AEGEE-Passau is the biggest antenna in Germany. This spring, the branch had nearly 150 members. The Golden Times asked the board, with which human resources strategies they manage to find new members. While for example a small image video works well, flyers don’t. AEGEE-Passau: “There are way too many flyers flying around at university.” This is the first of several articles about the best-practice human resources strategies of some of the largest AEGEE antennae.

AEGEE-Passau party
AEGEE-Passau is known for its great members…

Golden Times: On a scale from 0 (very hard) to 10 (very easy), how difficult is it for your antenna to get new members every year?
AEGEE-Passau: That is hard to rate. Let’s say a 7.

How many members joined your antenna in 2012?
At the beginning of the winter term 22 new members joined. In summer it is always less, as it depends on the German study system. 11 joined in summer 2012.

How many active members do you have?
We are counting about 40 active members right now.

AEGEE-Passau Andrea
…because they are extremely active and European-minded.

Who is taking care of getting members? A person in the board, a committee or everyone a bit?
The HR responsible is the one spreading the AEGEE spirit among new members and takes care of them during the term. The recruiting itself is controlled mainly by the HR and PR, as well as the other board members.

Do you have a strategy for getting new members? What are its main elements?
We always offer two information evenings during the first two weeks of a new term and place them on different week days. Our most effective weapon is the information day for new students where all the student’s groups can present themselves. It is the easiest way to actually talk to potential new members. Our experience showed us, that it is not too much about the content that you’re telling people, but mainly about the enthusiasm and spirit you show them.

Which role does your website or Social Media play in promoting your antenna to potential members?
The first thing new members see is our homepage, as it is connected to the official university homepage. As soon as they start to get involved, we mainly communicate via Facebook page and group and inform them about the on-goings within the local and the European network. Some of the potential members heard about us and simply write us messages on Facebook, which we answer directly.

The city is beautiful, but sometimes its three rivers rise a lot…

Which PR actions are the most important ones and get you the biggest amount of new members?
We made a small image video last summer and show this one at the beginning of the term in big classes. Then we talk a few minutes about AEGEE and invite them to our information evening. Posters and brochures are some additional strategies, as well, but our most important tool is the direct contact.

Which PR actions did not work at all?
Flyers. There are way too many flyers flying around at university.

Can you highlight your most original or surprising action that get you new members?
We once did a Sirtaki flash mob to promote our cultural week about Greece. This got us a lot of attention, even though its main goal was not to recruit members. But we are having some new ideas for flashmobs, like invading a class dressed in AEGEE shirts.

AEGEE-Passau flood
…but then AEGEE-Passau is here for the rescue!

Which are the main reasons for students to join your antenna?
In Passau, we have the big advantage of two huge international study courses, called European Studies and International Cultural Business Studies. The university focuses on being international, and, accordingly, the students are always people who have travelled a lot or experience lots of wanderlust. Most of our new members join, because we are taking care of the Erasmus students and they cannot get enough of different cultures.

How many people join every year because of SUs?
The summer universities are not as known here, as in other antennae. First, members join because of our contact to Erasmus students or because of our focus on European citizenship, and then they discover Summer Universities and all the other great opportunities AEGEE offers.

AEGEE-Passau Erasmus party
AEGEE-Passau offers strong Erasmus support…

In which way do you want to strengthen or develop your members campaign in the future?
Well, to the outside world we are mainly known for our Erasmus parties. We don’t think that this is bad, but we would like to highlight our image more in the direction of Summer Universities, thus emphasizing the travel opportunities you have with AEGEE – and we want to point out the work of the European level. Most importantly, we also started to differentiate our communication strategy adapted to the needs of different students. We are happy that students from other study courses joined us, but we cannot get enough of them!

AEGEE-Passau Hawaii2
…and also makes great theme parties, like this Erasmus Hawaii party.

Getting members is one thing, keeping them is another. How do you take care of the new members after they joined?
Our term is always so full of events, they cannot really get AEGEE out of their minds. In winter, we offer a Local Training Course (LTC), as all antennae, and in summer we bring them to the Bavarian forest, where we relax during a weekend and do a kind of LTC. Together with the Erasmus activities and our other programmes such as the Intercambio programme (language buddies), members always get involved in one way or another. But most importantly are our working groups on those events – in fact the members are planning most of the term themselves. Obviously they are having lots of fun with that – which is good for the spirit in our antenna.

Do you have special info materials for new members? If yes, can you send it?
We are using the brochures that where given out by AEGEE-Europe and add a semester programme to them. We also do have a Powerpoint presentation which we show on the information evenings explaining what AEGEE is and focusing only on the main aspects. Of course, we can send this one; just ask our PR-responsible (pr.aegee.passau [at]

AEGEE-Passau Twin Delft
Among the many AEGEE-Passau events are also activities with its twin, AEGEE-Delft.

What is your best strategy to keep your members in your antenna on a long-term base?
We enchain them. No, just kidding. It’s the enthusiasm and the spirit they see among our older members that keeps them to stay. As soon as they get bored being an ordinary member, it is easy to become a board member, as we have eight ordinary board members and four smaller positions. After that, it is up to them how they keep on going and if they join the European level. But our members are always able to challenge themselves and to develop their own dreams. AEGEE is a great platform for that.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Being such a large antenna is also due to our amazing alumni! Lots of members stay members of AEGEE-Passau a very long time after finishing their studies. We keep in contact with them through meetings organized by the current board and through a newsletter. AEGEE-Passau makes a huge impact on your time in Passau and many people in our antenna identify themselves to a high percentage with it. We are sure that other antennae do have enthusiastic members as well. If somebody has a passion about something, he or she will always be unstoppable. And who does not want to be a maker?

The AEGEE-Passau promotion video: