Group, Enthusiasm… and a bit of Improvisation: AEGEE-Reggio Calabria

You saw them on stage at the Spring Agora Enschede, signing the Convention d’Adhésion, waving their chili flag and happily smiling. Those were the guys from AEGEE-Reggio Calabria, a new part of the AEGEE family!

The AEGEEan will let you know this newborn contact better, through an interview with Andrea Cannuni, its president.

1. Andrea, how did you get the idea and what pushed you to establish this contact?

Some of us were already members of other AEGEE locals and had participated in a Summer University (SU). At the end of summer we had a dinner gathering, which also included the participation of a few other guys, proud of having had a different, but wonderful experience across Europe. Between one glass of wine and another, Alessandro from Reggio Calabria, whom I had met for the first time on that occasion, asked for a toast and shouted: “To our president!”, referring to me. It was after that meeting that we started talking about the idea of founding a new antenna in Reggio Calabria… In vino veritas!

2. How many members are there right now?

At the moment we are 15 members, but we hope to engage more through a campaign of promotion of our activities. I would like to describe each and everyone of them, but I will just mention the most active: Alessandro, Lorena, Andrea, Claudio and me, Andrea. I woud like to use this occasion to tell them how important they are and how much I trust them!

3. What was the biggest difficulty so far?

There is no such thing as a “perfect” time for creating a new local, but when you decide to establish a contact just a few months before the next Agora everything is harder! For example, we had very little time to ask for the required permission from our university, but they were impressible professionals and they gave us support since the first day. A bit more problematic was also to send all the required documents to the Comité Directeur (CD): sometimes they were misinterpreted and we felt like the CD didn’t trust us. Every day spent without an answer from the Internal Relations Director was horrible, but finally the good news arrived! Fortunately, our Network Commissioner (NetCommie) and the Juridical Commission supported us in a great way and we never lost our hopes.

 4. What kind of support did your NetCommie give you?

Matteo Scarpa is one of us! When I told him about our idea of creating a new local he was very enthusiastic and gave us all the procedural suggestions we needed. His voice was a relief for us and a shout for all bodies involved in the creation. Matteo always trusted us and never stopped believing that we could reach great results, and his thoughts were correct: we were invited by the CD to the Spring Agora, for the signing of the Convention d’Adhésion and we became Contact Antenna, AEGEE-Reggio Calabria.

5. What response do you believe you will get from the city? Is there any interest in Europe?

Reggio Calabria is an ancient city, but its university is very young and it believes in its students and their academic life. The idea for students to breathe a more European life, studying foreign languages and travelling to acquire new cultural knowledge and skills, is a concrete one.

 6. How are you promoting the association?

We extensively promoted the SU project recently, because we know that each member who will go out to his/her destination of choice will come back very active and this will be useful for the association’s life. It was quite hard, but we are the contact with the biggest number of SU outgoers, and we reached this result thanks to a good Working Group and to the care for our campaign.

7. Do you already have ideas for future events?

We sent a plan for the future activities to the Comité Directeur and it was approved. This plan is composed of all the events for one year and, of course, it is full of surprises. After the Agora, we are going to organise a one-day conference for Europe Day, in collaboration with the Action Agenda Coordination Team (ACT) and in September we plan to organize our first event, two-week long, in collaboration with the Environmental Working Group (EnWG). We believe in sustainability and we would like our city to develop projects for a greener future. And you should wait until next year for our first SU.

8. AEGEE-Reggio Calabria already existed in the past. Are you in contact with the “previous generation”?

When we had the idea to establish a new local in Reggio Calabria, we searched for existing contacts of AEGEE: We wanted to know our history and to discover the problems that brought the past antenna to stop its activities. We will try to contact them in order to exchange our experiences.

9. Name four reasons to come and get to know Reggio Calabria and its AEGEE crew!

 Whoever visits Reggio Calabria will:

  • find a united and open-minded group;
  • be welcomed with the typical sympathy of South Italy;
  • experience a city projected towards modernity, with a lot of culture, such as the famous Riace bronzes, which are statues from the Hellenic period;
  • enjoy the typical cuisine that will introduce every visitor to a rainbow of tastes.

10. Do you have any suggestions for people willing to establish a contact in their cities?

Anyone who decides to take this decision will meet several difficulties. The important thing is to find a motivated group, to share the same ideals, and to overcome adversities together.

Good luck, AEGEE-Reggio Calabria!

Written by Martina Zanero, AEGEE-Torino