Usually it takes a long time to get there. Once you do that, there is never enough: of ESN, of people you meet and spirit you feel. Official description tells you that it is the main decision-making body of ESN International. Well, it is. And it is much more at the same time: future cooperations, knowledge transfer, gathering information, sharing experiences, developing ideas, creating personal long-lasting relations, simply having fun and believing in ideas of the network.
The idea of AGM is to gather together around 600 current and former members of ESN from international, national and local levels. 36 countries – numbers only prove how broad our organization is. And while wearing different colors and realizing slightly different projects we manage to keep unity in diversity.
ESN Lithuania also was a part of it – 12 delegates representing 9 sections of ESN Lithuania together with NB delegates and NR in front of. Great purple cloud took over the city of Maribor for 4 days starting from 11th continuing to 14th of April.
Thursday, 11th of April
While our NR Simona Patašiūtė was catching a breath after intensive and productive pre-CNR delegation of Lithuania was slowly starting to appear from different corners of Europe. The fastest ones were invited to explore Maribor – former European Capital of Culture 2012 during guided sightseeing tours, which invited to share “Brez objemov” or “Free Hugs” with the citizens. Surprised, smiling faces and a bit scared ones from too high dose of Love, but after all – socially aware ESN greeting for the city, which hosted the biggest event of the network.
Opening ceremony of the event was soon to come so after making few more circles in the city time for preparations to meet Mr. President of Slovenia Borut Pahor. After his speech even more greetings followed by ESN AISLB president Emanuel Alfranseder, partnerts of the network and even Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Ceremony was opened and closed by Slovenian singer performing anthem of ESN SB – “Don’t You Worry Child”.
Afterwards delegations were invited to enjoy traditional Slovenian dinner together with songs and dances followed by Responsible Party where RP ambassadors were taking a great care of ESNers while providing them water and other goods.
Friday, 12th of April
From 7am in the morning participants were invited to enjoy the breakfast and so prepare for the following sessions when procedures of AGM were presented, chairs were elected, agenda approved and presentations of the candidates for 2013-2014 IB were heard.
Later the action was moved to the Technical Faculties, where local Slovenian people together with the members of ESN were invited to participate in the Uni-market which has lasted for 3 hours and has invited to get to know more than 300 universities across entire Europe.
After the market was finished ESNers were invited to attend the variety of workshops starting with the diplomacy lessons taught by Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister ending up with project management and team building. Impressions and lessons which were learnt were shared during the National Platforms, which invited to talk about candidates for the IB, about AGM itself and to prepare for the loud and colorful flag-parade.
Parade which took for more than few hours and was captured by various media representatives ended up in Festival Hall Lent where the Eurodinner took place. Crazy night with loud music, various goods from different countries of the world leaded to the one of the most important days of AGM.
Saturday, 13th of April
The 3rd day of AGM invited to the sessions where the most important decisions were made. OCs for the future international events were elected:
• AGM Milano 2014; • CEP Košice 2014; • CND Lodz 2014.
Later on budgets were discussed and presentation about the work done by IB 2012-2013 was given. As well as standing orders were changed with the biggest innovation – bringing the chairing team to the CNR meetings, which from now one will be made of CNR Administrator, Secretary and Technical Assistant.
44Changes for the Visual Identity Manual were also introduced with a suggestion to allow the use of ESN logo in full solid ESN Colors, including ESN Pink/Cyan/Orange/Green/Dark Blue. The next day proposal was approved by AGM, so from now on we have even more colorful and flexible visual identity of the network!
AGM was continued by presentation of the Board Action Plan for 2013 – 2014 with concrete actions how to improve the structure, budget, work of secretariat and strengthen up ESN Brand. Promotion of the mobility, concentration on the projects as ESNSurvey, PRIME, Erasmus Impact Study will remain. Will be working on strengthening up the Eduk8, Alumni network, working with facilitation of international jobs, traineeships and volunteer opportunities for ESN members.
During the rest of the day international ESN projects were presented: ESNWiki, Responsible Party, where ESN Lithuania takes the first place by the number of RP parties organized! Time for the session was coming to an end so lots of discussion points were delayed to the coming day.
UV Youngle Party followed afterwards, where with the help with OC, IB and NewYorker everyone was dressed the same – T-shirts of ESN, which later on were covered by the layers of ultraviolet sensitive paints.
Sunday, 14th of April
New day, new challenges and huge amounts of information! Projects as ESN Satellite was presented with having a first look to the new version of it and promise for it soon to come. ESN Survey was analyzed, recent results of Eduk8 were presented continuing with the presentation with the rest of projects as Erasmus in Schools as a Flagship Project for this year, Social Erasmus as the latter Flagship Project of ESN, Section Quality Development, Section Cooperation, ESN Galaxy, ESN Card, Ride for Your Rights, ExchangeAbility presentations.
Reports of CNR, CND, Committees, Liaison Office and Network itself followed together with presentation of commercial, institutional partners.
Alumni were also invited to the stage to present their new work done during the recent year, attempts to gather all national Alumni coordinators to one place and to share their knowledge and possibilities between each other. More information about Alumni network might be found HERE. Also traditional Alumni grant was given. This time it was ESN Rijeka which was awarded by 500eu for the innovative trainings for ESN members of their section.
Also that day IB for the next cadency was elected:
• President – Stefan Jahnke;
• Vice-president – Dominique Montagnese;
• Treasurer – Jonathan Jelves;
• Communication Manager – Robert Klimacki;
• Web Project Administrator – Salih Odabasi.
After the reports of the auditors and vote of AGM event was officially closed. Only Gala-prom was waiting for the participants.
Gala this year was different. The idea was to have a prom date like in the times of finishing high school. That was the reason why everyone that night came by two. High heels and ties, dresses and suits – that night we’ve proved how different we can be – from dirty t-shirts to fancy look, from crazy parties to Social Erasmus. That’s what ESN is about.
15th of April
Then the sun started to appear in the morning of 15th AGM came to an end. Lots of goodbyes were told during the breakfast, many free hugs made to each other hoping to see each other again. Once more hundreds of people from different parts of Europe spread apart to work for the same ideas and values only through different projects and venues. Work for the local, national and international community. Spread responsible and socially aware ideas.
Every time we meet, something changes. In statutes, standing orders, VMI, but the wish to ESN your life always remains.
This spring semester ESN VGTU is participating in national ESN Lithuania social project called Erasmus Postcards. It is a project with the same idea as Erasmus in Schools (EiS). EiS sends international students into local schools to talk about their country, language and culture. EiS thus promotes European Citizenship and makes pupils familiar with the idea of mobility and the possibilities to realise it (such as the Erasmus programme). Before the semester began ESN VGTU mentors asked their international students to bring a couple of post cards with a representative view of their countries. On 5th - 7th of February VGTU International Relations Office organized annual VGTU event – International Days. ESN VGTU was excited to be a part of this important, useful and interesting event. Every day of the festival during lunch break ESN VGTU could be found at the foyer near the 03rd auditorium. ESN VGTU were offering a lot of different activities such as marking the place where you have been or where you want to go in the map, participating in the photo contest and the quiz about culture, language and Erasmus programme, getting your name written in Korean language and many other things. On the 1st day of event ESN VGTU invited international students to fill the post cards that they had brought. It was an amazing moment when lots of foreign students gathered together with their mentors and wrote something in Lithuanian, something in their language as well as first impression on Lithuania in English. An exhibition of these post cards was held until 7th of February so every student of VGTU both – Lithuanian and international – could see and enjoy the post cards from different corners of the world. Considering the fact that some students for different reasons come to Lithuania later that the beginning of semester, everyone got a chance to bring their post cards to ESN room until the end of February.
