The annual general meeting of the ESN took place in Granada this year, from Thursday the 22nd to Sunday the 25th of March. For most of the Dutch delegation, our journeys began on Wednesday, with stopovers in Madrid and Malaga, en route to the historic Andalucían capital city of Granada.
This year, ESN The Netherlands was represented by Joep van Agteren (ESN NL), Anne Bakker (ESN NL), Edwin Elbertse (ESN NL), Ties den Dekker (ESN NL), Anne Dullemeijer (ESN Utrecht), Anouk van der Veeken (ISN Amsterdam), Eline Braakman (ISN Amsterdam), Justine Kobus (ESN-VUniverse), Robert Broers (I*ESN Tilburg), Siraj Zubair (ESN Twente), Matthijs Eppinga (ESN Groningen), Danny Janssen (ESN Maastricht), Ingeborg Sanders (ESN Maastricht), Gaffar Rampage (ESN INHolland Rotterdam), Dennis van Erp (I*ESN Tilburg), Gijs Corten (ESN Utrecht), Dorien Dolman (IxESN Wageningen), Fé de Jonge (ESN Utrecht) and Sara Panis (ESN Wageningen). We were also joined by our alumnis Nick Broekema, Hendrik Schraa and Auke Booksma.
For many of us, flying in early meant an opportunity to soak in the sights and atmosphere of the beautiful city. With the Alhambra palace and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background, the landscape of the city was truly a sight to behold.
After checking in to our hotel rooms at various times in the afternoon, we finally convened at the Theatre Isabel La Catolica for the opening ceremony. The event was graced, among others, by the mayor of Granada, and set the tone for a fantastic weekend to come. That evening, the time had come for us to put on our bright orange sweaters! After a satisfying dinner, the Dutch contingent readied themselves for the traditional flag parade, bringing with us our Dutch flags and roaring voices, as we marched through the city, delighted to be part of the international ESN atmosphere. The night finished at the hilltop club El Camborio, with a magnificent night-time view of the castles of Alhambra.
On Friday morning, we were presented with the opportunity to promote our universities at the Info Market. The Dutch delegation had many gadgets and information brochures on offer, with the programmes by Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and Erasmus University Rotterdam being the most popular. At the same time, workshops were being conducted, with our very own national board members Joep van Agteren and Anne Bakker presenting a workshop on communication styles.
With the sun shining brightly in the afternoon, all of us had a picnic lunch on the university yard, enjoying the incredible Spanish weather. Soon it was time for our first plenary session, where the candidates for the international board were presented. Competition was tight, with three candidates each for the positions of President, Vice-President and Communication Manager, as well as two for Web Project Administrator and one for Treasurer.
After having a change of clothes and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we headed over to the Botellodromo for the legendary Eurodinner. Traditional Dutch snacks such as Gouda Cheese and Stroopwafels were offered to the rest of the participants, as well as Dutch liqueurs such as Jenever. With the each country offering a taste of their own national drinks, it was no wonder that spirits were high, and it didn’t take long before the dance floor was filled with enthusiastic revellers.
Saturday was a day filled with presentations, among which were from the candidate cities of next year’s international events. The location for AGM 2013 was fiercely contested, with candidates being Maribor, Milan and Vienna. The rest of the afternoon was laced with a serious undertone, with board reports and statute changes being presented and discussed, among other things. That evening, we were treated to an impressive Spanish horse show, with well-trained horses performing tricks. This was followed by a Spanish dinner, where we got to try local delights such as the famous Paella. The night then ended in true Spanish fashion, with salsa and flamenco dance performances.
The final, most important day of AGM Granada 2012 offered more presentations, beginning with partner presentations and reports on ESN projects. The board presented, among other things, the work that has been done for ESNcard.org, a website which will be launched later this year. It was then time for the financial reports and budget proposals. These were met with strong resistance from many representatives, including a sizeable Dutch delegation. Eventually, however, they were approved by a majority of the AGM.
Finally, the most exciting part of the AGM had come: elections for candidate cities and candidate board members. ESN The Netherlands would like to congratulate the successful candidates!
President: Emanuel Alfranseder (ESN Sweden)
Vice-President: Katharina Ma (ESN Austria)
Treasurer: Mario Alarcon (ESN Spain)
Communication Manager: Juan Colino (ESN Spain)
Web Project Administrator: Fabian Bircher (ESN Switzerland)
AGM 2013 – ESN Maribor (ESN Slovenia)
CND 2012 – ESN Örebro (ESN Sweden)
WEP 2012 – Rejected
Excitement and celebrations filled the air, as participants congratulated the new board members. There was also a slightly nostalgic feeling, as this signified the end of the annual meeting. However, we were not about to leave the city silently. The men dressed up in slick suits while the woman put on their beautiful dresses in preparation of the Gala Dinner. High spirits spread quickly throughout the dinner hall. After closing speeches by the OC and President of ESN International, the ESN STAR Awards were given out to sections with the best website, best project and best logo, among others.
As a final goodbye, we were treated to a farewell party in the beautiful club Granada 10. After an intensive 4-day programme, it was time to let loose and party hard. Of course, time always passes by fastest when you’re having fun. Before long, the first rays of sunlight had begun to shine. For most of the Dutch delegation, that had a flight home that same afternoon, it was time to pack our bags and leave. We had an a tremendously enjoyable time meeting and partying with the other ESN delegates, and safe to say this is one experience we will not be forgetting anytime soon!
by Gaffar Rampage
President, ESN INHolland Rotterdam