A few weeks ago another star appeared on the AEGEE map: a new Contact in Marburg. There have been attempts before to establish AEGEE in this town with 80,000 inhabitants right in the centre of Germany. Nevertheless, this time they are hopefully here to stay, because they want to sign the Convention d’Adhesion next May at Agora Yerevan. The GT spoke with the initiator of the Contact, 24-year old Archeology student Gero Tergau.

Golden Times: Congratulations for becoming officially an AEGEE Contact! You actually have been AEGEE member for a while. What is your AEGEE background?
Gero Tergau: Yes, I have been a member of AEGEE-Frankfurt since last year and became treasurer on the board. My motivation: I wanted to become a little bit more involved with Europe. Unfortunately, there was no organization in Marburg at that time that would have made that possible, so I had to commute – sort of – to Frankfurt.

GT: What can you tell us about Marburg? What kind of city is it?
Gero: It is a beautiful old city, but very lively because of the many students. It combines many advantages of a big city without the hassle of being one. The political climate is left-liberal also among the older inhabitants. In general, many people are politically active here. There are many people from all over the world, who expand the cityscape with their variety of cultures. Marburg is small, but colorful and vivid.

Marburg on the map

GT: Have some of the other Contact Marburg members also been in AEGEE before?
Gero: One of them attended a meeting of AEGEE-Frankfurt once or twice, but without becoming a member.

GT: How did you get the idea of starting AEGEE in Marburg?
Gero: The idea came to me relatively early. Actually, almost every AEGEEan, who knew about my place of residence, asked me when I would start my own Contact. However, I did not really start to think about it until after my first Agora in Bucharest. At first I was a little too cautious, then I asked people in my circle of friends and my study environment if they would be interested in such topics. Only in the late summer, after the SU of AEGEE-Frankfurt, AEGEE-Heidelberg and AEGEE-Mannheim, the plans became a bit more concrete. And finally, about two months later, we were able to celebrate our newly-founded Contact.

GT: How many members does the Contact have and how did you find them?
Gero: We now have eleven members and at least five to eight of them come to the weekly meetings. Some I knew from my studies, others from the sports club or other free time activities.

Gero Tergau

GT: Where exactly did you look for members?
Gero: I looked among my fellow students, in my sports club, at my job, at lectures, parties and cultural events.

GT: How do people react when you try to win them over for AEGEE? After all, you don’t have the benefit of a running antenna with lots of activities…
Gero: They are surprised and curious. Some were immediately enthusiastic about the idea; others were interested but somewhat deterred because the nearest antenna was so far away. Now that the Contact exits, it is a bit easier to convince this type of people. Luckily, we did not encounter anyone who was hostile towards the idea of AEGEE. The worst thing that happened were polite refusals.

GT: Do you also use Internet promotion?
Gero: Not as a first step. I wanted to form a founding circle of people whom I can trust to pull things through. Now that this step is over, we signed up for Facebook and Instagram.

GT: What’s the main motivation for students in Marburg to join AEGEE?
Gero: The city is beautiful and you can do a lot. But since one-third of the population are students, it can be really empty during the semester break. Many students try small trips and those in Marburg complain about collective boredom. AEGEE can help both groups to have fun during the semester break. During the Semester AEGEE can reach many people as well, because there is no comparable organization in Marburg.

GT: When did you officially become a Contact?
Gero: Remember, remember the 5th of November. But we didn’t burn anything.

GT: What was the most difficult part? There were some problems with the support letter from the university?
Gero: Yes, the famous German bureaucracy still bothers us. We hope that we will finish this story in December.

GT: Does the university or other institutions support you and like the idea of AEGEE?
Gero: Not yet… In Marburg you have to be a registered association to be recognized and supported by the university. We are working on it.

GT: How can AEGEE make the process of founding a Contact more efficient?
Gero: AEGEE-Europe helped us a lot and still does. They could make the website a bit easier to find with terms and forms for creating a Contact. But since I know many people who knew their stuff, we did not really have any problems with it.

GT: What local activities are you planning or have you already made in Marburg?
Gero: We are planning a pubcrawl and a gathering on the Christmas market.

GT: When do you want to sign the Convention d’Adhesion?
Gero: At Agora Yerevan.

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