More professional, experienced and passionate than ever members of entire ESN Lithuania have met this weekend already for the 21st time. Event was organized by ESN Vilnius University from 26th to 28th of September and invited for already (3!) days NP hosted in Vilnius City Municipality. Event was opened by the council of presidents in the afternoon of Friday. Beginning of the implementation of Erasmus in Schools was announced and future long term strategy of ESN Lithuania was discussed within representatives from 13 HEIs of Lithuania.
Following day nearly 100 participants from 13 sections as well as 1 candidate ESN VDK were sharing their best practices of the recent half of the year. Updates of international events as CNR Porto 2014, BEST4 (together with international guest from ESN Switzerland), IT Summer Training were given and most important ongoing projects of the network were presented as Mov’in Europe, HANUL and ESN TEAM hoping to involve many more Lithuanian ESNers.
Sunday invited sections to express their opinions while voting for the suggested changes. Starting from this weekend one place per national committee will be always ensured in the NP. Along with already established PuRe Committee it was decided to start working on structuring totally new Grants Committee. Moreover decision for the upcoming CND Vilnius 2014 was already made to delegate Karolis Kriuka (ESN VMU) as National Delegate and Gintė Skersytė (ESN SMK) as vice-National Delegate of the country. Ramūnas Adamonis (ESN VGTU) was approved as National Coordinator for Multilingual Lithuania.
Some more minutes were dedicated to the National Board which ends its term on the 1st of October. After goodbye speeches National Representative Simona Patašiūtė, Communication Manager Sandra Baltkojytė and Partnership Manager Simas Ivanauskas have finished their already 2-3 years long lasting work within ESN Lithuania.
All the weekend was dedicated to 25th ESN Anniversary and contained lots of activities for upcoming social media campaigns. Participants for once more were encouraged to join the ThunderClap action, participate in activities, organized by PuRe Committee. Results coming on Octeber 16th, the 25th birthday of Erasmus Student Network.
The biggest and the first ever section of ESN Lithuania has just celebrated their 10th anniversary. 10 years of helping exchange students, organizing already 3 NPs and raising many past and present members of the National Board. Every stage of this growth would not be possible without a leader behind. So today for a talk we invite Darija Kupstaitė – the president of the oldest section in Lithuania, ESN Vilnius University.
Hello, Darija! On Friday you just had 10th birthday of the section, how did it go?
Hello! Actually, it is hard to evaluate the whole event at the moment, we need some time to think and discuss about it. However, it was something big. We are very lucky being with ESN VU at this magical time. In general, everything went just the way we wanted (only the cake was a little bit too big). We talked about what ESN VU has achieved during 10 years period and we shared the greatest moments with our closest people around. Of course, we were surprised by the amount of presents we got, our buddy section even created a video! On behalf of ESN VU – thank you ALL for being with us.
How would you evaluate your section at the moment? What are your strongest areas? What are you specifically proud of what your section does?
The section is waking up from a long winter sleep I could say. Sometimes it is very hard but we have lots of plans and we have a goal. We will not stop until we have done everything we can. That makes me feel that ESN VU is a strong section. It is not about the areas or actions we are strong in, it is about the people. People whose are motivated and have strong values. These people are our members and they are the ones I am mostly proud of!
How big is your section by members and how are the tasks shared within the team?
In total, we have more than 100 members. We have more than 80 mentors and more than 50 ESN’ers. Some of them have both names: mentor+ESN’er. Every semester we are getting bigger and bigger, more and more students want to join us. It might be a little bit difficult to understand how we are sharing our tasks, I should draw a table of the whole ESN VU structure. Basically, the board has the biggest responsibilities. We have different coordinators on the board who are responsible for their field (leisure, PR, travels and ect.). We also have Senior Mentors and some particular projects coordinators who are not on the board but also have huge responsibilities. For example, we have Erasmus in Schools, Enjoy Learning Languages, Multilingual projects coordinators. Even though we have our own responsibilities, we are helping each other and working as a team.
Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself, like, what is your ESN story?
I found out about ESN once my friend became a mentor. It was two years ago, in 2012 winter. After few months of communicating with exchange students I decided to become a mentor. I did not even realize that I can do more than take care of exchange students and actually I was not interested in anything else. During the first month of my mentorship, one of mentors asked for help, she was ill and I had to be an ambassador of Responsible Party instead of her for one time. However, I liked the project so much that I stayed there for the whole year. And that is how my ESN story started. I got to know “older” ESN’ers, some of them saw a potential in me and encouraged me to apply for a position on the board. I became a coordinator of leisure activities. Couple of months passed and I was elected as a vice president. It was in winter of 2013, so after one year of the first touch of ESN I was a vice president of ESN VU and a coordinator of leisure activities. Some more months passed and I became a president of the oldest section in Lithuania. I started my second year in ESN as a president of ESN VU and it still continues.
And maybe you can reveal your top 3 ESN experiences?
That is a very good question! It is very hard to mark out only 3 experiences... Well, I could list three experiences which thought me the most. The first one was definitely being one of the OC in organizing Bling Bling party last year. I was a newbie in ESN and already was chosen to organize the biggest event of the semester. It was really challenging as we knew nothing about such kind of even. The second one was CEP 2013. I thought I know what is travelling abroad with a group of people and how to handle difficult situations... It turned out that I knew nothing about that. The third huge experience was (and still is) becoming a president. I was used to be a leader of a team, however being a president is not only being a leader of a small team. President has to lead the whole organization, president is responsible for everything what is happening in the section and no matter how bad the day might be, president is the one who has to smile all the time.
How do you evaluate your career in the organization? Are there are any plans for your further ESN path?
Climbing the stairs of ESN career was so quick that sometimes I cannot even understand if it is really me who is doing all those things. One moment I was a scared student who was not sure if she will be chosen as a mentor and the other moment I am a president of the biggest section in Lithuania. It is really amazing and very challenging. I do not have any particular plans for ESN after my cadency in ESN VU ends. Maybe I will only be Alumni of ESN VU or maybe I will apply for the position in the National board… Who knows? What I know for sure is that I will do everything I can to finish my presidency successfully.
Anything else you would like to share with the network (likes, comments, thanks)?
ESN changes lives. It changed my life completely. I only wish to all the readers to feel the change that ESN brings!
Thank you very much Darija for your time and thoughts!
Little of present members of ESN Lithuania could remember National Platform without Vytenis Danyla. In the beginning – respectful Board member of the first Lithuanian ESN section – ESN Vilnius University, later recognized as organizer of many international and national projects, Responsible Party ambassador, who finally became Alumni and participated in NPs as a Chair for more than once. So it was not a big surprise for anyone when applications for the new Board were announced with Vytenis applying for the main position. Few weeks afterwards we can already call him Mr. President. About reasons, prospects, friends and hopes: interview with the newly elected ESN Lithuania President Vytenis Danyla.
Hello, Vytenis! Tell us, how does it feel those first weeks in the position?
Hi! First of all, my application for the position was a bit of surprise for majority of members, so don't lie :) Well first weeks were really busy. As you know, I also have some duties out of ESN, so basically my life consists of three things – work, ESN and sleep. Actually after the election the first thing I’ve thought about was „What have I done?“. This mind still comes time to time, but I'm happy that I've got really strong team and I believe that we will do more than anyone expects. First week after becoming president was really tough. I was happy and sad, determined and disappointed, hopeful and desperate. And all of these feelings came at the same time. Now, after some help from others ESN'ers I really feel great, I do believe in myself and in the bright future together with whole ESN Lithuania.
What have you already done as the President of the network in Lithuania?
Well… Almost nothing :) Sent two delegations to international events (NBM and CEP), participated in ESN Vilnius University board meeting, had a few meetings with the president of ESN Vilnius University Darija, had lunch with ESN Lithuania NR Simona and former HR coordinator Vydūnas, had a meeting with ESN VGTU president Kamilė and had dinner with ESN MRU Vilnius HR coordinator Laura. Of course not to mention constant meetings with former ESN Lithuania president Gintarė. And now I'm answering your questions :)
Let’s talk about dreams. If you would have enough money, time and power, what would be 3 things you would realize within ESN Lithunia?
First thing would be Eurotrip around the Europe with ESN Lithuania members while visiting as much ESN sections as possible (the route is already planned, hopefully it will come true some day). Second is creating a movie about ESN Lithuania and ESN international (probably during this trip). And third... I have never thought about that more. So far had only those two dreams.
And what are the plans for our future with the resources we have?
Plans are huge. Not sure if they are going to become true. Summer Camp 2014 in Lithuania with ESN members from the whole Europe. Unity of all ESN Lithuania sections. Publicity, so that as much people as possible would know ESN in Lithuania. And of course one very important question: AGM???
Are you happy with your colleagues in the National Board? What are your prospects towards them for this term?
No, they are terrible! Just kidding, I'm very happy to have a team like this, they are real professionals in their fields and I hope that we will make a great team. Unfortunately a lot of them are in their in-term positions till the next NP, but I hope that together we can do a lot more than anyone expects. They are awesome!
How much in your opinion ESN LT has changed during 3 recent years after National Board was established?
Actually it has changed a lot. It's structure, status, policy towards sections and members. However I believe that all of the changes help to move forward. I can see a lot of motivated members in sections. As the organization is growing I believe that members of it are the strongest than they have ever been. The only thing left to do is to make them one family and then no one would be able to stop us :)
What has changed that after all these years in ESN and already being a part of Alumni network you have decided to apply for the head position of the NB?
Nothing, except that now I believe that I'm ready to be in this position. There was a lot of pressure for me to apply for president position two years ago, the same story repeated last year. However I didn't believe that I was ready for that. It's a long story full of coincidences how I've decided to apply for president position this year. But the main thing is believing being ready to do that. ESN gave me a lot, now it's time to give something back.
What gives you motivation to work for ESN for so many years?
First of all, for me ESN is motivation itself. As I already mentioned, ESN gave me a lot. That's how it got inside my blood and heart. It is the biggest source of motivation for me.
Do you still remember your first year in ESN? How did it look like?
First year wasn't really special. I was just a mentor in ESN Vilnius University section. After the first semester of mentoring exchange students, there were people convincing me to go to the board of my section. However, I've refused and stayed as a mentor for one more semester. Of course my first year was full of various events, friends, exchange students... It was one big party. After that I've decided to join our local board and that's how my first year ended.
From local to international level during more than few years. Are you looking forward to your first international experience as representative of ESN LT?
I guess it will be 4 years this December. Well I had my first international experience already. It was Summer Camp'11 that took place here, in Lithuania. But of course I'm really excited and can't wait for my first experience as official representative of ESN Lithuania. Luckily it's not so long to wait until CND.
Anything else you would like to share with the network?
ESN is the best thing that happened in my life so far and I'm very happy that you all are a part of this. Becoming the President is a small step, but it can change a lot and hopefully it will do so :)
Thank you very much, Vyteni! Keep the motivation up and go for those two dreams!
During the last weekend of September (28-29th) National Platform of ESN Lithuania took place under the roof of Vilnius University. More than 15 hours of discussions and decisions resulted in getting to know each other better, gaining experience and ideas from other sections since 9 of them were participating, together with ESN LT Alumni, our candidate section ESN SMK and ESN LEU, which has just applied for candidate status. New members, ideas and suggestions, negotiations and problems solving – 2 days full of ESN Lithuania policy making.
28th of September
On Saturday after sections from Kaunas, Šiauliai and Klaipėda have reached the capital and people from Vilnius have gathered together National Representative Simona Patašiūtė together with CT Vytenis Danyla have opened the Platform with motivating speeches and inspiration for every single ESNer in Lithuania. Afterwards CEP and CND were presented together with opportunities to join them and gather some international experience there. Later on some local experiences were shared with the entire network while ESN VGTU representatives gave a presentation about Summer Camp’13, organized already for the 3rd time in ESN Lithuania history and probably not for the last one.
