One year ago, from 18th till 22nd of February 2015, AEGEE-Burgos organized AEGEE’s first European Planning Meeting (EPM). For a lot of people this amazingly organized event was the was the event of the year. The Golden Times asked main organizer Rubén “Harry” Sanz Martínez to look back at the EPM.

Rubén “Harry” Sanz Martínez
Rubén “Harry” Sanz Martínez

GT: The EPM Burgos was an amazing event. How do you remember it?
Rubén: I am in nostalgic mood, all people know that I love the AEGEE philosophy, and to me EPM Burgos was my best memory in the most important period of my life. I remember I was worried all the time, with a schedule in the background in my mind; I was always trying to be grateful to all the participants who did the effort of visiting my city, and trying to be an example to the rest of the team, working as hard as the hardest worker, being as nice as the nicest girl and making fun as the funniest guy.  But I want to remark that it was the EPM of friendship.

GT: Indeed, the friendship among the organisers was outstanding. You infected the participants with it.
Rubén: The group of AEGEE-Burgos was very close, very motivated and well prepared. We were doing a lot of team building, all of us went in the same direction like if we were one person. We added a lot of friends from other near cities, who wanted to help us, and I am very grateful of it. They could have come just to enjoy the event as participants, and instead of it, they decided to come to work, just because of our friendship. This amazing spirit was the best part of EPM, and I am sincerely grateful to absolutely all of them, all of us were organizers and all of us gave 200% for it. I will never forget all the members of our team.

The organisers created a perfect atmosphere, the participants enjoyed it a lot!

GT: Did you manage to sleep during the EPM?
Rubén: I stopped sleeping four months before the event. I had no time, since I had to manage a lot of areas… So it means to sleep less than three hours per day…

GT: What were the three best things or your strongest impressions of the EPM?
Rubén: The best thing was to show to all AEGEE members that small groups are able to do big things, just with motivation and highlights in the organization. The second was to show Burgos to Europe, I love my city, and I was glad to share it with all AEGEEans. The third was the work with Burgos University, it was an open-door work together, very cooperative. A lot of people don’t understand well what is AEGEE, to see all these young people working together, trying to help in such a serious matter like the relation between Russia and Ukraine. This touched a lot of boys and girls like us every day… I am proud of it.

Location and logistics of the event were absolutely perfect.

GT: The mentioned Russia and Ukraine, the main topic of the EPM, next to making the Action Agenda. What do you think of the quality of this part?
Rubén: AEGEE Burgos paid with its own budget the fees to Eastern Europe participants in order to have high quality debates. I would have liked to have more from this area, but I was surprised with the level of other people’s knowledge of the situation. My first contact with AEGEE was the Transiberian Dream SU, and I have been in the Winter Universities in Moskva and Kyiv too, so I am very involved in the topic. Therefore I was really enjoying all the debates and plenaries.

GT: The organising team grew very close together. Do you still see traces of this today, did it help AEGEE in your area?
Rubén: I think it is a group of friends forever. I am very proud of see all the AEGEE-Burgos newbies who were working in the EPM and are AEGEE-Burgos board members now.

There was even a birthday celebrated during the event – and it felt like family!

GT: You seem to have left AEGEE after the EPM and travelled a lot…
Rubén: I have not left AEGEE, I am a member and I will continue in the future, but it is true: I am not active now, I have been going to all the events for four years, organizing all kind of events and with a lot of daily work, especially in the hard times when we were just a couple of active members.

GT: How did you spent the last year? And what are you doing now?
Rubén: My last year… There is a proverb: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. I thought this already before my AEGEE time, so I spent all that I can on it. Last year I have been in all five continents – in all six if we split America – and my plans for this year are quite similar. Travelling with friends and visiting friends too.

GT: Will we see you again at an AEGEE event or is that chapter closed for good?
Rubén: I will answer this with some sentence that are burned in my mind:
“See you somewhere in Europe”
“Some call it Europe, we call it home”
“Burgos will not leave you cold”

Check the EPM report in the GT: