The new AEGEE Contact in Vigo visited Agora Bergamo undercover – because the four board members were attending the event as delegates for four different Spanish antennae. Their studies had taken Judith Sandin, Flavio Junio, Marcos Lois and Silvia Muñoz to different cities all over their country – but now they all live in or near Vigo and decided to use their combined AEGEE experience to create a new antenna in the northwest of Spain. With 27 members and lots of plans the new AEGEE Contact Vigo is ready to rock the network!

The board of Contact Vigo!

GT: It’s great to see Vigo back on the AEGEE map. Who had the idea?
Silvia Muñoz: There is not just one person who decided to found AEGEE-Vigo again, all of our founders – Marcos, Judith, Flavio, Kateryna, Noelia, Alejandra and me – were already AEGEE active members of other antennae. However, living away of your local sometimes makes it difficult to get as involved in its activities as you would wish. It was that mutual feeling what encouraged us to start this adventure.
Flavio Junio: The idea became concrete when one of us texted all interested people to have a meeting in a bar. We did not know each other, but the first contact was incredible. We all had the same dreams for a long time and when we met that day, we realized we were a really good team: all experienced in our own areas and ready to develop our dream.

GT: Judith, you are the president of your Contact. How do you remember the start?
Judith Sandin: You may not believe in destiny so let’s talk about coincidences. In the Spring NWM Alicante 2014 I met Marcos and we were talking about creating a new local in Vigo. But time was passing and other people were meeting in other places, like Flavio and Silvia. At the beginning of this year they were living in Vigo. In January I also went back to live in Vigo – and that was the perfect moment to create the contact. Marcos and I were thinking how to get some people to make it. Silvia, Flavio, Alejandra, Noelia and Kateryna were talking at the same time about the same thing. We didn’t know each other, but thanks to a friend of a friend, we heard about other people having the same idea. Thanks to Flavio, who put all of us in contact!

GT: This high amount of experienced members makes your contact very special…
Silvia: The fact of having some experienced AEGEE members is totally needed, people who know the procedures and the stages of establishing an AEGEE local group, about the rights and obligations. It is important to gather enough information about the association and to share the idea and enthusiasm with other members that can help you during this journey.

Castrelos largest park
Castrelos, the largest park in Vigo

GT: How many members do you have in your Contact?
Silvia: We are now 27 members, almost all of them newbies, hungry to know AEGEE, to meet other members and to share experiences! Or it is that we have forgotten how we were, each of us, before knowing AEGEE and how we have changed with it? The skills that we developed, the ties that we established, the places we visited… We have many people very interested in taking part in AEGEE, so we hope to keep growing fast and get more amazing members, ready to contribute and do big things with our association.

GT: When exactly did you found the contact?
Judith: We started having meetings and working in February. We sent a request to become a contact in March and we were finally admitted a couple of days before the Agora Bergamo.

GT: You even had a board election. Can you present your board?
Silvia: Sure. Judith Sandin is our president, Marcos Lois our secretary, Flavio is our PR responsible and vice-president and I am our treasurer.

The board of Contact Vigo at Agora Bergamo!

GT: All of you were active in AEGEE before. Were you all in the board before?
Judith: Half yes and half no. Silvia was in AEGEE-Burgos and Flavio in AEGEE-A Coruña, but not board members before. However, they are really committed to do a great job! Marcos was board member in AEGEE-Oviedo and I in AEGEE-Alicante and we are continuously sharing best practices. But the most important is that we all were really active members and want to put all our energy in creating this local in our city. Two of us are also in European Committees right now so we have a good background to inspire our members to do great things.
Marcos Lois: Now it’s time for the oldie of our contact, because I was the first who joined AEGEE, in April 2012. After an SU in Brescia I became active member and the next two years I was vice-president and president of AEGEE-A Coruña. Then I joined AEGEE-Oviedo before AgorAsturias and until now I am also an active member there. During these four years I organized many activities and attended many events, such as six Agoras and many NWMs, but I was always focused on local stuff.
Silvia: I became an AEGEE member more than two years ago, and since then I have never let to go the opportunity to participate in every kind of events and activities! Because of my studies I had to move several times in the past years, being an active member of the antennae of the cities where I lived. Gradually, event after event, I meet more people, understand AEGEE better, feel more European and want to be a more active member. For me the most important event in which I took part was EPM Burgos 2015, because I could collaborate in the organising team! Now I am very excited with this new challenge: AEGEE Contact in Vigo
Flavio: I started my AEGEE life a bit more than a year ago. I joined AEGEE-A Coruña to have the summer of my life, but at that time I never imagined that this would change all of my life. After my SU and Renove in León I could not wait to become active in AEGEE-A Coruña. However, since I am studying in Vigo, so I could not help as much as I wanted. After being main organizer of the AEGEE-A Coruña LTC “Ocho apellidos Gallegos” I realized I needed to found a new local in Vigo to fullfil all I wanted to do in AEGEE.

