AEGEE-Pisa proves that with only a dozen of active members, you can indeed organise great events. They have weekly activities, and for the second time in a row, they have organised their landmark event: C’mon Pisa, Light My Fire. This event takes place during Luminara; one of the most spectacular and beautiful events in Pisa that has taken place annually since the 17th century, in order to honour Saint Ranieri of Pisa. In short, AEGEE-Pisa definitely looms large: this local proves that Pisa can be very proud of something other than its leaning tower. Here follows our interview with Niccolò Berni, president of AEGEE-Pisa.
The AEGEEan: Could you introduce your local to all of our readers?
Niccolò: AEGEE-Pisa, turning 15 years old in 2017, has been a stable reality for many Erasmus and international students during these years, by organising our weekly Aperitif, bus trips and activities like Pub Crawls or Botellons. We usually have ten to fifteen active members and even though we had big shifts during the last years, we always ended up with a enthusiastic group of new members. These numbers allowed us to be quite active with at least one local event per week and by organising LTCs and international events such as the ‘Luminara’.
What are the most important qualities of your board that you would like to share with the rest of your local?
Despite the fact that the current board has been elected just ten days ago and many of the members are completely new to the roles, they all seem to be ready to face every challenge that we will find along the way. But, most importantly, they always seem to be happy to meet and work with each other. This good mood is actually shown by all of the members.
What were the most significant events that AEGEE-Pisa organised last year?
One of the most significant events was our LTC in November: it was organised in order to prepare the members to organise events and to work in teams. It was also an occasion to meet our newly elected NetCommie, Lisa, as a trainer. About our activities for Erasmus and international students, I have to mention the bus trip to the Carnival of Venice and to the euro-chocolate of Perugia; but also the Halloween Pub Crawl, they all received quite positive feedback.
Could you tell us something about your landmark event: ‘C’mon Pisa, Light My Fire’ for Luminara?
We organised the event on the occasion of the main festivity of Pisa, the Luminara. On the night of the 16th of June, 100,000 little candles were lit on the windows of the buildings along the river Arno and, from little ships on the water, fireworks were fired. The night continued with parties on many squares and in clubs. The whole event lasted for six days, which was also an occasion for visiting a good part of Tuscany, because Lucca, Firenze and the seaside were also included in the programme. The aim was to let the participants feel how we live in the city, they had the opportunity to try the local food and drinks and we wanted to show them the typical places where we like to gather. As one third of the population consists of students, the city has an active nightlife.
What, specifically, was so important about this event?
For us organisers, the most important were the participants. During the preparation, we focused on them and we tried to fill the programme with the most various and fun activities, in order to let them leave with special memories from the event. From the point-of-view of the board, it was also an occasion for new members to be trained by helping at this logistically complicated event; and, because for some of them it was also their first event, it gave them a lot of motivation to become more active.
Are you going to organise similar events in the coming year?
We are going to organise the event itself again; this year for the third time. The tradition wants that, every year, we use the same name for the event, to both highlight that we are not organising it for the first time and to give an immediate positive feedback to the people who are thinking about applying. It means that for the year 2016/2017, the name of the event will be “C’mon Pisa, Light My Fire – Vol. III”, and we can’t wait to meet our new participants coming from all over Europe. In addition, according to our annual plan we want to organise similar events based on exchanges with other antennae. We are working on that, and probably we will finalise one of them in the winter season.
Written by Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen