Bergamo is maybe the most romantic small-sized city in Europe – and a place with a great AEGEE antenna. “Everyone in the world should visit Bergamo, because it surprises you every time!”, says Lisa Gregis (25), President of the Italian local and Network Subcommissioner. I fact, there are many occasions to find out how great the city is, because AEGEE-Bergamo organises a lot of activities.

Lisa Gregis
Lisa Gregis

Golden Times: Congratulations for becoming new president of AEGEE-Bergamo! You were Secretary and Cultural events responsible of your antenna in the past two years. What made you candidate for President now?
Lisa Gregis: Thank you! I think it has been a natural process after years and years of activism and passion toward AEGEE and in particular toward my antenna.

Your antenna became quite famous this year because of the SU beds in the gym… How did that happen? I’ve never seen a gym with beds…
Lisa: Yes, we are aware of the success we had, thanks to Golden Times as well. Simply the Municipality of Bergamo lent us some camp beds normally used during the elections, when the police is forced to stay and control the voting station during the night.

How did the participants think about them?
Lisa: Everybody was very enthusiastic about it. I think that the beds in a gym are the best solution because it’s great to stay all together with all the comfort of a bed.

I heard the beds only stayed in that nice position only for three days and then it started to get messy. What happened?
Lisa: The SU simply started: there was the mess caused by open suitcases and other stuff all around the floor, the unmade beds, the laziness caused by the sleeplessness and also the fact that we knew each others better… a lot!

SU Bergamo beds
The famous beds of SU Bergamo 2014

Are there more stories about your SU? I heard the municipality loves your antenna and supported you a lot…
Lisa: We worked very hard and year after year the Youth Policy Department of the Municipality of Bergamo acknowledged our efforts and the work done till now. They recognized us as an important association to deal with and they support us. We are very pleased with the results we achieved.

Let’s talk about your antenna: it’s one of the old ones of the network – when was it founded?
Lisa: We know about our antenna’s activities for the past ten years. Recently, we discovered that AEGEE-Bergamo existed years before, when we read in the SU booklet of 1990 that Bergamo was mentioned. As a president I would like to re-build our history from the beginning. We look like orphans: we don’t know when our birthday is and how old are we, actually. We would like to know who founded the antenna. If someone’s reading this interview and knows anything about it, please let us know!

How many members do you have now?
Lisa: Now we have about 70 members. AEGEE-Bergamo experienced a not very clear phase. Five years ago it was managed by the present generation. We were only five at the beginning, then it kept increasing of about 15 or 20 members a year.

Lisa Gregis SU Bergamo1
This year’s SU was very successful.

Is it hard to find members?
Lisa: It’s not difficult to find new members, but to make them operative in the team.

What is the typical member of your antenna: male/female, age, student/working, and what does he or she study?
Lisa: Our antenna is quite balanced, but in any case the most representative is the working male, aged 24-30, who studied economics or engineering.

What kind of typical regular local activities do you have in your antenna?
Lisa: We work a lot with Erasmus students. We help them in finding a house, with bureaucracy, with health issues, we organize cultural trips and parties: we are their tutor for everything. The International Department of the University of Bergamo counts on us and loves us. We created a tandem language web portal for the University, every Thursday we organize a linguistic Aperitivo and every Monday we promote “Original is Better”, an original language cinema festival in our city. We also participate in activities for the students associations organized by the University.

In May, AEGEE-Bergamo created a new project for the city of Bergamo, under the name of “Bergamo is Europe”. You are the project manager. What was the reason to create the project and what is it about?
Lisa: Bergamo candidated as European Capital of Culture 2019, but everybody knew that our city couldn’t win, especially in the way the candidacy was made. So I wrote this project with the aim to get the citizens used to relate themselves with younger people in everyday life. I see it as a project aiming to re-educate the city towards culture and young people

What will be the next international event of your antenna? Maybe a thematic event? Or rather a fun event?
Lisa: At the moment we can and we want to dream big dreams. We want to keep on the path of thematic events with a European perspective.

Lisa Gregis Zaragora
Lisa and her AEGEE-Bergamo members took peictures of many people at Agora Zaragoza.

Can you name three reasons why every AEGEE member should visit your city?
Lisa: Everyone in the world should visit Bergamo, because it surprises you every time! That’s why the Daily Mail nominated it as the most romantic small-sized city in Europe. It’s a green city, based on the alpine foothills, and it is divided in two parts: Città Bassa and Città Alta. The latter is a medieval centre on a hill enclosed by monumental walls built by the Venetians in the XVI century. Soon this walls will be part of the Unesco World Heritage.

Now let’s talk about you. When and how did you join AEGEE? Is there a nice story?
Lisa: I became part of AEGEE because I was member of an another association where I met a former AEGEE Bergamo president, Paolo Ghisleni. After taking part in some linguistic Aperitivo I decided to enrole.

Lisa Gregis EoT
AEGEE-Bergamo members with the Europe on track II travellers this spring.

Why did you become active? What convinced you that this is a great association?
Lisa: I became consciously an active member when I understood how much AEGEE could do in and for my hometown.

What was your best AEGEE experience or event so far?
Lisa: I can’t decide between the Network Meeting in Salerno last spring or our first SU in Bergamo this summer.

You are also Subcommissioner since last year. What do you do exactly?
Lisa: I am Subcommie of Mattia Abis for area Rainbow. I collect the monthly reports from the antennae of Milano, Bergamo and Brescia and I take part in the Skype meetings with Mattia and the other Subcommies. We are a good team! I’m looking forward to meet them again at the next Network Meeting in Brescia next week.

Lisa Gregis bambina
Also as bambina Lisa liked to explore the world.

Are you planning to do more on the European level of AEGEE?
Lisa: First things first. I have just become president and I don’t have any other idea for AEGEE outside my antenna for sure till the end of my term. I prefer to do things step by step, avoiding to do everything badly.

Your interests are not limited to AEGEE – you were President of a web TV for young people: Polar Tv. What is it about and why did you become active there?
Lisa: I was president of this association and web TV for two years. Polar Tv gives opportunities, space, instruments and know-how to young people who want to express themselves on a video. Actually I’m being less active with them now!, because I’m focusing more on AEGEE.

You also like dancing… what in particular?
Lisa: I studied classical, modern and tip tap for 15 years, and I was about to become a teacher with the English method ISTD, but four years ago I stopped because I understood that I wanted to do something else in my life.

What do you study or work? You just started working at the PJ Dance Studio in Bergamo, right? What do you do there?
Lisa: I’m studying Modern Literature at the Università degli Studi di Bergamo and I also work in a professional dance school taking care of organization, administration and communication. I started a week ago but I’m happy, because I’m still passionate about dance and working on getting this art better acknowledged makes me happy.

Lisa Gregis juggling
Lisa Gregis manages to juggle many tasks.

You seem really active. What do you do when you just want to calm down and relax?
Lisa: I like to stay with myself, and I need to do it at least half an hour per day. So I stay at home watching movies and series, or reading books, or surfing the web, or simply lying down on the bed thinking about my life.

Please finish the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…
Lisa: …a good chance to be active citizens and to discover our own talents.”

What is never missing in your fridge?
Lisa: As every true Bergamasco: ham and cheese.

Please describe yourself in five keywords.
Lisa: Determined, introvert, altruistic, sincere, deep.