News of AOUG Europe
Our Europe Newsletter, which is published three times a year, continues to be well received by our members. With the enormous diversity of our Open University degrees it is a difficult situation to satisfy all of our readers all the time, but we have covered a wide range of subjects and always welcome contributions from members. As we have AOUG members living in eighteen different European countries, our members can give us a wonderful insight into how they live and what their interests are. Contributors have come from as far away as Iceland, Malta, Spain and France and along with their writings, the photographs bring everything to life. We send the Newsletter out by e-mail attachment in order to keep the costs down for the Association. However, we appreciate that not all members have e-mail facilities, and for those few, in Europe only, the Newsletter is sent by post. In the UK members are able to provide a postage stamp but as we are dealing with different countries the variety of stamps are not compatible with another country’s system.
The Association’s AGM and Social Weekend for 2015 was held at the excellent Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon, North Wales and two members from Europe attended and enjoyed meeting up with members from the UK. There is always something that an Open University graduate can talk about with another graduate so friendships are soon made. In true British tradition it rained, but that did not dampen our spirits and the excellent outings which had been arranged were enjoyed by all. We took a train ride up to the summit of Snowdon but unfortunately the weather was such, that not much could be seen. It was interesting however to see a few hill walkers out in such conditions and the sight of sheep huddled under stone walls were like looking at an old master painting. Fortunately the visit to the National Slate Museum was without the rain and also it was indoors so the bus ride there and back gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful country side.
The Degree Ceremony Season is in full swing but unfortunately for those graduates in Europe, the Ceremony at Versailles in France will no longer take place. Costs as always were the deciding factor, especially when you consider how many Degree Ceremonies there are in the UK for all mainland European graduates to choose from.
The next important event for AOUG is the annual Foundation for Education Awards and Lecture which will take place at The Open University at Milton Keynes on Friday 2nd October. The subject of the lecture is ‘Neurolaw – heralding a new era for law or a damp squib?’ given by Paul Catley, Head of The Open University Law School. Tickets (£10) can be obtained from the AOUG Office AOUG@open.ac.uk and includes the full or part day events and a buffet lunch.
AOUG have resisted the use of social media for a long time, due to concerns over the possible content and the time involved for monitoring. However now there are more opportunities for pre-setting controls with ‘Corporate’ rather than personal sites, safeguards are much greater. Since this is the favoured method of communication for many people in today’s world, AOUG must move with the times.
Thus recently our Treasurer set up a Corporate Facebook page and our Chairman launched a Corporate Twitter account. Both are open to members and non-members and are monitored by the Officers. The intention is to raise the profile of AOUG among people who might otherwise not have heard of us, as well as enabling any OU graduates to study our website with a view to encouraging them to join our organisation. In order for this to happen, the social media interactions must first be pitched appropriately but it is even more important that our own website be completely up to date at all times and be interesting enough to inspire them to join up. Once people have joined we need to ensure that all communications inspire them to keep involved with AOUG.
There are now several electronic opportunities to engage directly with AOUG:
- The AOUG website aoug.org.uk managed by our Publicity Officer.
- Corporate Facebook – this can be found through your own Facebook account if you have one and typing in Association of Open University Graduates or, if you do not yet have a Facebook account, your direct link is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Association-of-Open-University-Graduates/710287149081499.
- Corporate Twitter – you can view the Twitter page by going to https://twitter.com/TheAOUG without the need for an account, or once you have your own Twitter account you can find us on @TheAOUG.
Members of AOUG in Europe live in eighteen different countries so the opportunity to enjoy regular events is replaced by an occasional weekend event. So far we have met up in Bayeux in France, Bruges in Belgium, meeting up with members from Yorkshire, also a day in Amsterdam, once again meeting up with members from Yorkshire and a weekend in Rouen France. In order to compensate for the vast distances between Europe members, a regular Newsletter keeps us in touch. The last four Newsletters have covered a variety of articles from, where we live, books, coin collecting, the AOUG Journal, history and the latest AOUG News.