Stefano Dal Farra for SUCT: “The Key to The Decision to Running is The Passion For Summer Universities”

“I got to know AEGEE almost more than one and a half year ago, and since then I’ve always felt like it was meant to happen”. In his own words, Stefano Dal Farra is a 23-year-old Italian AEGEE enthusiastic from AEGEE-Udine. He graduated in Cultural Mediation and after a sabbatical year, where he discovered new realities and started to work within the field of the Erasmus+ programme as a facilitator, trainer and group leader, now he is back in University for a master’s degree in European Studies. As it happened to many, he fell in love with Summer University and now he is running for a position in the Summer University Coordination Team, aiming to cover the task of Content Manager and Fundraiser.

1525041_792317034192067_943991457399963019_nThe AEGEEan: Why did you decide to run for a position in the Summer University Coordination team?

Stefano: I decided to participate in my first Summer University almost randomly. I left for the SU without knowing anything about this project, without even knowing how to pronounce AEGEE. Once back, I joined the SU of my local as a helper. I really liked the project that I felt like I had to give, I could and I should have given much more to the project, so I decided to become the main coordinator of the SU of my local for this year. In this year, I got to know all different aspects of this project, its strengths and its weaknesses, and I still feel like I can give much more to the project to make it better and to improve it. They key to this decision is the passion. The same passion that gave me the chance to bump into the project, the same passion that drove me to become helper and help my local with their SU, and the same passion that has pushed me for almost more that seven months, to drive once per month for almost more than 100 km from my city to Udine to organise an unforgettable SU for my participants, because I really wanted them to live their best summer of their lives. This is why I decided to run for a position this year in the SUCT.

The current team started a sort of Interest Group about Summer University (SUpporters) where people helped SUCT. Would you like to keep it alive?

Yes, of course. I think that external supporters, along with new and fresh ideas, and external help are essential for the project. The SU doesn’t just belong to SUCT or CD, but to everyone, and everyone should feel free to contribute to the project with their ideas and suggestions. As we say, the more, the merrier, but I would also add the better.11745690_850345181722585_2953140654361495331_n

What is your most relevant experience when it comes to Summer University?

I got involved in a SU in all the three possible ways: as a participant on the first time, as a helper on my second time, and this year as the main coordinator. I grew up inside of this project, getting to know it better and better, under every nuance and aspect. I have been to a SU living it in different ways, so I know what every position is about, what to expect or what to do. I attended this year SUPS in Catania, which also helped me a lot for my own SU.

How would you foster good communication/cooperation between locals and Working Groups, The Academy and Projects?

I would set a better and more intense communication with them in order to understand what they would like to do, and what they expect from SUCT, maybe through Skype call or in any other possible way. I would like to set with them some strategies in order to cooperate more closely for this project, underling the fact that the results of the SUs could also be seen and used as results for them.

How would encourage locals to bring more content in their SU? And how would you make participants understand that content is not necessarily boring?12038355_880730968684006_1111888831453714267_n

Content is actually of the things I am more concerned about. I got to understand how difficult it is nowadays to provide some content in the SU because it is seen as something boring and useless. I thought the same too, but when I became a trainer I changed my mind. I think that one of the reason for this is that not everybody is aware of the meaning of non-formal education and how it works. I would actually prepare some booklets or any other kind of material to make everybody understand how non-formal education works in the first place. I would like to take care of the main coordinators during the first months of the preparation, setting some Hangouts or personal Skype calls to discuss the objectives of their SUs, to understand what they would like to do, because sometimes people start thinking about the SU without having clearly in mind the message or the objectives that should be behind the project. Then I would give them some suggestions during this initial part about possible content. But most importantly, I would like that all the four areas of the working groups could become compulsory sessions during the SU, maybe for one hour or so, in order to give the possibility to every participant of getting to know what are the focus and the topics AEGEE cares about these days, and then for each session they could do something realistic that can be sent to SUCT as proof that they did it, as well as new and fresh material for the working groups.

In the application process we often see that certain locals are very popular, while others struggle even to find participants and (in extreme cases) are forced to cancel the Summer University. What are your thoughts on that? Do you have any idea to try to level this phenomenon?

I think that this is because people think too much about the destination and not about the content of the SU. I would try to help these locals promoting their SU as much as possible underlining the good aspects of it. Sometimes the local itself is to blame for not being able to promote its SU in the right way, and maybe with some suggestions and little help, things could be different.

Your application is very focused on content, yet you are applying as Fundraiser, task that is not mentioned in your program. Do you have any idea on how to develop a fundraising strategy for SUs?

First of all, I would help locals to develop their techniques of fundraising giving them some suggestions and tips. Sometimes they just don’t know where to start or they don’t have any idea, but maybe they just haven’t thought about other possible ways to fundraise.

13935177_1061568777266890_9020909694647630092_nDo you have previous experience in fundraising for associations? As Main Organiser of SU in Udine, did you use some sort of fundraising strategy (i.e. for goods, gadgets, funds or grants)?

We decided to fundraise by contacting all the associations and organisations in the region that could help with food or drinks. There were some people who had contacts with some associations and we were able to fundraise a lot last year. I fundraised for some Erasmus+ projects where we needed to have some sponsor for food and gadgets.

You can read his full candidature here.

Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Verona