2015 will be a great year for AEGEE: the 30th anniversary of the association is coming up in April! Already now many members’ minds in Europe create ideas, how they want to celebrate this moment – or rather: year – in time. At the Agora the idea was presented to recreate the “Nights for Europe”, the satellite link between local events in seven cities in 1986. Also it is known that there will be probably some thematic events all over Europe with a final conference in Brussels in May. At the Network Meeting in Zielona Góra last week, CD member Ola Kluczka led a workshop, in which five teams brainstormed ideas. Here are the best of them, developed a bit further by the Golden Times.

1. The cake contest

AEGEE members love cakes. Many antennae make fantastic cakes for their antenna birthday. So why not making 30th anniversary cakes for the whole association? For example in a great Cake Week, exactly after the founding congress EGEE I, 16th-22nd April?
This could as a competition – as well locally as also European-wide: the participating antennae could get one big kitchen, in which different teams make their own celebration cakes. Because doing something together is always the biggest fun. Or – if only a few members want to take part – they just make one cake.
The cakes will be documented in pictures and collected all over Europe in one album on the web – or printed out and shown at the Agora where the participants can vote on the best. Of course, the Golden Times is ready to help organizing this great activity…

1992 Agora Kos cake
What a huge cake! Let’s make lots of anniversary cakes!

2. The 30 City Tour – a hitchhiking competition

Hitchhiking is the cheapest way to travel. Even today, in the age of cheap airlines, many AEGEE members use this way of transport. So why not making a hitchhiking competition, involving 30 cities? It’s like “Europe on Track” – just without tracks, but with a competition added. Of course, no one can travel to 30 cities, that’s why there could be six competitions with five cities each, involving 30 antennae. This could be done in four-day events, where one city per day has to be reached, with a party and maybe even thematic programme elements. It could be even done during summer, involving some cities that organise SUs.

Hitchhiking shows the original AEGEE spirit – what else could be better for the anniversary?

3. International thematic conferences about the future of Europe

This is probably the least original idea, but the 30th anniversary is a great opportunity to bring back more thematic content to AEGEE. After all, in the first years of AEGEE, nearly all events were thematic conferences. For example, “Europe in 2030” is a great topic. It’s also a very broad field, just pick a topic: nationalism, media freedom, the Asian challenge, anything is possible! Or: Make an event about: “30 doubts about democracy”, addressing the euroscepticism, which also prevailed at the time AEGEE was founded in 1985!

AEGEE founder Franck Biancheri and Honorary Member Vittorio dell’Aquila at the Final Conference of the 10th Anniversary Year in Groningen 1995

4. Local or regional events involving AEGEE oldies

Not only the association as a whole has a history, also every antenna has one – and many of the own members shaped the history of the overall association. So, why not making an event with them and get a touch of history on the stage?
For example, you can follow the very successful AEGEE Inspire and Agora Inspire concept, inviting members of different generations to tell their AEGEE story on stage or as video, in case they cannot appear personally. They can tell how AEGEE shaped their life or about simple funny moments – and also about how AEGEE influenced their career.
You can also have interesting panel discussions with them and the current AEGEE generation, creating an AEGEE vision for the next 30 years. Or you make an AEGEE quiz at that occasion.
This can either be a normal event, or – if you want to turn it into a true celebration – make it fancy and elegant, with a banquet and ballroom dancing.

Members of the AEGEE-Budapest board 1997/98 at an alumni gala of their antenna in 2012.

5. Movies, movies, movies

AEGEE members excel at making movies. Many productions are highly professional: great storytelling, camera movements, cut, music – it is truly awesome. No surprise that many members have suggested to make AEGEE movies for the anniversary.
One idea from the Network Meeting workshop was to make a video competition: all locals are asked to send a video of 30 seconds. The content: a little bit of history about the antenna, also how they celebrate the anniversary. The best three videos will be shown completely, the rest in short samples in a movie composed of all videos. This video will be shown at the final conference in Brussels, where the three winners get their awards.
Other video ideas:

  • Making a movie like “Where the hell is AEGEE?”, also composed of different videos of the antennae
  • A video called: ”How AEGEE has changed my life”, with the examples of 30 active or former members
  • And of course: a movie with highlights of 30 years of AEGEE history

6. Songs and dances

AEGEE members love music. It’s surprising though that so few members created songs. The best one is probably the great “Europe on Track” song, the best known however is the tacky “Key to Europe” song made in 1996. A song which doesn’t have a video, by the way. So why not creating a video for a remix of the song? Or: why not making a new song, as well?
While we’re at it: until 1996 AEGEE had its own dance moves that everyone knew and could apply to all kid of songs – just until Macarena was released… Within one year everyone forgot the original AEGEE dance moves. Time to make new ones!

7. The AEGEE Concert

Alright, this might be a bit too ambitious and this has never been done, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a shot. Lots of AEGEE members play instruments, lots of members sing in choirs. So why not making an event, where many of these artistically gifted members come together and make music? There won’t be time for getting a whole orchestra together, but maybe some people who play an instrument can practice locally together and perform at the event; or solo players show what they can do. And a choir would be awesome too. So why not having a four or five day long event, where everyone is not only participant, but also artist, practice together – and where every night there is a performance for other AEGEE members from the hosting antenna and the neighbourhood?
Also other art performers are welcome, such as jugglers, turning it into an X Factor event AEGEE style.

Benjamin Feyen is AEGEE’s top musician

8. Show your history

Some antennae have awesome history books, for example AEGEE-Salerno, which made a magnificent book at the 20th anniversary of their antenna. So why not using the 30th anniversary to dig also into the history of your antenna and write it down? Or even better: why not making a history exhibition, with exhibition walls full of photos, stories and quotes of both, AEGEE-Europe’s 30 years and the history of your local? At the same time you leave some walls empty for a workshop where people can create their vision for the future of AEGEE and Europe.

AEGEE photo exhibition at the Council of Europe in 1996.

9. The time capsule

When a new building is made or someone goes to space often a time capsule is made, filled with special memories. Why not making time capsules with photos, flyers, stickers and also personal messages and memories of your memories and store them somewhere – with the instruction just to open it in 30 years? Don’t forget to add the special anniversary merchandise articles that you created for this occasion!

Even if you don’t have such a huge archive as AEGEE-Europe, for sure you have nice memorabilia for a time capsule.

10. Local activities at the Day of AEGEE-Europe

The 30th anniversary can also be a good occasion for a “Day of AEGEE-Europe”, similar to the European Day of Languages, which is actually more like a week. At this Day of Europe, each antenna can make its own special activity. For example, you can make a charity action helping people, you can go to schools discussing with the kids why Europe needs youth, you can make local competitions at the university regarding the vision for Europe, you can make your members do 30 good deeds in one day, or making a charity run to an antenna in 30 kilometres distance. Everything is possible!

Kyiv hugs
Free hugy? Why not? At the Day of AEGEE-Europe everything is possible.

You have other ideas? Share them with us!