AEGEE-Bergamo: “We are working on hosting the biggest Agora ever”


The spring Ago­ra 2016 will take place in Berg­amo. The date is still under con­fir­ma­tion, but prob­a­bly it will take place in May. One of the great ben­e­fits of Ago­ra Berg­amo: the short dis­tance to one of Europe’s major air­ports. Main organ­is­er Pao­lo Ghisleni and AEGEE-Berg­amo Pres­i­dent Lisa Greg­is told the Gold­en Times: “The accom­mo­da­tion is lit­er­al­ly next to the air­port, just three kilo­me­ters from the plane.” That will be great news after the long trip that most par­tic­i­pants in Gijón had.

Paolo and Lisa
Pao­lo and Lisa

How do you feel about the news that your anten­na orga­nizes the spring Ago­ra 2016?
We are super excit­ed! How­ev­er, this rush of feel­ings has been put apart quick­ly since right after the announce­ment at Ago­rAs­turias we just wait­ed for our mem­bers to be back. We imme­di­ate­ly had the first Spring Ago­ra Berg­amo 2016 prepa­ra­tion meet­ing on the 6th of April! Prob­a­bly we are hav­ing a meet­ing even now that you are read­ing.

You already applied last year. How did you react when you did not get it then? Was it clear that you would try again?
We nev­er real­ly got dis­cour­aged since we always believed strong­ly in our Ago­ra project. Since the day after announce­ment that this autumn Ago­ra will be in Kiev, we start­ed to work again to make our appli­ca­tion even bet­ter! Now every­thing is defined and we can put all our ener­gies to cre­ate the best Ago­ra ever.

Agoras map
The dom­i­nance of the South con­tin­ues.

How big did you imag­ine your chances? After all, you had strong com­peti­tors and the last Ago­ra in Italy was just one year ago…
We nev­er thought that the fact that the pre­vi­ous Ago­ra was in Italy could have been a prob­lem, as well as we nev­er got scared from the oth­er big com­peti­tors that we had. Why? Because we pre­pared a very detailed project with all the loca­tions and trans­ports defined, a real amaz­ing social pro­gramme and the bud­get ful­ly cov­ered. Our chances were very high also because our city is the biggest hub on the con­ti­nen­tal Europe of the most impor­tant low cost air­line com­pa­ny; it’s the third biggest air­port for num­ber of pas­sen­gers in Italy — and the 2nd and the 4th are clos­er to here, in Milan. So every­one can join eas­i­ly. If they want, it’s pos­si­ble to arrive even by bike since we are on the Euro­pean bicy­cle route 7 – EuroV­elo — that cross­es all over Europe, from north to south!

AEGEE-Berg­amo is look­ing for­ward to wel­come you!

Did you have to put a lot of work in the new appli­ca­tion or could you just recy­cle last year‘s?
We had to change it because 2015 was the EXPO year that was tak­ing places at few kilo­me­ters from Berg­amo. We adapt­ed our bud­get and loca­tions, keep­ing in mind that a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the EXPO wasn’t any­more pos­si­ble. At the end we had six more months to work on it and with that time we planned even more amaz­ing things.

The last Ago­ra in Italy was the spec­tac­u­lar Ago­ra in Cagliari last autumn

What did you learn in Cagliari and Oviedo? Any good ideas or inspi­ra­tions? Also Bur­gos had a spec­tac­u­lar orga­ni­za­tion…
We had such great times at the last statu­to­ry events, and we believe there is a plen­ty of best prac­tices to learn from them. Prob­a­bly it would be too long to list all the lessons we have been not­ing over the last months, but for sure we want to give the same won­der­ful feel­ing that the orga­niz­ers of the pre­vi­ous Ago­ras were able to do: 100% AEGEE Spir­it dis­tilled!

How many peo­ple can you host?
We have planned an Ago­ra for 1000 peo­ple at the moment. But, in case we’ll have so many appli­ca­tions as we expect, we are work­ing to have enough sleep­ing and ple­nar­ies place to host the poten­tial­ly biggest Ago­ra ever!

2014 SU Bergamo
The famous SU beds in Berg­amo 2014

That would be more than 1150 peo­ple… By the way, your anten­na became famous last year for host­ing SU par­tic­i­pants in beds in a gym. Will we also get beds like that for the Ago­ra?
Haha, unfor­tu­nate­ly not, but we’ll have oth­er sur­pris­es ready for the sleep­ing area: every par­tic­i­pant will have an eye to the sky and the beau­ty of the uni­verse. Can’t say more! But of course this sum­mer we’re going to have still beds for all the par­tic­i­pants at our sec­ond edi­tion of the Sum­mer Games: more Sun, Fun and Sport than ever!

Ryanair wikipedia Arpingstone
Ryanair has many cheap flights to Berg­amo. Source: Wikipedia, Arp­ing­stone

What about uni­ver­si­ty build­ing, oth­er loca­tions and logis­tics in gen­er­al? Will it be an Ago­ra of long dis­tances?
The accom­mo­da­tion facil­i­ty is lit­er­al­ly next to the Berg­amo air­port, just 10 min­utes by bus from it or, if you like to walk, just three kilo­me­ters from the plane. We could have done bet­ter only if we would have slept inside the air­port. By now we can choose between dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, so it’s up to us to decide which is the right one in order to offer the best expe­ri­ence to our guests. We par­tic­i­pat­ed to many Ago­rae, so we are pret­ty expe­ri­enced about what’s the more suit­able sit­u­a­tion for the dif­fer­ent types of par­tic­i­pants.

Bergamo Giorces Wikipedia
Berg­amo is beau­ti­ful. Soure: Giorces, Wikipedia

What about par­ty places? I guess you have some ideas…
We’ve real­ly a lot of ideas. We can tell you just one hint: pre­pare your swim­ming suit…

You need a lot of peo­ple for an Ago­ra. How big is your anten­na? Will you ask oth­er Ital­ians locals for sup­port like Cagliari?
The Ago­ra is an event that needs a lot of peo­ple. Our anten­na has 75 mem­bers, but we will ask for sure oth­er Ital­ian anten­nae to help us to make this event even big­ger. By now we received a lot of sup­port from them and many mem­bers are already will­ing to be helpers in Spring Ago­ra Berg­amo 2016.