Moreover, students who forgot to bring post cards had enough time to ask their relatives to send some by mail. Finally, in March we sent all the post cards to Pabradės Ryto gimasium, as it is one of the schools that VGTU is collaborating with. It was not only post cards that we sent. The coordinator of this social project Aistė Ulevičiūtė together with ESN VGTU social dream team prepared a package which included VGTU Erasmus letters and poster with main information about students mobility and international opportunities. 18th – 22nd of March was announced as No Bullying Week. 35 non-govermental organizations and 1130 educational institutions were participating in this social project and organized a huge variety of remarkable events and activities. Pabradės Ryto gymnasium included Erasmus Post Cards project into their No Bullying Week activities as the project makes students think about racism, cultural discrimination and tolerance. Therefore ESN VGTU got a chance to be a part of this exclusive tremendous social project.
The photos of “Erasmus postcards” – first step – might be found HERE.
As every year, on the 2nd and 3rd of March, Vilnius was shaken by Saint Casimir's Fair. Second year in a row students from ERASMUS Student Network (ESN Lithuania) did not stand aside and together with non - profit organization "Mamų Unija" (“Mothers’ Union”) took part in this amazing event by collecting charity from strangers. Volunteers came from ESN VGTU and ESN Vilnius University guided by the slogan "Children with cancer also play". Cold did not scare neither members of the National Board nor members of ESN LT Alumni club. The main aim of the project was to gather as much charity as possible while selling special postcards provided by "Mother’s Union". All donations were given to Santariškių Hospital in Vilnius.
The first day had just started and meant to be very interesting - while going to the city centre it was snowing A LOT, snowstorm was performing its best. After arriving to the destination another challenge was to build a tent - no one of us had ever done such thing, so nobody had enough experience to do it right and after half an hour of trying we came to conclusion that one part was missing. However, it was not true and with the help of other fair's participants we finally did it! Just after preparing everything for the trade the first ERASMUS students showed who started communicating with people and raising the money very willingly. They were grouped by two people - one Lithuanian and one foreigner. All pairs had special "money boxes" and some postcards for presenting. Probably the biggest part of the attention was showed to Julius who screamed loudly using a megaphone two days in a row. But the most important thing was the sun - it warmed the air and also the atmosphere.
This Saint Casimir's Fair was extraordinary, because for the first time the parade was organized -the members of NGOs “Mamų Unija” ("Mothers’ Union") and ESN Lithuania marched through the city centre and encouraged people to pay more attention to the problem of cancer, as many of them just pretend not to understand it and try to avoid even listening to it.
One of the organizers Julius Zaburas (ESN LT Alumni) was very proud, because this year not only students from ESN VGTU participated) in the event (ESN VU joined them): "I am very happy that this charity event is becoming a tradition and is also expanding. I hope that in the future it will be possible to improve even more with Saint Casimir's fair and support children who were really disadvantaged by destiny".
During the event 2 836 Lt ( ~820 euros ) was fundraised. They were all donated to the "Santariškių" hospital in Vilnius.
ESN Lithuania invites to join goodness campaign „Nebūk daiktistas“ (“Don’t be a Thingist”) organized by our friends pagalbadaiktais.lt!
Project encourages you to give away things you do not need any more in change of gratitude of people, who need these things more.
All and each of you who read this are more than welcome to join campaign of sharing and helping each other!
Check your cupboard and think - maybe there are things you don‘t need or don‘t like anymore?
It could be: – clothes – shoes – utensils – stationery – books – toys/board games – many other things.
By participating in the campaign “Nebūk daiktistas” (“Don’t be a Thingist”) you will not only help others with things they need, but also you will help to built a proper image of international students as energetic, creative, mobile, tolerant and socially responsible people. At the same time you will help to increase the visibility of ESN in home institutions and local community.
Campaign will be held from 1st to 16th of March. Soon more information will appear and each participating ESN section will indicate places where things can be left. All the given things will be registered in pagalbadaiktais.lt system. Each participator will be able to see its profile. (e. g.: Profile of ESN Vilnius University, http://www.pagalbadaiktais.lt/dovanotojas/2313)
By pressing on your ESN sections's name below you will get more information about the project:
• ESN Vilnius University • ESN VGTU • ESN ŠU • ESN KK • ESN ISLB • ESN VMU
If you belong to the section which is not mentioned above then you can contact to any other section in the city!
