Most of the largest antennae are in the Netherlands – and one of the most important times for them to get new members are the introduction weeks at the beginning of the academic year in late summer. The Golden Times asked all Dutch locals how they promote AEGEE in this period. In this article you can find the answers of AEGEE-Delft, AEGEE-Leiden and AEGEE-Utrecht.

AEGEE-Delft: “Our niche is the open-mindedness and the large network in Europe”

Golden Times: What is the significance of the introduction week for your antenna?
Julian van Loo Secretary and External Promotion Responsible of AEGEE-Delft: The introduction week is very important for our antenna, as it is the time when we get most new members. We put a lot of effort into it, with one of our largest committees preparing for this event for months. During the introduction week it is our time to show Delft and its students who we are and what we stand for!

GT: What’s the name of the intro week and when did it take place exactly?
Julian: The introduction week in Delft is called the ‘OWee’ – Reception Week – and took place from 18 to 22 August.

GT: How many students are coming in total and what happens during the intro week?
Julian: The OWee has about 3000 to 4000 participants, mostly new students, who follow a programme which is organised by the board of students. The week starts with a large parade where the associations show off, followed by an opening party. There are information markets where students can discover all the student associations, ranging from social clubs to rowing associations and from dancing clubs to AEGEE! During the evenings and nights, most of the about 60 student associations in Delft organise parties and crazy events to attract new members. There is an infamous leek fight, foam party, blacklight parties, lots and lots of free food, wakeboarding on the canals, real-life Mario Kart, gay bingo and so much more!

GT: What did your antenna do at the introduction week?
Julian: We had a fun programme every night! Of course we were present with our purple colours at the parade, at the information market and at the sports and culture market. We organised awesome activities like a pubquiz, roadtripping party, blacklight Bob Ross followed by a cocktail party, a BBQ and of course a European Night! Besides that we had free poffertjes – tiny Dutch pancakes – and free french fries every day! We also had two awesome visitors from AEGEE-Zagreb who helped us out a lot and showed the AEGEE spirit, and also had a few visitors from AEGEE-Leiden and AEGEE-Amsterdam.

GT: How do you present AEGEE to interested people?
Julian: In Delft, we present AEGEE as an active association in Delft, with many fun activities and a social drink every week, with members that are connected by our open mindedness and our love to travel and discover Europe. We use our many trips to other cities and locals as our biggest selling point, also mentioning the potential of the network and the Summer Universities.

GT: What are the no-gos you must not tell to interested people?
Julian: We mostly do not tell people who stop by at our stand or activities about the Agorae, EPMs, NWMs or similar events, except when they are interested, as we think that this might give the impression that AEGEE is too formal or inaccessible. Of course we do explain this when they have become members!

GT: Who are AEGEE’s biggest competitors at the intro week?
Julian: We really have a lot of competition, as all 60 associations try to get the attention of the new students. That is why we try to find our own niche in Delft. We believe that, as an open-minded association with a large network in Europe and an active base in Delft, we have found this niche. The hardest part is conveying what we stand for to other students and trying to stand out from the other associations.

GT: How many people became member right away and how many say that they are interested?
Julian: 40 students became new members during the OWee and about 200 signed up for the interest newsletter!

GT: What’s the follow-up? How do you manage to converse interested people into members?
Julian: We have our own “Introduction Weeks” throughout September, with multiple activities each week. Most activities are open to people interested in AEGEE, and they are meant to introduce the new members to AEGEE-Delft. We have a scavenger hunt through Delft, including a stop at the former office of AEGEE-Europe, where we teach new members our history and of course our wonderful song! We also have social drinks, some parties, and the highlight is our introduction weekend at a secret location in The Netherlands for new and current members. The introduction weeks will be followed by a hitchhiking trip, showcasing our adventurous travelling spirit!

 

AEGEE-Leiden: “We adapt the story we tell people to their interests”

Golden Times: What is the significance of the introduction week for your antenna?
AEGEE-Leiden: The introduction week is of great importance to our antenna – we draw about 70 to 100 new people each summer.

