Here is the Section in the Spotlight for April - ESN en UV! Let's get to know the biggest section in Valencia and its fantastic initiatives.
ESN en UV was founded in 2011 by five members, and here they are today with 80 active volunteers. With the motto “there is strength in unity”, they work tirelessly together with their neighbours ESN Valencia UPV and ESN UCV to promote their Mediterranean city full of magic and ensure an amazing mobility experience for incoming students and trainees.
When you look at their event calendar you will see that they are busy as a bee but it is certain that they have fun at the same time. They organise many activities, ranging from parties to sports events, from trips to social responsibility projects and many more. Alongside their fixed calendar (different theme parties and International Dinner every other Tuesday, beer pong on Wednesdays, cultural events every Sunday, and beach cleaning every month) they have organised various health and well-being activities such as surfing, running, zumba, volleyball, dodgeball (yes!), etc., plus some unique events such as soap making, zero waste tour, axe throwing (taking the necessary safety measures of course), and 8th of March Banner Workshop. When it comes to parties, the variety is large - they have Spring and Easter Parties, Traffic Light Party, their famous Meeting Points, and multiple Fallas Parties to celebrate the festival in Valencia with the well-known mascletà (a firework show during the day). But do they organise trips? Say no more! They arrange plenty of trips within the city and country, and they promote ESN Spain’s National Events as well. They even hosted the Evento Nacional: Valencia in October last year for the second time since 2019.
However, in ESN we do not only have fun and travel, and they know that very well. They are very good at implementing multiple principles of ESN (the so-called Causes) in their events. For example, they organised an Erasmus in Schools project on Christmas combining it with social inclusion by motivating local students to write Christmas letters to elderly people. Bringing up this subject, we should not forget their other inclusive initiatives such as LGBTQ+ friendly events (Rainbow Meeting Points), safe zones for both members of the community and women, and activities with refugees and elderly people held jointly with local associations.
On their superb Instagram page, besides the colourful memories from their events, ESN en UV often marks important days such as International Women’s Day, Transgender Day, Equal Pay Day, Day of Women and Girls in Science, Day of Persons with Disabilities, etc. It should be noted that their posts are in English, which also is proof of how inclusive they are, and through their communication they promote the responsible drinking campaign within the Responsible Party initiative.
The section has many local partners that can be found on their website, highlighting an interesting partnership with the tattoo studio Inkpulso within which they provide discounts for the Erasmus Memories tattoo collection so that the mobility people remember their experience for good.
But how do they cope with multitasking? Well, the answer is hidden in their comprehensive structure and volunteer management strategy. Every local board member of ESN en UV has their community. This helps with the division of tasks in the short term and preparing future board members in the long term. Additionally, they have groups for the different Causes, which is the reason for the diverse and rich activities the section organises. Yet, “ESNing” does not always mean working hard but also having fun and bonding with other volunteers. ESN en UV sustains their members' motivation by keeping their WhatsApp groups active and sending funny memes (who doesn't love that, right?). They hold local platforms to discuss their strategy but also regularly meet online with their buddy section in Italy - ESN Torino, which expands their members' network. They try to meet outside of ESN, particularly inviting newer members as well since this strengthens their internal communication.
ESN en UV is a pretty active section constantly trying to improve the experience of thousands of mobility students and trainees coming to their city every year and to organise impactful activities enriching society. They have learnt to never give up in the face of a challenge and always try to make progress. Their Communication Manager Rocco Gargiulo says, “ESN is like a place where you can make mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them. If you have an idea, we can do it, we can put the idea into reality.”
Written by Deniz Hızlı