During the rest of the morning NP was listening to different kinds of reports and presentations given by ESN LT Alumni network, which have even prepared awards for every section for their best project of the recent period. Tomas Tamulevičius has shared his experience in Eduk8 seminar Trainings 4 Trainers, which has happened more than a month ago in Romania and motivated him to apply for the HRC position in the NB. National project coordinator Sandra Rimavičiūtė has presented previous and made an introduction to the present ESN Sea Battle stating clear that it is still one of the most successful ESN projects ever, always sold out within first hours. One more successful project of ESN was presented by the guest of our NP – Xrisa Soulele from ESN Greece, who has presented us SocialErasmus and Erasmus in Schools initiative in her home country.
After the lunch all the rest of the time was dedicated for the reports of the sections and their activities of the recent quarter: welcoming weeks were presented along with mentors activities, which are playing the main role during the first days of exchange students in Lithuania. Presentations were followed by the open discussion initiated by the CT where sections shared their thoughts about the work done by the colleagues. After closing it together with the first day of NP everyone was invited to meet up in the city centre for non-formal activities.
29th of September
Day for the decision making has finally come. After listening to 10 different reports, questions and comments one thing became clear, that NB 2012-2013 deserves one huge THANK YOU for the time they have invested with no return, for the skills for helping to improve ESN Lithuania, patience and comprehension, attempts to inspire volunteers of the network and to help them with going further – for all of it and much more NP expressed their gratitude for the President Gintarė Vaiginyte, National Representative Simona Patašiūtė, Public Relations Officer Sandra Baltkojytė, Project Coordinator Sandra Rimavičiūtė, Marketing Coordinator Simas Ivanauskas, IT Coordinator Laurynas Rašimas, SocialErasmus Coordinator Kristina Selezniova, Human Resources Coordinator Vydūnas Pakrijauskas, Sea Battle Coordinator Karolis Sakalauskas and last but not the least Responsible Party Coordinator Indrė Kasiliauskaitė.
Not only members of the latter NB gave their presentation, but also a special guest from our partner Scanbalt Experience has arrived to present himself and to discuss possibilities for future cooperation. After the last speech it was already the time to start voting for the new NB and other important matters.
After sections have expressed their will it came clear that the new Board for 2013-2014 goes as follows: President – Vytenis Danyla; NR – Simona Patašiūtė; HRC – Tomas Tamulevičius
PR Officer together with the Project Coordinator stay the same until the next National Platform.
On Friday afternoon, everyone is eager to forget all the hard work of the week and to experience the joy of spring. Some of us prefer going out of town, the others are searching for peace in the blossoming parks. However, on the 17th of May all of the 25 benches in
P. Cvirka square had notions saying “WARNING. FRESHLY PAINTED.” next to them. At the beginning, many passers-by were unsatisfied for they had to change their plans and search for another park to sit. After a moment, they saw a group of students, who were painting the benches with smiles and enthusiasm in their faces. Curiosity was unbearable and so people sat on stairs and lawn to observe the process, catching the positive vibes of students and gradually, starting to smile themselves. The bravest and most curious came closer and started asking for more information about the initiative they were witnessing.
Finally, it turned out that the benches were painted by volunteers from Erasmus Student Network Lithuania (ESN Lithuania): there were Lithuanians from Vilnius University, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University with the exchange program Erasmus students from USA, Croatia, Spain and Czech Republic as well as students of International School of Law and Business from India and Belarus. Many were surprised by the fact that students had no sponsors: all the money for benches renovation was gathered by previously mentioned high schools and University of Applied Social Sciences. The members of ESN in these institutions united to attain one goal: to motivate both Lithuanian and Erasmus students to collect white coins and prove that even students, who are just in the process of building their future careers, can be socially responsible. The members of ESN were happy with their job and emphasized, that it may only seem that it was very difficult to gather money for the renovation of 25 benches: a single white coin seems to be meaningless, but when people pool their coins, they unite and are able to make significant changes. The administration of “Vilnius Parks” were also pleased with students’ job and allowed ESN members to pain the logo of the organization on the renovated benches.
