AEGEE goes back to the north: The European Planning Meeting 2016 (EPM) will take place in Leiden. The exact date will be either 18-21 or 25-28 February. It will be the first statutory events in the Netherlands, the country with most AEGEE members, since Agora Enschede in April 2012. Boudewijn Steenhof, Core Team President, and Casper Renting, Core Team Vice-President and PR Responsible, told the Golden Times why you cannot miss the EPM in Leiden. (Cover photo: Erik Zachte, Wikipedia)

Boudewijn and Caspar
Boudewijn Steenhof and Casper Renting

How do you feel about the news that your antenna organises the EPM 2016?
Needless to say that we are over the moon! The minute the news was made public we sent a newsflash to our members and we popped a few bottles of Cava soon after!

You already applied last year. How did you react when you did not get it last year? Was it clear that you would try again?
Last year we were absolutely gutted when we did not get the EPM. However, after a week or so of being disappointed, we turned our heads forward again and focused on the future. It was very clear that our motivation to organise a statutory event was not gone whatsoever. There were still a lot of members left who were willing to spend some time and energy to research the possibility of organising the EPM in 2016. After several meetings, we eventually decided to go through with applying once more.

EPM announcement
The great moment at Agora Gijón: AEGEE-Leiden got the EPM!

Why did you apply for an EPM and not the Agora? You hosted one in 2010…
Yes, that’s true, and that’s already a good reason why we decided to go for the EPM this time. It is a different event with different challenges that we really wanted to take on. We also noticed that Leiden University and the Municipality of Leiden were interested in the thematic part of the EPM. They see that the international prestige and attention of hosting an event named the “European Planning Meeting” might be bigger than hosting a more internally focused event such as the Agora.

Leiden_City_Hall Erik Zachte
Leiden city hall. Photo: Erik Zachte, Wikipedia

Did you have to put a lot of work in the new application or could you just recycle last year`s?
Of course there were parts of last year’s application that we could reuse. The history of Leiden didn’t get rewritten last year, obviously. We really took last year’s bid as a starting point. Because of the agreements that were made in 2014 and the willingness of our partners to give it another go we were able to confirm, for example, the sleeping location in only one meeting lasting 15 minutes. This saved us a lot of time and allowed us to make more connections with partners. To give you an idea, we got professional help from Leiden Marketing in making our bid book and with releasing a press statement after the news was made public on the AgorAsturias.

burgos072
Many AEGEE-Leiden members – clearly recognisable – attended the EPM in Burgos

You seemed to be pretty sure to get it this time – there was a huge AEGEE-Leiden delegation at the EPM in Burgos…
Generally in Leiden we notice that more members get excited for European events every year, so that’s why there are so many people from Leiden everywhere. However, we must admit that we made sure to have lots of eyes and ears in Burgos in case we were to organise the next EPM. Let’s just say we were confident with our application, but you can never know for sure…

Organisers
The great work of the EPM Burgos organisers is an inspiration for the EPM Leiden team

What did you learn in Burgos? Any good ideas or inspirations?
Let us first take this opportunity to compliment AEGEE-Burgos again on their amazing work. We are not jealous on the difficulties they had to deal with, but it’s the result that counts and they did an outstanding job. Something we really want to copy from there is the kindness of their helpers, since this is something we all have valued as participants very much. As organisers, we want to incorporate this into our own event as well and we want to make sure we are always approachable and helpful. Two things we want to tackle as organisers are the meals and the parties. Firstly, we want to make sure that the participants will have enough food during the day, but simultaneously we want to introduce them to the Dutch food culture. Also we want to incorporate the famous Dutch student life in the parties.

How many people can you host?
We will be able to host a maximum of 350 participants.

agoraleiden14
At Agora Leiden 2010 the participants slept in army tents.

What about the accommodation? In 2010 you put participants in tents and they were freezing…
Don’t worry, we will not put 350 AEGEEans in tents this time. We have arranged the University Sports Centre as lodging for our participants, so they definitely will not be freezing! Due to safety regulations, this location was not an option during the Agora, regarding the higher number of participants.

EPM Leiden Facebook
Check out the EPM Leiden page on facebook!

How big is your antenna?
Around 270 members. Roughly half of them are active, which means that they are in the board, in one of 13 committees, 4 fraternities and sororities or 10 collectives. Being a regular visitor to the drinks and parties also counts of course.

Anything you would like to add?
We would like to invite everyone to apply for the event when applications open. It is going to be great! We would love to share our local and our city with as many AEGEEans as possible. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to send us an email via epm@aegee-leiden.nl.

Check out the EPM Leiden page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/epmleiden2016

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