This spring, AEGEE members from Zielona Góra made this world a better place. They registered several hundred young people as potential bone marrow donors. It was the third time that the antenna did this great humanitarian act. The Golden Times spoke with former Network Commissioner Bartek Sudorowski, who coordinated this activity in Zielona Góra. Bartek also gave a preview on the second biggest AEGEE event this autumn: the Network Meeting in Zielona Góra, which will take place in November in the Western Polish city.

Bartek Bone Marrow 3
The third Bone Marrow Day was very successful: the antenna 209 potential donors.

Golden Times: How did this year’s edition of the bone marrow donor’s day go? Are you satisfied with the success?
Bartek Sudorowski: Definitely yes! This was the third edition and it was a great success. The programme of the Students’ Bone Marrow Donors Days started one and a half years ago. Back then we registered more than 5600 potential donors at 47 places in Poland. Nine AEGEE took part in this first edition, including AEGEE-Zielona Góra. All Polish media were impressed, because this was a world record. And everyone said that it would be impossible to beat this record. Then there was the second edition. 100 cities, 17,500 potential donors – even DKMS, a foundation which was the main organizer, could hardly believe it… that was on 11th and 12th of December 2013. This time only AEGEE-Zielona Góra took part in this edition on behalf of AEGEE, and we alone registered 346 potential donors – this was two times more than the average result per city.

Golden Times: Impressive! So how did it go this time?
Bartek: Also this time, on 9th and 10th of April, we were very satisfied. During this third edition, we registered 12,500 potential donors in 170 places in Poland. This time next to our antenna also AEGEE-Gliwice took part. At first we were a little bit disappointed in Zielona Góra, because we registered 209 potential donors, which is less than before. Then we realised that registered three times more donors than the average result of the cities, so we realised that it was a good job. I am so glad after this edition, and I would like to implement this idea also in other countries.

Zielona Gora Bone Marrow table 2013
15 AEGEE-Zielona Góra members worked at the antenna’s table during the second edition of the Bone Marrow Day in 2013.

Golden Times: How many people took part from AEGEE-Zielona Góra in total?
Bartek: During the second edition 15 people from AEGEE-Zielona Góra were in our team, and in the third edition 25.

Golden Times: Who are the beneficiaries of the bone marrow donor’s day?
Bartek: Actually, we have two groups of beneficiaries. First and most important: people with blood cancer. Our project shows already positive effects. Between the first and second edition the DKMS foundation found four donors, who could save four lives. The second group of beneficiaries are the students, who are organising the registration points. This event gave us the possibility to save lives.

Golden Times: This initiative is only one of many social actions that AEGEE is involved in. Can you name some more recent actions, for example from your antenna?
Bartek: Yes, it is true. AEGEE is doing lots of social and charity actions. For example, in Zielona Góra every year during the international volunteers’ day we are organising a collection for poor people and for animals from the shelter. Also in November we had a charity concert and a bus party for a young man, who has cancer.

Zielona Gora Bone Marrow table
Also last week the antenna arranged a table.

Golden Times: Many social actions are done by Polish antennae. Can you explain why?
Bartek: The first reason is that a lot of partners and sponsors want to help, because they want to have better visibility – and after that we can cooperate with them more in other actions and projects. The second reason – the most important one – is the mentality and history of Polish people. Until 1989, life in Poland was hard… so people had to help and support each other. We know for example how important help is when you don’t have money for medicine. Sometimes you have a sick person in your family and then you know how hard it is to live with this problem. So that’s why we are helping every time we can!

Golden Times: How big is your antenna, AEGEE-Zielona Gora? How many active members do you have?
Bartek: Our local has close to 30 active members. This is only a small university, so 30 is actually a good number for us. We have more or less 20 projects per year, just between 12th and 21st of May we had five projects. So yes, we are very active!

Zielona Gora
The beautiful townhall of Zielona Góra.

Golden Times: Soon you will get many guests, because your antenna will organise one of the autumn Network Meetings. When will it take place? Can you tell us something about the programme?
Bartek (smiles): Yes is true. I’m so proud of my local. You know, in spring 2010 AEGEE-Zielona Góra organized already an NWM. That was my first Network Meeting. This autumn it will be my 10th, and it will also be in Zielona Góra – this is very symbolic for me. Probably it will take place in November, maybe between 13th and 16th. The motto will be „Back to the roots, find the child in yourself“. We presented our very successful promotion movie at NWM Silesia in April and also at the Agora in Patra. Right now we are in the middle of all preparations, so I cannot talk about the programme yet. If we’ll be able to realize all of our assumptions, then it will be the best NWM ever!

Golden Times: Since you mentioned the Network Meeting Silesia in Zabrze this April… How did that go?
Bartek: That was my 9th NWM and it was almost the best. The organizers was prepared for everything, they had very good fund-raising, a great social programme, and one of the best content parts which I’ve ever seen. We had a fantastic presidents’ meeting with CD member Kathrin Renner. The Network Commissioner, subcommissioners and organizers prepared a great programme and thanks to that, the people were full of energy and passion all the time. We had the opening and closing ceremony in a famous coal mine turned cultural sight, we had great people and 100 percent participation in the open space and workshop sessions. With one word: success.

Zielona Gora2
The old town of the city.

Golden Times: There were nearly 150 participants in Zabrze, making it probably the fourth biggest event in AEGEE, after the Agoras and the EBM. Some people think that’s too big for a Network Meeting? Do you agree?
Bartek: Of course not. The number of participants does not mean that the quality is low. Like I said before, 100 percent of all people participated in the complete content programme. You can ask the participants. There is a very smart Latin proverb: “Quot capita, tot sententiae” – how many heads, so many ideas. When the main goal of the NWM is networking and brainstorming and meeting people, then you have to invite the biggest number you can – of course under the condition that you have a rich programme that caters for all needs. And this was the case.

Golden Times: There is a prejudice about Network Meetings in Poland that says that only Polish AEGEE members go there. Is that true?
Bartek: No, it is not true. Just look at the very recent NWM in Poznań: 70 of the 150 participants were from outside of Poland. Also NWM Silesia had a big percentage of participants from other countries. I was Network Commissioner, and the first rule when we get applications is that we are accepting all AEGEE members from outside of Poland in order to show them that this is a normal NWM and the atmosphere is great. Come to Zielona Góra this autumn and you will see!