O Castro hill
The hill O Castro in the heart of Vigo marks the city’s birthplace and the home of the first settlers, it’s the park with the best views!

GT: What do you study or work there in Vigo?
Flavio: I study Classical Music and Social Work. I am really interested in design and I have a large social background with people that share the same interests. That is why I joined the Public Relations Committee of AEGEE-Europe some months ago.
Judith: I study Advertising and Public Relations and I came back to Vigo to write my thesis, relax a bit and enjoy my city again for as much as I can.
Silvia: I’m from the cold city of Burgos, but with 18 I moved to León where I studied Biotechnology. After that, I did my Master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine in Santander. Right now I’m doing my PhD in an institution dedicated to research in Vigo, the Spanish National Research Council.
Marcos:  I’m the only one of the board members who is not studying, working or even has lived there, because I am living 150 kilometres far away, but I manage to attend the meetings and the activities. For me it’s not a big problem not to live there. It is only a question of commitment and motivation.

GT: Such an AEGEE background probably makes things easier…
Judith: Yes, it definitely helps. It is incredible to start a local from nothing because everyone is really motivated and we all do our maximum effort to make the things work out. Having previous experience is amazing, in terms that we don’t need to be asking all the time other people or searching. We know what to do and that makes everything easier. We all had different ways of working in AEGEE and now we just decide what’s the best for each occasion. This is important and means that we are going with more confidence in our steps, than if we were new members.

SU Vigo 2001
Around 15 years agoo AEGEE-Vigo organised several Summer Universities

GT: You know that there was an AEGEE-Vigo in the 90ies. I heard you even made research on the web what they organised?
Judith: Yes, here the creepy part arrives. Even if years ago it was just an idea I started to do a research about how to create an association in my city, how to register it and other things like how to work with the university. Then I was checking all the associations ever registered in the University of Vigo, my old university, and I found A.E.G.E.E. I was in shock and I couldn’t believe it was there but not anymore, so I started to directly seek for AEGEE-Vigo and I found lot of information about where they were registered, where was the headquarter, the talks among the participants of their SU and finally, who was the president.

GT: Are you in contact with the old AEGEE-Vigo?
Judith: Once I found the e-mail address of the last president I sent him a mail without any hope he will reply, but he did. It was a large e-mail full of details and explanations about how they worked, why they closed it and how the Agora and the Summer University worked at that time. When I saw his happiness because of our idea I couldn’t believe it. Now we have each other’s numbers and time to time we talk about AEGEE.

GT: All four of you were at Agora Bergamo. Is it true that you even wanted to try to sign the Convention d’Adhesion there?
Judith: Well, that was a thing that we sent in a private e-mail to the CD, but it was more about explaining all the requirements that we already fulfilled and explaining the possibilities that we had.
Marcos: We, the four members of the board were indeed in Bergamo, each one of us was delegate of a different antenna, Oviedo, Alicante, A Coruña and Burgos – so we made history in Bergamo!

Cies Islands
Cies Islands was voted “The most beautiful beach in the world” by the Guardian.

GT: What are the biggest plans and events of your new Contact? What will 2016 bring for you?
Judith: During this summer we are sending our members to the fantastic Summer Universities and from September on we are preparing an LTC full of surprises and many more meetings among our members. Hopefully we will also sign the Convention d’Adhesion in Chisinau, where at least eight of our members are planning to go.

GT: What can you tell us about Vigo? What kind of city is it?
Silvia: Vigo is known as the “Gateway to the Atlantic”. It is the largest city in north-western Spain. Our beaches of Vigo have fine white sand, clear water, wild coves and waves for water sports. Our gastronomy is very famous too! The urban area of Vigo is built over a hill-fort. Nowadays this hill with a fortress is one of the most popular sites for people to take a walk in Vigo, because of his beautiful gardens, open spaces and views. Based around the original fishermen’s houses the city’s old quarter is a small treasure. Vigo is also a short train ride away from Portugal and from Santiago de Compostela, the third most important pilgrimage in Christendom.
Flavio: Do you want to know something curious? Vigo is the second largest fishing port in the world after Tokyo!

Vigo map
Vigo is not so close, but definitely worth a visit!

GT: Vigo is quite far away, at the edge of Europe. Can you tell three reasons why every AEGEE member should visit Vigo?
Marcos: If you come to Vigo, you will be surprised about the hospitality of the people, always ready to make your visit an incredible experience. The second reason is the food, forget everything you expect when you visit Spain. Here there is no place for paella, here is the land of the best seafood of the world, the wine, the meat – so come here to taste it and discover our rich gastronomy. The third one is our paradise, the Cíes Islands with “the best beach in the world” as it was called by The Guardian newspaper. These islands are part of a national park and if you visit our city you have to take a ferry and spend a day there. You will remember it forever. What are you waiting for? Stay tuned to our next events and come to the paradise!

GT: Anything you would like to add?
Silvia: Something big was born in Vigo and will continue growing… We are waiting for all of you here!