Soon the Agora Salerno stage will be full of candidates who want your vote! For sure you have read all about their programmes in the official booklet, so now you want to find out more about them, their hobbies, whether they can cook and which AEGEE member they would take with them on a deserted island. In short: classic first date questions from the Internet! The GT will take you on a date with the candidates. In this edition: Fabrizio Bellicano from AEGEE-Leuven, running for Member of the Data Privacy Commission. Get ready, your date is starting now!

Golden Times: Are you afraid of your candidature speech on the Agora stage? And how will you prepare for it?
Fabrizio Bellicano: Heh, I’ve made public speeches since my first – technically second – Agora, when I was presenting IT stuff! So I was not scared for my CD candidature presentation nor am I now.

GT: Where would you be now if you hadn’t joined AEGEE?
Fabrizio: I’d still be a software engineer! Probably I’d have around 300k more in my bank account, since I missed some years of a good IT salary for AEGEE… Though the satisfaction I gain by helping other people is much more than what money can give. Even though there are some people who complain about the IT infrastructure, I try to focus on the big picture, haters gonna hate every time. About the where I would be, it depends on how I’d have decided to invest those money – the good thing about AEGEE is that it made me discover different and my favourite countries, I wouldn’t have the same “places I’d like to live” list if it wasn’t for it!

GT: How did you join AEGEE exactly? How did you find out about it?
Fabrizio: The president of my ex-antenna was studying with me, I told him I couldn’t join because I was finishing up my bachelor to go study to Trinity College, Dublin. When I came back after two years, I wanted the same breath of international air and wanted to do something with my IT skills, so when I read about the existence of the ITC in the Key to Europe, jubilation! I could do exactly what I wanted. It was 2014. The president of my antenna told me who was the ITC speaker, who happened to be Italian at the time: Peppe Colicchia from AEGEE-Pisa, you have my eternal thank you. Coincidences happened, and I was in Brussels for a conference when I hear from him, telling me about the ITC meeting in Brussels at the AEGEE headoffice. Needless to say, I was there and met some historical figures of AEGEE, among which mail team leader Dilyan Palauzov and former AEGEE-Europe President Manos Valasis. I got some grip on the “OMS project” and learnt many things about the effort, so I decided I wanted to take ownership of the problem since I was still in my sabbatical. Mind that when I was entering the headoffice for the first time, and meeting Pavel Zbornik, the ITC responsible from CD side, and Peppe and everybody else for the first time, I wasn’t even member of AEGEE! Technically I became member only two weeks later. Six months later, I was in the AEGEE headoffice working full time for the OMS project – what is now the product we call “MyAEGEE”, to differentiate it from the OMS platform which was a different one.

GT: What’s the typical drink and food you bring to European Nights?
Fabrizio: I don’t drink, so I bring salame from Sant’olcese near Genova. Except when I lived in Belgium, where I brought chocolates, or when I lived in Bulgaria, where I brought a Bulgarian version of salami.

GT: At an AEGEE party where will we find you? On the dancefloor? Talking at the bar?
Fabrizio: Depends, could be both.

GT: What was your first position in the local board?
Fabrizio: I haven’t been in local board until a year after CD, where I have helped in IT – duh!

GT: What was your favourite event as organiser – and why is it your favourite?
Fabrizio: I haven’t been organiser in many events, only helper. I would say the favourite is EPM Zagreb where Marina Klanjcic directly asked me for my presence – which was very flattering. She gave me a badge that had written “ORGANISER”, but made me feel like “BIG BOSS”, and her thank you at the end of the event was so big that I can’t not have it as my favourite.

GT: What was your first Agora and how did you feel there? Happy, excited, overwhelmed, lost?
Fabrizio: I had bronchitis at Agora Patra 2014! So, that’s why I wrote above that Agora Cagliari was technically my second. I skipped all the parties except the last night, where I went partying in a pyjama. I always claim that the amazing university food healed me!

GT: Have you ever hichhiked to an AEGEE event? If yes, what’s your favourite hitchhiking story?
Fabrizio: It happened some times, the best was with Paul Smits when we went from the headoffice to NWM Osnabrück. It was my first hitchhiking experience and I am glad it was with a pro – and a fun person – to a cool event! Sorry if I fell asleep on the hitchhike the way back, Paul. You were speaking Dutch for five minutes and I closed my eyes only for five minutes, I swear… My second-best experience was SU Riga-Tallinn-Helsinki 2016, the transportation Riga-Tallinn was a hitchhiking competition! Clever and very cost-effective – and eco-friendly!

GT: There is a classic typology of AEGEE members, dividing them according to the three aspects fun member, career member and idealist – to which percentage are you which of these aspects?
Fabrizio: Equal part of all. Work hard play hard!

GT: What do your parents think about the idea that you are so active in AEGEE?
Fabrizio: They don’t understand much of it, but it’s my fault for I never explained them that much. They only saw that me quitting a permanent contract in order to join this thing and move unpaid to Brussels for cumulative two years had a good positive result in the end, with a better-paid job and possibility to work remotely – so I am closer to them and they don’t complain.

GT: What other hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Fabrizio: I read books and go to the gym.

GT: What was the last book you really got into?
Fabrizio: The power of habit by Charles Duhigg, it got me to think how a CD can be governed by the wrong habits – that’s what I wanted to tackle when I was elected. I read the book in 2016 before my CD year, more recent books didn’t give me the same effect.

GT: What are some obscure things that you are or were really into?
Fabrizio: Uhh, in which sense obscure? Satanism is an everyday thing, isn’t it? Loljk

GT: What’s your favourite app on your phone?
Fabrizio: I don’t use my phone that much, if I had to say something I’d say “Todoist”, which is to handle todos. I had a good fun moment finding out that the former president of BEST also used my same app.

GT: What nickname do or did you have – and why?
Fabrizio: In high school people called me “The Doctor”, because I knew a lot of stuff. Then I became dumb, even without the alcohol that my AEGEEan peers consume, and since then I just go by the name of “Fab” at events. I always say “it’s short for Fabulous”.

GT: Do you like cooking and if yes – what’s your favourite dish you like to cook?
Fabrizio: Pasta with my own homemade pesto.

GT: Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
Fabrizio: The idea crossed my mind, if anything, because I believe ministers for infrastructure and technology should have a degree in some technology, not in political science… But the current lifestyle I have is quite tempting to leave. Who knows…

GT: What do you study – and why?
Fabrizio: I studied computer engineering, from high school – in Italy you can – until the master’s degree at Trinity College, Dublin. Why? Because I have the attitude! I’m rational and curious, engineering material.

GT: What’s your dream job?
Fabrizio: What I’m having already, except I work full-remote from a nice country like Poland. My job is basically what I am doing for AEGEE, except with servers in three different continents – and a pay check. In fact, I applied many things I learnt through AEGEE at my workplace, like the status page – which will be soon released to the public. The things I learnt at my workplace I have promptly implemented in AEGEE.

Little Fabrizio

GT: What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
Fabrizio: Krakow, Lviv, Sofia, some countryside in Connemara in Ireland, some out-of-town places in Yerevan, Lake Baikal, my bedroom, Tartu, a place in the inner Switzerland, Vietnam. No order.

GT: And where would you really like to go?
Fabrizio: Poland or Ukraine – again. Argentina too.

GT: If you could take one AEGEE member to a desert island, who would it be? And why?
Fabrizio: Some sexy person with whom I can also entertain conversation, generally. There are only a few in AEGEE. They know who they are.

GT: This Agora is about walls – what was the most difficult wall you had to overcome?
Fabrizio: My brain put limits all my life. Mostly the impostor syndrome.

GT: What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Fabrizio: People not understanding the effort that it takes to make a whole intranet alone in my first year, then with other two people, although now we seem to be back at one. It is five years I am working on it, and I had personal “thank yous” from five people only. I am glad I found an equilibrium with Sergey now, and we manage to develop in the evenings after our day job – so, 10-12 hours in front of the computer per day… Also, people being too stupid to read instructions, but it happens all over the world, it is not AEGEE-specific.

GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Fabrizio: A big playground where everything can be tried. If only people would take it less seriously… and paradox: people take it not enough seriously on some other aspects. Such is the life.

GT: How would you describe yourself in a few keywords?
Fabrizio: Stoic, Rational, empathic, smooth.

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