AEGEE-Napoli is one of the most active antennae and their events are spectacular. But how did it all start? The Golden Times spoke with Marina Setaro, who founded the antenna in 1992 and became later member of the very first Network Commission team. “My boyfriend was AEGEE-Salerno member and they never invited me to AEGEE activities. So I create my own antenna”, she remembers.

Marina Setaro during the SU of AEGEE-Napoli in 1997

Golden Times: When and how did you found AEGEE-Napoli?
Marina Setaro: In 1992! My friend Mónica Cirillo – the first AEGEE-Napoli President – and I decided to found it, because our boyfriends were AEGEE-Salerno members and they never invited us to share with them AEGEE activities. They were telling us that it was so boring, and there were so stupid people… We knew it was bla bla bla, so in reactions to them, as a provocation, we founded AEGEE-Napoli. So we had our personal AEGEE!

Golden Times: When did AEGEE-Napoli sign the Convention d’Adhesion?
Marina: The convention was signed in 1992. Unfortunately I was not there.

Golden Times: You were in the board since the beginning. First as secretary, when it was still a Contact Antenna, a couple of years later you were president. How do yiu remember that time?
Marina: It was a really amazing experience for me. It helped me to understand that my ex-boyfriend was the wrong one – and how beautiful it was to travel with AEGEE. I really strongly believed and was involved in AEGEE!

Golden Times: Did other AEGEE locals help in the development of AEGEE-Napoli? For example AEGEE-Salerno, which was much older and bigger back then?
Marina: We received the help of the members of AEGEE-Salerno, AEGEE-Roma and AEGEE-Bari.

Marina during the sightseeing tour in Ercolano of the SU in 1997

Golden Times: What was the first international event of your antenna? What do you remember about organising it?
Marina: Our first event was a Summer University in 1993. It was such a nice experience! AEGEE-Salerno and AEGEE-Bari were sharing some events with us during this summer! I was deeply excited. It was exactly what I dreamt about for years and years: to be with so many young people with my way to see the life – and coming from so far away countries, such as Turkey or Russia.

Golden Times: How many members did you have in the first couple of years? And what was the best strategy to get new members?
Marina: I can’t remember exactly how many members we were. But I remember that I was really active in finding new members. I made info points in all faculties in Napoli University, establishing contacts with teachers and other associations, such as BEST, ESN, ELSA and AIESEC. I think Public Relations has been my best skill since I was born! We mainly used of course the Summer University campaign to catch new members!

Marina Setaro always loved Agoras – like the one in autumn 1996 in Athens.

Golden Times: What were the biggest challenges for your antenna? Finding members? Fund-raising? Making your members travel?
Marina: Our problems were caused mostly by the bad fund-raising activities – and the absolute absence of any help from the faculties, because AEGEE is an interdisciplinary association, not belonging to any precise and concrete study field!

Golden Times: What was the favourite event that you organised?
Marina: I really loved to organise Summer Universities.

Golden Times: And which was the best event that you attended? And the best memories you have?
Marina: Next to Summer Universities I loved to attend Agoras and Presidents Meetings. My favourite event outside of Napoli was the Presidents Meeting in Barcelona in September 1995! For sure also my European activities are among my favourite memories. In spring 1997 I joined the very first Network Commission and enjoyed that very much!

Marina was part of the very first NetCom team, elected in spring 1997. The photo shows the NetCom meeting at the Agora Ankara, autumn 1997.

Golden Times: Until when were you active in AEGEE?
Marina: I was active in AEGEE until 1999. I was also in the delegations for Campania in South America and for foreign affairs in Denmark. Then I worked for Spain in many courses to help Youth associations developing their activities. I was sad when I left AEGEE. My last big work was the European Monetary Union conference in 1999. I started in creating the event and putting the basis for all, but I had to leave everything in the hands of Valeria Godono and the new board members… So I could not receive the honours for this, just a little thanks in the book published!

Golden Times: What did you do after you left AEGEE in 1999?
Marina: I had a very intense period after 1999. I finished all my studies – both music conservatory and university studies in economy. Then I started to work as manager for the first big Italian company dealing with franchising. I was creating franchising projects, developing them. Sometimes, in the last years, I was administrator and president of a restaurants’ franchising and also had the direction of the Malta branch. Then in 2009 I was so tired of my running and stressful life that I decided to change my life, leave it all, and moved to Fuerteventura. Here I am happy with my easy job in a perfumery – of course I like it only, because I spend my days talking in English, Spanish, French, German, sometimes Turkish and Italian with all the tourists, remembering my travels all over Europe and the world and enjoy my free time with windsurfing, sailing, surfing, tracking and flying… and teaching music and singing bossanova… And now I am double happy for sharing my life with my love!