GT: What’s the name of the intro week and when did it take place exactly?
AEGEE-Leiden: The intro week is called ELCID and lasted from the 13th to 18th of August.

GT: How many students are coming in total and what happened during the intro week?
AEGEE-Leiden: During this intro week, activities are organized throughout the city. They include all sorts of things, like information markets and discos. There were 5000 participants and about 6000 people were involved in organizing this week.

GT: What did your antenna do at the introduction week? How did you present AEGEE to interested people?
AEGEE-Leiden: We are present as much as we can throughout the week, to make sure we are really visible. We present ourselves as a travelling organization that you can fill in for yourself as you want.  If you want to travel a lot, you can, but if you prefer to stay in Leiden and attend our local activities, it is also possible.

GT: What are the no-gos you must not tell to interested people?
AEGEE-Leiden: We absolutely do not talk bad about other associations when talking to interested people. Other than that, there are not really any no-gos that we do not tell people. We usually adapt the story we tell people to their interests so they see how AEGEE is almost always a great fit.

GT: Who are AEGEE’s biggest competitors at the intro week?
AEGEE-Leiden: There are 23 other student associations in Leiden – and then some 100 study associations – so the competitions is pretty tough. The biggest competitors are the Student Association for International Relations and Prometheus, both really nice organizations that focus on informative events.

GT: How many people became member right away and how many say that they are interested?
AEGEE-Leiden: 60 people became a member right away and 121 people signed up for a “please send me more information” list.

GT: What’s the follow-up? How do you manage to converse interested people into members?
AEGEE-Leiden: We will reach out to the interested people through e-mail and with an offer to come join one of our activities in the upcoming weeks. We have an introduction period with two activities per week in the month of September to make sure that our new members are integrated well in our wonderful association.

 

AEGEE-Utrecht: “As a follow-up we organize ‘Welcome to AEGEE-Utrecht Weeks’”

Golden Times: What is the significance of the introduction week for your antenna?
AEGEE-Utrecht: For our antenna this introduction week is very important, because it is the easiest way to get new students in Utrecht in contact with AEGEE. Therefore we can bring in new members and influence our current reputation in the city.

GT: What’s the name of the intro week and when did it take place exactly?
AEGEE-Utrecht: The name of the introweek is “Utrechtse Introductie Tijd” or short “UIT” – which is Dutch for “OUT”, every year there are new puns! It took place from the 12th until 16th of August.”

GT: How many students are coming in total and what happened during the intro week?
AEGEE-Utrecht: 4000 students participated in this intro week. During the week they got to know the city, the nightlife, student associations and all the other things student life has to offer them.

GT: What did your antenna do at the introduction week? How did you present AEGEE to interested people?
AEGEE-Utrecht: Every day we had a stand where interested people could visit us and get to know more about AEGEE. We are presenting ourselves as a travel association, which is part of a huge network, but also has fun locally in Utrecht. Furthermore we organized a beercantus – the typical Dutch “sing and drink beer” student activity – with an afterparty, we also prepared a dinner and had a social drink every evening.

GT: What are the no-gos you must not tell to interested people?
AEGEE-Utrecht: The no-go is pushing too hard; we are just providing the information and making them feel welcome, so the new students can choose where they fit in best.

GT: Who are AEGEE’s biggest competitors at the intro week?
AEGEE-Utrecht: Our biggest competitor is SIB. This student association is also internationally orientated, like AEGEE-Utrecht, but their activities mostly consist out of lectures.

GT: How many people became member right away and how many say that they are interested?
AEGEE-Utrecht: Most people are interested, come to ask for more information and become member after our introduction weekend. Every year we get approximately 60 new members.

GT: What’s the follow-up? How do you manage to converse interested people into members?
AEGEE-Utrecht: After the introduction week we have what we call “open social drinks”. These are our regular social drinks, but with a little twist so hopefully new members feel extra welcome. Furthermore we have an introduction weekend from 13 to 15 September and after the weekend our WAUW weeks start, the Welcome to AEGEE-Utrecht Weeks. These are four extra weeks of introduction with fun activities to get to know all aspects of AEGEE and its members.

 

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