Go social with ESN! Reach highier! Go further! Go social! SE national coordinator: [email protected]
SocialErasmus is a project where with minimal expenses we can implement the most beautiful ideas, so this time our SocialErasmus coordinators team agreed with the idea that international wind could take over Lithuanian schools by sending them postcards. Project “Erasmus Postcards“ is easy to realize: before going to Lithuania Erasmus exchange students are asked to brought few cards with them. Each ESN section chooses the most convenient time them to collect and during certain event students are asked to fill their cards by writing few phrases in their native language, few sentences about first impression being in Lithuania (in English), the favorite phrase in Lithuanian and other things they want.
After collecting postcards, ESNers will divide them in equal parts and send to the selected schools of Lithuania, where postcards will be exposed (how – it depends on agreement). ESNers need creativity there: each section has to present ESN Lithuania and themselves as well, ERASMUS exchange program, tell schools about the flows of international students each semester and traditional activities that ESN offer to them. Also we are glad that our expired SocialErasmus projects as video "Erasmus Unites", telling what Erasmus exchange program is and "Erasmus Letters" are beneficial there – they let us explain better the essence of ESN activities and SocialErasmus goals.
What is more, most of ESN Lithuania sections for the first time joins “Anti-bullying Week“, which will last from 18th to 24th of March where the main goal will be to implement activities that stimulate tolerance and empathy at an early age children in kindergartens, schools, social centers, children homes. By sending Erasmus postcards, information about ESN and our activities to Lithuanian pupils, we will try to break stereotypes, to emphasize the need of understanding of cultural differences, encourage discussions about Lithuanians‘ tolerance.
Realization of the project also aims to reveal that ESNers are active, social and open-minded youth and that Erasmus exchange program is direct connection with European youth and that it lets us become more tolerant!
“Erasmus post cards“ + “Anti-bullying Week” = Powerful “Erasmus in Schools” project
This is the way how soon Lithuanian ESNers are going to reach Lithuanian schools!
For more information you can write to National SocialErasmus coordinator Kristina Selezniova: [email protected]
Creating future few years ago for me was something I have never imagined. Now I can bravely say "YES, I CAN". Why? Because I have found a place where all dreams can come true!
Once I had decided that I must apply for ERASMUS - I do not know why, but since school years it was something I had to experience. And finally, I got on the bus which led me to the Warsaw where from I have almost successfully reached my final destination Ostrava Czech Republic by train. I got tricked by the taxi driver, I got lost in the city at the first day while looking for the super - market when some homeless tried to "take" me while waiting for the train. But still it was the BEST decision in my life to seize this opportunity.
But the real benefits of this adventure started to show up after getting back to Lithuania. First days being at home, going to lectures were SOOO depressing that I had to do something. It seemed that life is going nowhere as everybody was so sad, wasn't smiling... And forget (wasn’t thinking) about English for sure!
This is why I have applied to become a mentor - it was interesting - many parties and friends. However, I have started to ask more. As the ESN office was near the house I was living at that moment, I was attending all meetings, I have also started to help other students to find what they did need and finally I had my first project! At that day I felt the opportunity to create something new, I felt the potential of ESN VGTU which were not exploited. Soon I was elected as the Head Coordinator of the Social Projects Committee. It was 100% new as nobody ever tried to do this - maybe this was the main reason which forced me to go further, the possibility to CREATE. My biggest dream to prove that ERASMUS is not only parties and trips became true - for the first time in Lithuania ESN went SOCIAL.
Now my tenure is over, but new leaders of the committee continue the traditions to follow the earlier events. They continue develop traditions, which came from my heart and were realized with the help of sleepless nights. In my opinion, this is the biggest reward you can get.
