The first Agora Salerno was a milestone in AEGEE. Taking place in the weekend after the Berlin Wall fell, it marked the beginning of AEGEE’s opening to the East, making the association truly European. This year, at the 30th anniversary, the Agora returns to this historic place. And it wants to pick up on the legendary atmosphere. “Our aim is to make other changes and improvements in AEGEE”, says Agora Coordinator Carolina Alfano. “We are preparing something amazing!”

Carolina Alfano

Golden Times: Carolina, didn’t you retire from AEGEE? How come that you are now coordinating an Agora?
Carolina Alfano (laughing): Surpriseeeee! I was working backstage. On the train back home from Agora Catania, with other AEGEE-Salerno members, we have started dreaming of an Agora in Salerno. From that day, Agora Salerno has become my main aim. And here I am again!

GT: Why is it so hard to quit AEGEE?
Carolina: AEGEE-Salerno is my second family and there is always a great atmosphere in our group. I am emotionally attached to AEGEE, but I am aware I will have to focus on something else in the future. For now let’s make another dream come true!

GT: Can you guarantee that this is the last event you will organise?
Carolina: Who knows? We will see!

GT: Let’s talk about Agora Salerno. What’s the date?
Carolina: It is a surprise that is going to be announced at Spring Agora Bucuresti.

GT: It will be your antenna’s second Agora! Is your antenna proud of this achievement?
Carolina: More than proud.

Plenary of Agora Salerno 1989

GT: What was your antenna’s motivation to host the Agora?
Carolina: AEGEE-Salerno organised only one Agora during its life, in 1989. We had the big dream of hosting another Agora exactly 30 years later, to celebrate that moment and our 30th birthday as an amazing family. We said “It’s now or never”, and we started working on that dream.

GT: What did you think when you heard that you have two competitors – after there was a lack of candidates for the previous Agora. Where you optimistic, worried, shocked?
Carolina: We weren’t worried about it, yet really optimistic about our application and motivation. We tried from the real beginning to do a good job. Since we did a lot of good events in these last years, we were ready to host such an event.

GT: Italian Agoras have a high standard: Bergamo, Catania, Cagliari… What will make your Agora in Salerno special and memorable?
Carolina: 30 years ago, important decisions were taken during Agora Salerno, so our aim is to make other changes and improvements in AEGEE. We are preparing something amazing, but don’t want to spoiler anything. Wait for Spring Agora Bucuresti to receive more news!

GT: How many people can you host at your Agora?
Carolina: We will host about 800 people.

The Agora will take place in the university campus in Fisciano

GT: Of course you heard stories of the Agora 30 years ago. 100 participants, private lodging, participants being picked up at the train station. Will you offer us such service too?
Carolina (laughing): Unfortunately not. A lot of things changed in 30 years. We are working hard to offer different kind of services. Of course, in 1989 organising an event was totally different from now, and we can only admire what our old members did in the past and try to take inspiration from them.

GT: How big is your organizing team? And how is the atmosphere in your team?
Carolina: We grew up a lot as team and as individuals in these last three years, so we are very proud of it. In our antenna there are 60 members, of which nine are part of the Core Team. They are experienced members very motivated and full of energy. The atmosphere in our team is the same as the one in a family. We are getting along well and we like spending time together.

GT: You mean the former President of AEGEE-Europe? Wow! By the way, organising such a big event is a big challenge. Which part of the organisation gives you the biggest headache?
Carolina: Italian bureaucracy! Ahhhhhhhh! Everytime we solve one problem, two others come out. Fortunately we got used to it and have learnt how to figure things out.

AEGEE-Salerno is like a family

GT: Let’s talk about logistics. Where will the plenary take place?
Carolina: The plenary will take place in the “Aula Magna” of the University of Salerno.

GT: Where will the participants sleep, where will people eat — and how close are these places to the plenary?
Carolina: The whole event will take place at the University of Salerno, the biggest campus in the South of Italy. We are very proud of having the opportunity to host the Agora in our campus.

GT: How will you prevent the participants from going to the beach?
Carolina: To prevent the participants from going to the beach, we will organise intriguing activities which will be able to entertain them.

GT: What will be the temperature be during day and night?
Carolina: The temperature changes every year. The average temperature will be between 15 and 21 degrees, so sweatshirts and jackets will be needed.

AEGEE-Salerno does a lot of work for Erasmus students

GT: Agoras often try to pick up on the political climate and the challenges of the country where the Agora takes place. Will you also incorporate elements like that? In what way?
Carolina: Not necessarily. We will be living an anniversary that goes far beyond the national waves. Of course, bringing the Agora to our country is already a clear political statement and message: we believe in Europe, youth believes in Europe, and we are sure the message will arrive to whom is concerned.

GT: Salerno and the whole area are full of amazing sights. Will there be sightseeing tours?
Carolina: Yes, there will be sightseeing tours. We are planning something to give participants the opportunity to discover how beautiful the place is where we live! Don’t worry!

GT: Which pre-events or post-events do you know of? Will your antenna make one, too?
Carolina: We know that AEGEE-Napoli is planning to organise a pre-event, as well as other Italian antennae.  It is certain we will focus on the Agora and not on a pre-event or post-event.

The Summer University of AEGEE-Salerno has been taken place every year since 1989.

GT: Can you tell us a few words about AEGEE-Salerno? How big is your antenna, what are the main events that you organised last year?
Carolina: We celebrated this year our 30th birthday as AEGEE-Salerno and have the priceless pleasure to organise, exactly 30 years later, our second Agora. We are very active at the University of Salerno helping incoming Erasmus students and organising every week almost two events: one for Erasmus students and one for AEGEE-Salerno members. We have been recruiting new members every day and the majority is very motivated and active, ready to be future organisers of the Agora! We organised three European Events last year: the Frank Bianchieri Award in April, the 30th edition of our Summer University “Non Solo Sole” and the Network Meeting Salerno in October.

GT: Anything else you would like to add?
Carolina: We will reveal more details during Spring Agora Bucuresti. Are you ready? See you there!