Member of the Month: Erika Bettin, from Ängelholm to Spritz

This month the member selected for the MoM (Member of the Month) award was Erika Bettin, member of AEGEE-Venezia, for her outstanding activities over the last month. From the Election Observation Mission in Ukraine to the interim mandate as Editor-in-Chief of The AEGEEan, check out some curiosities regarding this vulcanic member!

Alfredo: Erika, you have been awarded MoM! How does it feel?

Erika: It was strange, honestly. It was strange to write my own name in the nominees list (as EiC ad Interim, Erika was collecting all the nominations ed.) and it was even more strange to remind people that they were supposed to vote. I am proud, embarassed and happy. Being the editor of the People section and journalist myself, I edited and interviewed many past award recipients and they always had done something remarkable. I’m just doing the job I applied for and it feels very good to see people believing in what I’ve done so far.

Why have you been nominated?

The nomination sums up the activities I have done in the past 40 days or so: I have been in the team taking part in the Election Observation Mission in Ukraine, I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Key to Europe, my term as Editor-in-Chief ad interim in The AEGEEan and the OSCE/ODIHR Youth Forum in Warsaw. But I wasn’t alone in the ride, I always had a team backing me. Regarding Key to Europe, Svenja van der Tol (AEGEE-Nijmegen) is a marvellous Co-Editor-in-Chief. Without her, the process of creating such a publication wouldn’t have been so smooth. We are building a solid and sarcastic relationship, telling each other the truth as it is.

The OSCE/ODIHR 2014 Youth Forum in Warsaw was definitely Ermanno Napolitano (AEGEE-Milano)’s fault [she laughs]. Despite my initial doubts, he was right in saying I would not regret. Spending three intense days with people involved in different stages of the youth political scene was very enriching. Clearly the mission in Ukraine was not only a personal achievement, but a lot of people were involved and worked hard to make it happened. Thomas Leszke (AEGEE-Köln), coordinated the mission, Alla Resheten (AEGEE-Kyïv) helped with the Ukranian bureaucracy, Ermanno organised the meeting with the OSCE observers and AEGEE-Kyïv showed  me one more time (as if it was necessary) how a local can be proactive and full of resources.

Last but, for sure, not least I want to mention The AEGEEan team that worked very hard in this month. Thanks to the journalists and proofreaders, we delivered a lot of articles and we were able to involve externals to write for us too.

What did it make so special?

“You are doing a great job, you deserved it”. This sentence made it special. For the past months a lot of people said that, but I’m very skeptical in receiving compliments. It’s special because it marks seven incredible months of my life in AEGEE and it spurs me to work harder in the months to follow. It is even more special because this month, both Local of the Month and Member of the Month are coming from the same area: the Rainbow area (Italian speaking locals, AEGEE-Valletta and the Contact of AEGEE-Europe in Lugano). I am always getting a little bit emotional when it comes to my region, because indeed we are as crazy as horses, but we are living this sort of renaissance, thanks also to the brilliant job of Mattia Abis (AEGEE-Cagliari, Network Commissioner).

 Now that you are Member of the month, what’s your special message to the world?

I always dreamt to give an Oscar acceptance speech. Let’s face the truth, if Leonardo DiCaprio has not been awarded yet, I highly doubt I can win one. So, I would like to use this interview to thank Lisa Gregis (AEGEE-Bergamo) and she knows why, Luis Alvarado Martínez (President of AEGEE-Europe) for adding all my missing S, Alfredo Sellitti (AEGEE-Salerno/Bologna) for the lovely questions, my mother for constantly reminding me I need to get a life, my non AEGEEan friends who still believe I’m in a sort of nerdish secret sect, hashtags that makes my life more interesting, Cleto (my laptop) for being always on my side and all the people I bothered with mails and reminders for not having sued me for harassment (yet).

Ok, now some more questions for those who still don’t know you:

* What was the name of your favourite puppet when you were a child? (assuming you have been a child too)

Indeed I was I child and I still have my teddy bear, Lulù. Now he is 21 years old, as it was a gift from aunt Chiara when my sister was born. The poor guy is squinter, his left arm (where I was holding him while carrying all around) has been sewed up probably seven times and he is missing half of the fur on his nose because, apparently, I was convinced fur would grow again. I was wrong.

* How many times have you said “I hate you”?

On Mondays “I hate you” is the phrase I use the most due to the misanthropy that affects me at the beginning of the week. But in general, hate is a negative and strong emotion and, despite my tendency to complain a lot, I do not feel it very often. The true, felt, angry “I hate you” came out of my mouth only three times.

* Where was the furthest place from home you ever visited? And the one where you felt home?

The northernmost point I ever reached is Ängelholm (Sweden), the southernmost is Malta, the westernmost is Cabo da Roca (Portugal) and the easternmost is Kyïv (Ukraine). The one I felt home was Coimbra in Portugal where I spent my Erasmus. Call me romantic but, I have to find a spot I can call home in every country or city I go. It is not always easy, especially if you don’t have time to visit the place, but I tend to establish a routine to help with my homesickness.

* Where did you eat your best pizza?

Pizza is pizza. I can tell only where I don’t eat it: outside my country. If it happens, it’s always the last resort: or starvation or pizza. I made this decision ten years ago during a one-month exchange in Brussels when I saw pineapples on the pizza. Three heart attacks later, I order a salad and I vowed: never again.

* What’s your favourite recipe?

One part of Prosecco, one part of Aperol, one part of sparkling water served on the rock with a slice of orange and an olive. This is the recipe of spritz, a cocktail that is served as an aperitif in my region. It’s a must try.

Written by Alfredo Sellitti, AEGEE-Salerno