Moreover, ESN changed my personal life and character as well. I have met many new people, who became my new friends. I have learned to communicate with different cultures, I have expanded my horizons and showed to others and to myself that everything is possible. Really! Funny story is that I have even got a full-time job as an Engineer with the help of ESN.
Nowadays, I still cannot stop. One very clever ESN'er said: "ESN is like a drug – at the moment you try it for the first time you either give it up or you never stop using". And I have not stopped untill now and I won't (sorry for those who doesn't like me :) ). At the moment we have started the ESN LT Alumni club - also something we have never done before. Maybe this is the reason I am here - the reason of possibility to CREATE again.
To sum up, I cannot imagine a day without ESN. There are still many things to do and many challenges to meet. Thank you all who have worked with me, thank you all who are still working - you are the best!
"Yesterday in early morning I was driving a car when suddenly in front of my eyes a truck rammed another car. That car fling away across all road and jumped on the divider. I stopped, leaped out of the car and ran to look was everybody alive - luckily the driver and passenger were OK". This accident showed how brittle our lives can be.
Concerning this matters, ESN VGTU again showed that they are indifferent to helping others and organized Blood Donor Day. It was held in the middle of Vilnius city center in shopping mall "Gedimino 9" on 1st of December together with Blood Center.
Members of ESN VGTU were really prepared as music was inviting everybody to join the event, all day few of the volunteers distributed the flyers in the street and inside the shopping center. There were sweets, candies, tea, coffee, board games - everything you need to have a good time! Few ERASMUS student even played the guitar while others were singing (ESN VGTU really have very talented singers).
Blood Center also was perfectly prepared as they initiated short movie called "Blood Road" where the importance of Donor was explained. The movie was available in Lithuanian and in English. Moreover, they helped to connect all necessary equipment and prepare tables - it was very delightful team work of two separate organizations which were united with ONE GOAL - SUPPORT.
The first Donor who encourage others to join was a girl from Germany. Following the example, student from Turkey, Italy, Spain started to register and fill in the forms, Lithuanians joined too. After few hours, when more and more people got out on the streets, more and more of them came. Finally even quite a big queue appeared near the registration desk. The marvelous thing was that giving the flyers totally worked and some people, who never heard of ESN joined too. They were introduced into ESN with short comment who we are and what we do and after the donation were rewarded with special ESN bracelet.
According to the project coordinator Kristina Vilčiauskaitė she took responsibility for this event because the situation what matters the donation is very poor - "there is a big lack of donors however people even during such events listlessly look at giving blood. I think that we are strong enough to share this idea firstly with ERASMUS student and also with Lithuanian community and in this way to create wider environment where donations could become a usual thing. Many foreigner students are donors in their countries, but when they come here they do not have any information how to do this - ESN VGTU Donor Blood Day provided them this information and permitted them to donate.
After the day, checking the results made us all smile as there were up to 20 donors! So we would like to say big THANK YOU to the people who agreed to do this, also we say a big THANK YOU to the Blood Center which willingly joined the event, we say big THANK YOU to the administration of shopping mall "Gedimino 9" as they provided all necessary items to make everything in the best way.
By Julius Zaburas
On the 24th - 25th of November representatives of ESN VGTU together with charity and support fund "Mother Union" participated in the exhibition "Vaikų šalis 2012" (eng. "Children Country 2012") which was held in exhibition hall LITEXPO, Vilnius and joined the opportunity to create the biggest postcard in Lithuania. The result was amazing, because there was created as postcard which height - 2,4 m and width - 1,5 m.
It all started on Saturday early morning when the base of the postcard was delivered - the size of it took breath for everyone who saw it as it was quite hard to imagine how we will manage to fulfill all white area with drawings and pictures. However, when the professional designer began to sketch the Goodness of a Brownie smallest participants of the exhibition bravely joined the company. Firstly they timidly colored the figures, but after some time started to improvise - then flowers became black, there were animals in the sky... The imagination was freed. Everybody who joined the creation of this postcard got a piece of cake. The most interesting thing was to see how this opportunity to remember the childhood and to take a paintbrush involved also adults. Persistently, till the end of the exhibition, they demonstrated their painting abilities while their children were helping them.
