Enschede will be the first anten­na to host four Ago­ras! Is your anten­na proud of this achieve­ment?
Tom Simons (smiles): Like we say in Enschede, if some­thing hap­pens three times it’s tra­di­tion, so we had to organ­ise the fourth Ago­ra to keep line with tra­di­tion.

GT: The biggest Ago­ra ever had 1150 par­tic­i­pants. Can you break it?
Tom: We won’t break this mas­sive num­ber. The max­i­mum capac­i­ty of our ple­nary room is around 800 peo­ple, so more than that won’t be pos­si­ble. Enschede is quite hard to reach, so we don’t expect a lot more appli­ca­tions than our capac­i­ty can han­dle.

Main organ­is­er is Tom Simons, for­mer Ago­ra Chair

GT: Which part of the Ago­ra arrange­ments so far makes you most proud or hap­py?
Tom: We have a great rela­tion with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Twente, they have been super help­ful and sup­port­ive through­out the entire organ­i­sa­tion process.

GT: Which organ­i­sa­tion­al part gave you the biggest headache?
Tom: Up to last week this was the planned extra day. Unfor­tu­nate­ly we had to cut it, but now we can focus on pro­vid­ing an Ago­ra of high­er logis­ti­cal qual­i­ty than we would have been able to do with the extra day.

GT: Tom, you as main organ­is­er will have an inter­est­ing change of per­spec­tive. Why did you become main organ­is­er after being Chair? You can’t get enough of Ago­ras?
Tom: I will prob­a­bly start my grad­u­a­tion the­sis after sum­mer, so I want­ed to do one last thing in AEGEE before I retire to Les Anciens, and what bet­ter way to fin­ish my AEGEE career than to organ­ise the biggest event in AEGEE?

GT: In what way does your expe­ri­ence as chair help you organ­is­ing it?
Tom: Hav­ing been in the Chair’s posi­tion, I have close­ly expe­ri­enced all the behind the scenes work dur­ing the Ago­ra. It’s a lot eas­i­er to under­stand the needs of the peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Ago­ra, as well as the strug­gles and chal­lenges the Chair Team face when try­ing to fin­ish every­thing on time.

Also in 2012 the ple­nary was in the cam­pus, but in a dif­fer­ent audi­to­ri­um as 1997. In 2017 the Ago­ra will be here again.

GT: The last Ago­ra in Enschede was five years ago — are some of those organ­is­ers give you advice or help with con­tacts?
Tom: Yes, some of them are in our Super­vi­so­ry Board, so their expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge is def­i­nite­ly help­ing us in real­is­ing this big event.

GT: How big is your orga­niz­ing team?
Tom: We are with nine peo­ple in the core team, five peo­ple in the logis­tics com­mit­tee, and eight peo­ple in the social pro­gramme com­mit­tee. Besides that, we have the Super­vi­so­ry Board, the Audit Com­mis­sion, and the Board of AEGEE-Enschede with a total of 18 more peo­ple. The atmos­phere is very good, but unfor­tu­nate­ly we had the set­back of sev­er­al team mem­bers hav­ing health issues, this is in part the rea­son why we had to short­en the Ago­ra by one day.

GT: Can peo­ple apply as helper?
Tom: We have already got some offers for helpers from sev­er­al locals, so we will see how far we get. If there is still space after­wards, we will be sure to let every­one know!

Ago­ra Enschede 2012 was the first Ago­ra for Réka Sala­m­on (left), who will now return as Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Europe!

GT: Which are the main things that still need to be final­ized in the next three months? 
Tom: Although the biggest things are most­ly arranged, the next months will most­ly about fill­ing in the details: for exam­ple plan­ning all helpers dur­ing the times they are avail­able and divid­ing them to dif­fer­ent tasks, set­ting the exact menu for the cater­ing, cre­at­ing the badges and oth­er print­ed mate­ri­als. We are also still in con­tact with some promi­nent speak­ers that we hope can come can come, but this is entire­ly depen­dent on their sched­ule.

GT: What about logis­tics? Will there be short dis­tances between accom­mo­da­tion, ple­nary and par­ties?
Tom: The accom­mo­da­tion, ple­nary and work­shop rooms will all be on the cam­pus of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Twente. They are on walk­ing dis­tance from each oth­er, and next to the par­ty loca­tion for two nights. The rest of the nights we’ll go to either Enschede’s city cen­tre, or Hengelo’s city cen­tre — both are equal­ly far from the cam­pus. One of the nights we will of course show AEGEE-Enschede’s own pub Aste­r­i­on to all par­tic­i­pants.

GT: Are there any spec­tac­u­lar venues for the open­ing?
Tom: For the open­ing we are try­ing to get the the­atre in the city cen­tre. At the end of March we’ll give more details about all the loca­tions.

Spring Ago­ra 1997 was a low-tech Ago­ra. Beam­ers were around, but not com­mon at AEGEE events. This is the new­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent, Peter Ginser from AEGEE-Karl­sruhe.

GT: What can we expect at the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny? Any famous bands or guests?
Tom: One of the guests we have is the may­or of Enschede who will be speak­ing at the cer­e­mo­ny. Also we will be hav­ing live acts from stu­dents and cit­i­zens from Enschede dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny. We hope to sur­prise you dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny with our speak­ers and live acts!

GT: Which pre-events or post-events do you know of?
Renske Hort­en­sius: We don’t know yet, but are very excit­ed to hear about all the ideas of oth­er locals! It is always great to come togeth­er, drink a beer and meet new peo­ple or old friends before the big statu­to­ry event.

GT: What will be the par­ty top­ics?
Tom: The top­ics will be announced soon, so keep an eye on our web­site agoraenschede.org and our Face­book page!

Also AEGEE-Enschede Pres­i­dent Renske Hort­en­sius is in the core team.

GT: Can you tell us a few words about AEGEE-Enschede? How big is your anten­na, what are the main events that you organ­ise this year?
Renske: Of course! AEGEE-Enschede is one of the four biggest stu­dents asso­ci­a­tions in Enschede with approx­i­mate­ly 325 mem­bers. Aste­r­i­on is our very own pub, where we have a pub night every Tues­day and every Thurs­day! Oth­er than that we have a lot of events dur­ing this year, because we are cel­e­brat­ing our 30th anniver­sary, our so-called 6th lus­trum. A few exam­ples of events we’ve already orga­nized this year are: a fan­cy prom-like par­ty in a cas­tle, a new year’s din­ner — and a can­tus, which is a typ­i­cal Dutch stu­dent event: drink­ing beer and singing songs. And what’s to come? A pub quiz, a lot of theme par­ties, a wine tast­ing night, King’s day and much more. And you know, we’re organ­is­ing this thing called the Ago­ra as well!

Pho­tos cour­tesy of Rolf Wienköt­ter (1997), Olivi­er Genkin (2005) and AEGEE-Enschede (2017)

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