Last weekend saw the first Erasmus Student Network (ESN) national platform of the academic year take place in Southampton. ESN is an organisation helping students on Erasmus to settle in and have fun. It also promotes the scheme in universities and increasingly in schools and sixth forms too.
Most of the Southampton Erasmus society’s committee were present and there were also delegates from five other university societies (called sections within the ESN). In addition, a member of ESN International, Leo Smith, was there to explain exactly how the organisation works and to elucidate a couple of recent rule changes.
ESN was set up in 1989 and is now present in thirty-seven European countries, with more applying all the time.
ESN was set up in 1989 and is now present in thirty-seven European countries, with more applying all the time. However, ESN UK is currently one of the weakest national sections – prior to this weekend there wasn’t even a national board. One person, Frank Sondors, has been liaising between the individual ESN sections at UK universities and the international board. Consequently, an important part of the platform this weekend was to elect a national board.
Andreas Mathikolonis, the current President of ESN Southampton, was elected as President of ESN UK. Six others were elected to complete the committee, some from other UK ESN sections and some who were new to ESN. This board will be responsible for organising ESN events for multiple UK universities and some exciting plans are underway already – a trip to Thorpe Park has been proposed and next May they hope to stage an Erasmus music festival! It will be a day-long festival, hopefully featuring some big names, so keep an eye out!
There were also presentations from each existing ESN section, and new sections were voted in, which brought the number of UK universities involved in ESN up to thirteen. The upcoming events throughout Europe were also mentioned – there will be conferences in Sienna, Italy and Granada, Spain which committee members are already clamouring to attend.
It wasn’t all solemn and serious, there was lots of fun too – after the conference on Saturday there was a tour of Southampton on a retro ‘toast rack’ (open sided) bus, followed by dinner and a night out for everyone involved in the platform. It was a welcome opportunity for everyone to let their hair down after focusing hard all day!