During the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Spanish and Greek ESN sections were recognised for their great implementation of SocialErasmus.

The SocialErasmusSTAR Award had its first edition in 2015 to reward the best SocialErasmus activity. In 2016, the International SocialErasmus Team decided that the efforts of ESN SocialErasmus Coordinators should be recognised not only for the activities they organised, but also for the management and implementation of the Project considering the following criteria:

  • Have an official Local SocialErasmus Coordinator;
  • Keep the database of their Local SocialErasmus Coordinators up-to-date;
  • Date and moment of the activity proposed;
  • Quality of the SocialErasmus activity proposed;
  • Registration of the SocialErasmus activities in all the available systems;
  • Cooperation with other ESN sections;
  • Media coverage of the activity;
  • Promotion materials created before and after the event following the SocialErasmus visual identity;
  • Photo coverage using ESN and SocialErasmus logos and flags;
  • Respect for the ESN corporate identity.

Being well-known by organising "Erasmus in Schools" activities under the SocialErasmus framework, Spanish ESN sections got an amazing score of 99/100 points by implementing SocialErasmus in a great way and upgrading the event to "Erasmus in School Camp", that took place from the 1st to the 3rd of April:

"Erasmus in Schools (EiS) Camp is an initiative by ESN Spain aiming to become one more step in the implementation of the Erasmus in Schools activity. It basically consists in 3 days of camping in a pure international atmosphere helping 70 children to practice English, to get to know different cultures, through international activities and games such as cooking and languages lessons. We organised EiS activities, day trips, and much more. Everyone had fun while opening their mind to new experiences. Also Erasmus+ students experienced the very essence of the project by teaching the children their typical meal, their favorite song and the most amazing legend from their home country as you can see in our webpage, Twitter and Facebook page.

The Organising Committee was composed of 8 ESN members from different ESN Spain sections, all of them officially qualified as counselors, and supported by 8 international students (from USA, Australia, Guatemala, India, Japan, Turkey and Lithuania) doing Erasmus+ in 7 different Spanish cities (Catellón, Cádiz, Valladolid, Madrid, Valencia, Extremadura and Barcelona). They were selected through an open call launched and promoted by all the Spanish ESN sections among their exchange students. One member of ESN Portugal (elected by their National Board) was also present. Erasmus+ students had the opportunity to not only participate in the event but also to get involved from the very beginning of the project by having preparatory Skype calls and exchanging emails. This made them take on responsibilities, contributing with their own ideas and perspectives and enriching the event even more."

Eric Carmona, National Project Manager from ESN Spain, says that "This Award is the second prize that we can receive. The first one is the smile on children's face. Winning this Award is the recognition of all the hard work during the year."

 

"Animals" is one of the SocialErasmus causes that volunteers care about and it was with the "Animal Welfare" activity, organised in November 22, 2015 and in January 23, 2016, that Greek ESN sections got 90/100 points:

"As animal abuse and abandonment are on the rise in Greece, we felt the need to create an event that promotes positive and healthy behavior towards animals by raising awareness over the issue.
In order to achieve this we visited an animal welfare organisation and spent the day with the abandoned dogs. We walked them, played with them and discussed with the volunteers of the organisation regarding proper behavior towards animals.
Moreover, we helped them with their daily processes, like cleaning up or feeding the animals. We also gathered dog food and money that we donated together at the animal welfare organisation as it works on a voluntary basis without any public grants. Many students bought volunteer T-shirts, thus helping even more, while there was also a dog adoption! 
With this event we believe we have helped a lot the voluntary work of the animal welfare organisation, as well as offered the Erasmus students a chance to get informed towards the issue of animal mistreatment and how they can face it.
Since this event is a great success, with many participants and everyone keeps asking that we visit the place again, we have decided to organise it regularly."

 

On the third place, a group of Greek ESN sections got 83/100 points, with the event "A Concert to Unite by ESN Thessaloniki" that was organised in December 2, 2015, :

"Since Greece is in the vanguard of the refugee crisis & the economic crisis, we got actively involved in creating activities to support the actions of the local NGOs. During our activities (volunteering in refugee camps at the Greek borders together with international students & helping every week to organise the warehouses of the NGOs) we realized the urge for specific goods from the NGOs in order for them to keep providing their services. So we came up with the idea of organising a big concert with famous local bands so we can collect money and goods for the local NGOs with whom we co-operated those months. Also, a concert is an event open to everyone, a popular way to get your cause known across the city and collect as many goods as possible. This allows us to actively contribute to the local community. So we organised "A concert to unite" where instead of an entrance fee, the visitors were donating goods and money for the NGO "Arsis", "Oikopolis" and the "Melissa" orphanage.  We promoted our concert and our goal with posters. Also, we posted on the concert's Facebook event infographics with the goods we needed. The concert was really successful and we managed to collect a lot of goods and money for the organisations. In the following week (10/12/2015) we organized the activity "Handing out Smiles" where we invited all of the international students who came at the concert to join us and distibute the collected goods and money to the local NGOs. International students help us transfer all of the donations to their recipients, met the people of the NGOs and helped them store the goods."

Congratulations to the winners of these three SocialErasmusSTAR Awards!

Besides of these recognitions, the International SocialErasmus Team would like to express its sincere gratitude for the wonderful work done by all the National and Local SocialErasmus Coordinators during this year. We have received 36 amazing SocialErasmusSTAR applications and reading all of them was extremely rewarding for us. We are so proud of all the ESN volunteers who put their heart and soul in the Project, that words and awards are not enough to recognise their work.

Thank you for leaving your mark with SocialErasmus! Thank you for making everything so worhty!