Updated: Jun 9
From 16-19 March 2023, Coimbra welcomed the 36 attendees for the first event of the GenZ Votes Project. Traveling from 15 EU countries, students made their way to Portugal to finally meet their fellow adventurers in this project. After months of the selection process, video introductions, and online meetings, it was time to meet in person!
The goal for the 4 days of the launch event was to create and provide initial training for the youth squads, the teams which from Coimbra onwards will meet in every GenZ Votes event and be the engine of the project.
The attendees were thus divided into teams of 6 based on a mix of diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and video skills. The squads were also put to the first big test: during the event, each squad had to brainstorm, film, and edit engaging video content for their peers to be active European citizens.
The squads were up to the challenge, and during the event, they recorded and edited 42 videos on the following topics:
Good news about everyday civic engagement that goes unnoticed.
Historical or current events that show how young people’s involvement sparked societal change.
Useful rights that European citizens have and should be aware of.
Even more than Erasmus! Available EU opportunities and how to make youth voices heard at the EU level.
Culture and team building was at the center of the event: from engaging icebreakers to get to know each other, to group presentations on the 15 cultures represented under the title “A Day in the Life of a European”, to a dinner and fado concert, to getting lost on the streets of the historical university, Coimbra and the Portuguese culture offered the perfect setting for new friendships, engaging conversations and lot of laughs.
One of the participants who attended the event in Portugal defined thus his experience:
“I had an amazing time in Coimbra, got to know a lot of people from many different countries, and experienced the joy of working with an international team, who were all devoted to bringing out the best of ourselves and this program as well. It was exceptional to see so many students invested in the future of the European Union and the place young people have in it.”
You might think that preparing a video is effortless for digital natives, but there are a lot of skills in video making. For this reason, GenZ Votes foresees quality training for young people in all its events.
Thanks to a series of testimonials from youth activities and changemakers like Duarte Costa, Sofia Barbeiro, and Dinis de Oliveira, students were challenged on how to take action in their communities, be influencers also in small ways and think of the value of active citizenship starting from university years.
But the event also had learning by doing approach: after the attendees received fast training on video making from expert journalists, like Rui Caria and Iryna Shev, it was time to brainstorm video ideas, prepare storyboards and say: “Lights! Camera! Action!”.
During the last two days of the event, students walked around Coimbra's historical monuments, recording videos to show the power of youth activism.
"It was such a great experience! Very nice opportunity for networking, improving communication skills, and getting to know different cultures and people."
Check the videos prepared by young people for young people on the GenZ Votes social media:
We are grateful to all the participants coming from our Colleges for their commitment: 36 attendees -5 from Italy (2 from Rome, 2 from Catania, 1 from Torino), 3 from Romania (3 from Cluj-Napoca), 3 from Germany (3 from Bremen), 4 from Greece (4 from Thessaloniki), 3 from Belgium (1 from Louvain-la-Neuve, 2 from Brussels), 2 from Austria (2 from Vienna), 2 from Hungary (2 from Budapest), 5 from Spain (3 from Madrid, 1 from Caceres, 1 from Malaga), 2 from Ireland (2 from Dublin), 1 from Poland (1 from Warsaw), 1 from Sweden (1 from Stockholm), 1 from the Netherlands (1 from Amsterdam), 1 from France (1 from Toulouse), 1 from Luxembourg (1 from Luxembourg), and 2 from Portugal (1 from Coimbra, 1 from Lisbon).
Thank you also to Perrotis College and Convitto Nazionale Mario Cutelli for collaborating on this project! It was a pleasure to see the efforts of many months of preparation come to fruition in a successful first event!
And thank you to everyone involved for making GenZ Votes Coimbra an enriching & outstanding experience from beginning to end!!
The Youth Squads will create more video content in Catania to increase youth civic engagement! Another 30 students will join them!! GenZ Votes is just getting started!!!