first initiative: Portugal 1990

Organizing the E.M.L.A.S.

The organization of the E.M.L.A.S. was an initiative of the A.P.E.A.P. Directive Board. Some more members became associated, thus forming a working group which participated in the organization, as well as members from national and international students associations and from associations concerned with nature protection.

In a field where the previous association was practically non existant and without any previous personal contact, the invitation was coming from a country and an association that was practically unknown. This way, it was absolutely necessary to offer the most inviting conditions, in order to make the participation in the E.M.L.A.S. somewhat interesting, mainly for the East side guests.

So the organization took the commitment of being responsable for the board and full accomodation of the participants, a commitment that was accomplished beyond our expectations.

Initially the project catered for only 20 foreign participants for a fortnight.

As the process developed, a more interesting commitment situation between duration/number of participants was achieved. It was more interesting, for it allowed a larger number of collective activities. We settled then on 40 participants for 8 days. On the other hand it seemed fundamental to raise the number of representatives in order to assure the effective prosecution of the European Meeting purpose.

This way, we got to the European Meeting of Landscape Architectural Students with 80 foreign participants for a duration of 10 days.

The activities in Lisbon and Évora were thought together, prepared in seperate groups, and lastly executed by all.

What really always emerged as a problem with these activities was the financial support. The point organizing got lost, with small significance, within the question to support the organization of.

In fact, most of the E.M.L.A.S. expenses were covered by the services offered by both schools and Oeiras’ and Évora’s Town Halls.

The only financial support came from Eugénio de Almeida Foundation, from Évora. All the other expenses were covered with publicitary sponsoring, with the organizers’ own money, or are still outstanding.

However, it doesn’t mean the European Meeting was an expensive activity, it wasn’t in fact.

The way it was conceived and the economic way it had to be developed made the final budget of the European Meeting quite modest, taking into consideration the scale it achieved.

Obtaining publicitary sponsoring in Portugal proved to be a hard task to someone working in a field that does not support any big industry, which rather often goes against big economic interests. More so, facing such a specific theme, as it is a discussion of associativism in our field, with such an economically limited public as the university students.

Only with an insistant action in all directions it was possible to raise a reasonable amount, preceeding from an unreasonable number of sponsors… The result of an absolutely unacceptable number of personal approaches.

The disproportion of the effort made to assure the minimum funds to make possible the realization of this project, reflected in a negative way on the organization of the activities leading to the prosecution of the main aims of this meeting.

Only the good will and pawning of our guests allowed to get so far in the proposed discussion, since the organization was not given the necessary conditions to be able to concentrate in its primordial mission – to guide, coordinate and sensibilize to the associativism question a group of people to whom this subject was more or less unknown.

It was unanimous the recognition of the oppertunity and importance of the discussion APEAP initiated, the recognition revealed in the guests enthusiastic participation as well in the supportive attitude of several institutions, even those were the less supposed to be the first to do it.