How fast can you found an anten­na? On the last week­end of August 1997 I left Ger­many and my anten­na AEGEE-Göt­tin­gen in order to spend a year in cosy Hun­gar­i­an baroque town Győr. A city in the mid­dle between Vien­na and Budapest, with a small uni­ver­si­ty, but no AEGEE. Of course, it couldn’t stay like this and so my plan was clear: found­ing an anten­na as soon as pos­si­ble.

Györ — too beau­ti­ful for not hav­ing AEGEE.

Just by coin­ci­dence, the autumn Pres­i­dents Meet­ing (PM) took place from 19th till 21st of Sep­tem­ber in Veszprém, anoth­er cute Hun­gar­i­an town with a long his­to­ry. Veszprém was only 70 kilo­me­ters away, near Lake Bal­a­ton – and had a well-estab­lished AEGEE anten­na. The PM was a pre­de­ces­sor to today’s EPM, and there were two per year, in spring and autumn. It was a stan­dard pro­ce­dure that Con­tacts could sign the Con­ven­tion d’Adhesion there and — dif­fer­ent from today – no Ago­ra rat­i­fi­ca­tion was nec­es­sary. The PM could rat­i­fy it.

Now this cre­at­ed a great oppor­tu­ni­ty and a real chal­lenge: why not found­ing an anten­na in just three weeks? After arriv­ing to Győr, I wrote to the AEGEE-Europe head­of­fice and became Con­tact Győr. Today you need to pro­vide a let­ter of sup­port from an insti­tu­tion of high­er edu­ca­tion in that city. But not in 1997.

How to get members in a week?

AEGEE-Györ at the Cin­e­ma Con­fer­ence in Pas­sau, April 1998.

The next thing I need­ed was ten mem­bers. Well, I didn’t real­ly know stu­dents there yet, the term hadn’t even start­ed, but who says that the mem­bers need to be local stu­dents? Well, today you need to have a mem­bers list with at least ten mem­bers of which at least five are not a mem­ber of anoth­er local. Not in 1997. So I start­ed to write e-mails to my AEGEE friends all over Europe, pre­sent­ed them the idea of sign­ing the Con­ven­tion d’Adhesion at PM Veszprém and asked them to join my future AEGEE-Győr. The only thing they had to do was putting 10 Deutschmark or 10 Dutch Guilders into an enve­lope and to send it to Győr. This was way before SEPA, bank trans­ac­tion fees were too high. And get­ting mon­ey by enve­lope had a cer­tain charm.

With­in a few days the envelopes start­ed to arrive and the mon­ey piled up. Soon I had more than 20 mem­bers and some more peo­ple wrote back that they would like to join and bring the mon­ey to the PM direct­ly. Every­thing was on track and I sent a nice mem­bers list to the CD.

The AEGEE-Györ del­e­ga­tion at Ago­ra Maas­tricht 1998, the biggest Ago­ra ever.

Live translation of the statutes

But one more thing was miss­ing: the statutes. Today a Con­tact must send the CD a copy of them in both orig­i­nal lan­guage and Eng­lish. And they need to be checked by the Juridi­cal Com­mis­sion. Since I was Sub­com­mis­sion­er for the very first Net­Com, I had statutes of sev­er­al Hun­gar­i­an anten­nae on my com­put­er. How­ev­er, they were all in Hun­gar­i­an, since back then it was not a require­ment to have Eng­lish statutes as well.

So I past­ed the name AEGEE-Györ in the statutes of AEGEE-Debre­cen. The fact that the Juridi­cal Com­mis­sion did not speak Hun­gar­i­an was not a big obsta­cle. Both – the Juridi­cal Com­mis­sion had one mem­ber less than today – were from AEGEE-Pas­sau, good friends of mine and also mem­bers of my new Con­tact. So we agreed that we would make a found­ing meet­ing with all our mem­bers in Veszprém, where I would pro­vide them a well-respect­ed Hun­gar­i­an trans­la­tor, who would explain them the statutes. This trans­la­tor was no one less than for­mer CD mem­ber Szil­via Szabó from AEGEE-Debre­cen.

SU 98
The SU that AEGEE-Györ coor­gan­ised in 1998

Founding meeting in a pizzeria

The week­end of the PM arrived and it all went per­fect­ly. The num­ber of Con­tact Györ mem­bers had gone up to 35, includ­ing PM par­tic­i­pants who want­ed to be part of this. They all paid an amount which is between 4,50 and 4,90 Euro, giv­ing the new local a good start. I invit­ed every­one to a found­ing meet­ing at a pizze­ria oppo­site the uni­ver­si­ty. We got our­selves a big table in the sun­shine, where we explained the Juridi­cal Com­mis­sion the statutes over lunch. While enjoy­ing nice piz­za and beer, they did not find any obsta­cles and gave green light for the sign­ing of the Con­ven­tion d’Adhesion.

And so it hap­pened. I asked one of the Juridi­cal Com­mis­sion mem­bers, Alex Glos, to give the speech, since he was famous for his great sense of humour; and while he had no time to pre­pare him­self, he real­ly gave a short and bril­liant speech. But it was not the only time our new Con­tact Anten­na was on stage, with so many mem­bers present. I will always remem­ber the moment when Egens van Iter­son Scholten, for­mer Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Europe and mem­ber of AEGEE-Enschede, went to the micro­phone lat­er that day. His anten­na had the biggest del­e­ga­tion in Veszprém, and he intro­duced him­self with the words: “Hel­lo, I am Egens from AEGEE-Enschede and AEGEE-Györ, which is some­thing that I have in com­mon with about half the peo­ple in this room.”

AEGEE-Györ Trea­sur­er Judit Var­ga and me at our SU.

Starting to organise events

It took just 20 days to found this local. If you now thing that this was not very seri­ous, it’s not the case. In the next months I found near­ly 20 local mem­bers for AEGEE-Győr, a lot of them applied for Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties, trav­elled to con­fer­ences and we also orga­nized a great Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty with AEGEE-Wien the next sum­mer. One day after the SU fin­ished, I packed my stuff and went back to Ger­many. This time the des­ti­na­tion was Lübeck, a beau­ti­ful medieval city near Ham­burg. And with­out AEGEE. But this time I took it slow, we signed the Con­ven­tion d’Adhesion after one year and with only local mem­bers.



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