After painting all of the benches, students involved in the initiative were joking that P. Cvirka square will become their favourite park and an ‘own’ place in Vilnius.
National SocialErasmus coordinator says huge thanks to exchange students - Chris Stowell (USA), Marina Garić (Croatia), Jeník Janata (Czech Republic), Alejandro Aguilar (Spain), Himanshu Singh Rana (India), Barys Kliuchnikau (Belarus); also for Lithuanians - Kornelija Ramanauskaitė, Renata Citrinavičiūtė, Monika Draučiūnaitė, Justina Prunskaitė, Agnė Babelytė, Dainius Vasiliauskas
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.
Bringing the diversity in schools, sharing personal experience and stories and transferring the entire positive mood to Lithuanian high school students, was one of the aim of international students coming from Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey and Kosovo, who were the next working group of the project “Erasmus in Lithuanian Schools”. “Akademijos Gimnasium in Kedainai region was the next target point of the mentioned project which was already the 10th school visited by very productive, successful and cooperative international students enrolled at Vilnius University. Starting the preparation some days before and ending up with a very fruitful program and agenda made the visit produce very positive results and impressions.
A cold morning of 14th of March brought together 7 foreigners who were ready to share their own culture, language and personal skills with Lithuanian youth who were eagerly waiting to meet new people . Starting the day by singing and asking each other in Lithuanian “Kaip gyveni” (HOW ARE YOU), and responding very positively with “gerai” (GOOD), made the journey be more warm, interesting and exciting. A short welcome speech by the school director Liudas Tauginas and teacher’s staff members, accompanied by a short informative presentation about the school and artistic performance prepared by school students made the international visitors feel more comfortable and relaxed. After a short introduction and meeting, it was the time for splitting in smaller groups and starting a short cultural journey through games, stories, and songs. Divided in three groups (two Russian and one German speaking group), students of “Akademija Gimnasium were able to meet closer and get familiar with the cultural differences and diversity over the world. A friendship that lasted nearly three hours, helped Lithuanian students understand better the value and importance of tolerance, cooperation, diversity which may be better gained through higher university education. After a joint lunch offered by the school, Erasmus students were guided through the Kėdainiai city by being introduced to some of the most important historical buildings, museums etc.
Ending up with a warm goodbye words and expressing the gratitude for the visit, students of Akademija gymnasium got back to their working habit by hoping one day to be part of the greatest international diverse community called ERASMUS.
Report by Eddy Galjusi (Kosovo)
P.S. Song, mentioned in this article might be found on YouTube.
It is already the second semester that ESN Vilnius University organizes a charity of white cents which aim is to collect as many cents as possible and donate them for good purpose. The charitable initiative involves not only Lithuanian students, but also foreign students who willingly donate their coins. With this campaign ESN Vilnius University team wants to show that it is not so difficult to collect money for a charity - every time when a student throws a small coin of 1, 2 or 5 cents in a jar it does not seem much, bet when all students donate it turns into a very important and valuable deed.
During autumn semester when this charity was organized for the first time students donated 130 Litas which was sent to Public institution “OFM MAŽESNIEJI BROLIAI“ of Bernardinai social services centre. On February 13th six students brought gifts to the social centre and spent some time with children. They told some stories about their activity, played games and introduced children with some foreign languages. The most attention received a student from Slovakia and one of Ethiopian languages presented by another student.
ESN Vilnius University always searches for ways how to join different charities. One of the charities is collaboration with social project Pagalbadaiktasis.lt. During this event people gather their items that are not needed anymore: clothes, school supplies, kitchen equipment and etc. and leave them in special boxes that are in dormitories. According to the Pagalbadaiktais.lt manager Marija Šaraitė ESN Vilnius University students proved that even students who do not have much of their own can be socially responsible. Later items that are donated during this charity are given to those who need them most.
VU TSPMI student Kristina Selezniova, who is the national coordinator of SocialErasmus project, is happy that the generous act of ESN Vilnius University social committee has inspired other ESN sections in Lithuania to start organizing this charity. Money that will be gathered during this spring semester will be donated not only to the social centres, but also to the animal shelters and similar organizations.
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.