Nearby the members of the "Mother Union" introduced the new collection of the postcards. The passers - by had an a opportunity to buy them and support children with cancer.
On Sunday action continued as the postcard was only on a halfway. Professional designer again helped us an organized fast, effective workshop to finish the record on time. After finishing many people wanted to have the photo IN it.
On Monday morning the postcard was delivered to Santariškių hospital and was gifted to the department of Children Oncological Diseases where decorates the hallway.
This project was not the first one organized between ESN VGTU and "Mother Union" - at 2011 winter members of ESN VGTU together with foreigners visited the hospital and performed Christmas event, at 2012 spring ESN VGTU also participated in Saint Casimir's fair, where fundraised charity for children with cancer. According to the ESN VGTU Alumni Julius Zaburas - "support and aid not necessarily must be expressed financially. Sometimes exact work, as this time producing and delivering the base for biggest postcard means much more than money".
On 2nd-4th of March traditional Casimir‘s fair took place in Vilnius attracting innumerable amount of residents and city guests. This fair was special, because according to organizers the number of participants willing to attend this event was higher than ever. Also charity and support fund “Mothers‘ Union“ continued it‘s tradition and led by noblest aims gathered donations for children with oncological diseases. In addition, the students of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University ESN (Erasmus Student Network) were not indifferent and voluntarily contributed to this campaign by giving all their energy tried to quiver the hearts of passers-by to donate for the children.
The campaign began on Saturday morning, when, though a bit late, the tent of “Mothers‘ Union” was built and there you could buy cards made by children themselves. Guided by the motto “Support for a child – present for you” participants of the fair were able to buy a great gift for themselves and donate 3 Litas for those, who really need them. The charity was gathered in two ways – one stood by the tent and called people to stop by the tent and not just pass by, while others went through the crowd with special boxes, gave out “Mothers Union” calendars and encouraged to donate for children with cancer. Megaphone became an integral tool that helped everyone around to hear calls for help and support.
On Sunday the majority of our guests diceded to take a rest, so Lithuanian students took the lead. The day was really lovely as the sun was shining and setting a good mood. Passers-by were much more curious and interested in what we were doing. Also everybody had a chance to witness an incredible performance of two Erasmus students, who played guitars right here – in Vilnius city center!
Another thrilling thing about this campaign is that this year it became international – students from Latvia, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, even from Uzbekistan and South Korea (they wrote names in Korean language) weren‘t afraid of cold weather and shared their companionship with others. Most people think that Erasmus students only party and have fun, but according to Julius Zaburas, who was the cordinator of this project and also curated the students during this campaign, students living in our country for 5 months (some even stay for 10 months or more) certainly want to assist the local community and give something back in return for the hospitality. „All of them are full of ideas, which we really want to make come true and in collaboration with other organizations (in this case „Mothers‘ Union) we can achieve so much“ – said Julius.
We hope that this is not the last project of ESN VGTU. Futher plans and ideas are being developed. We are very grateful for everyone, who organized and participated in „Casimir‘s Fair 2012“!!!
Donations collected throughout this campaign: 3220 Lt.
On 10th January Vilnius sections of ESN Lithuania wellcomed all ERASMUS students by organizing them a huge Welcome party. According to organizators, there should have been around 450 ERASMUS students from Vilnius, Vilnius Gediminas Technical and Mykolas Romeris universities, International School of Business and Law as well as mentors and their friends. The party took place in Pramogų Bankas, Vilnius.
The topic of the event was BLING BLING, so girls had to wear cocktail dresses while guys were in their suits and shirts. Despite the bad weather and Lithuanian cold, there were lots of people who prepared and shined all night long. The party lasted until 6 am.
This welcome party was one of the first events organized by several sections of ESN in Vilnius. After success like this there will certainly be more unforgettable events organized so follow the news!