For two years Roberto Rossetto’s friends tried to convince him to join AEGEE. Always in vain. Fortunately they succeeded in the end, otherwise we would have a lot less Limoncello at European Nights – and one candidate for President of AEGEE-Europe less at the upcoming Agora in Bucharest. What else you need to now about this AEGEE-Napoli legend? Check out this article.

Golden Times: Where would you be now if you hadn’t joined AEGEE?
Roberto Rossetto: Life often takes unexpected paths, so I can’t know what I would have become without AEGEE. The only sure thing is, if I hadn’t joined, I wouldn’t be running now to become its President!

GT: How did you join AEGEE exactly? How did you find out about it?
Roberto: Graduation: done. Girlfriend: left me. What do we do tonight? Pub Crawl! That’s how I joined AEGEE-Napoli.

GT: How long did it take you from the first moment until you signed the membership form and joined AEGEE?
Roberto: Two of my friends, board members of AEGEE-Napoli, were telling me about AEGEE for two years. Yes, two! And I was always like: “Cool! I’ll check the next weekly meeting!”, or: “Yeah, but I have to go out with my girlfriend…” Yes, I regret it so much. Perhaps, if I had met AEGEE earlier, I would run for the EU Parliament now!

GT: What’s the typical drink and food you bring to European Nights?
Roberto: It’s yellow. It’s sweet. It’s tasty. It’s Limoncello!

GT: At an AEGEE party where will we find you? On the dancefloor? Talking at the bar?
Roberto: Either organising the party, or hanging out of the crowd with the people who made my AEGEE experience great.

GT: What was your first position in the local board?
Roberto: Secretary of AEGEE-Napoli.

GT: What was your favourite event as organiser – and why is it your favourite?
Roberto: My first Summer University. I joined all the organizational meetings without ever speaking a single word, I was just listening. It was a weird world, everything was new. Then, the very first moment I entered our accommodation, all the tiles fell into place. The Organizer’s Curse was on me. I was doomed to care about every detail, to create the most amazing experience possible for our participants. That feeling of enlightenment and discovery… I will never forget it.

GT: What was your first Agora and how did you feel there? Happy, excited, overwhelmed, lost?
Roberto: Agora Chisinau in 2016. I was the only person from AEGEE-Napoli, I didn’t know many people, and AEGEE-Lviv adopted me. I didn’t really understand what AEGEE was before that Agora: for a second time, I felt enlightened.

GT: Have you ever hichhiked to an AEGEE event?
Roberto: I hitchhiked only after my first SU, in Albania. Coming from a peninsula, it’s not a common thing for me to hitchhike – that would be difficult to do on planes.

GT: Do you like cooking and what’s your favourite dish you like to cook?
Roberto: I hate cooking for myself, but I love cooking for other people! You should taste my “purpetielle affucate” – octopus in a heavy, tasty tomato sauce. Don’t be surprised if after that you fall in love with Italian cuisine!

GT: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Roberto: Permafrost. I use the fridge so little that I am thinking of selling it. I mostly buy only the food I need for the day.

GT: What do your parents think about the idea that you are so active in AEGEE and even want to move to Brussels?
Roberto: My mum is about to disown me. The idea of her beloved son working for no money is way too much for her.

GT: In a typology of members there are the three aspects fun member, career member and idealist – to which percentage are you which of these aspects?
Roberto: This is a difficult one! I love having fun and making people have fun; I’ve used AEGEE to build myself a cool CV for which companies are actually calling me – and I’m rejecting them; I have strong ideals leading my actions and building my vision. Being balanced in the three should be a guideline for everyone. Do things that match your ideals and ethics. Improve yourself and your competences. Never forget the fun. And you will be happy!

Roberto with the Agora Bucharest organisers

GT: What other hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Roberto: I used to practice Krav Maga and Boxe, to make my own wine and grapewine, to watch a lot of animes, to play chess. Then AEGEE came, and AEGEE doesn’t go along very well with other interests, so the time for hobbies has become tinier and tinier.

GT: Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
Roberto: I have been considering it for a while. Actually, before joining AEGEE, I had little interest in politics and my main focus was on practical administration – I’ve always been passionate about city planning, for example. Then, through this associative experience, as I started to actually interact with the political world, I realized that the two things cannot be kept separated.

GT: What do you study – and why?
Roberto: I studied Buildings Engineering, just because I like it. I am a deeply curious person who loves to delve into many different fields and I feel like I could go back ten more times to the University and choose a different major each time. I am actually seriously considering to get a degree in Psychology or Economics.

GT: What’s your dream job?
Roberto: I imagine myself in 30 years as a super busy and eclectic serial entrepreneur, owning companies in every field known to mankind. I was also thinking of a career as a superhero, but then I realized it would not be adrenalinic enough.

GT: What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
Roberto: The Cannon’s Terrace on top of Castel dell’Ovo. It’s in Napoli. I don’t know if it’s because of the view, of the sea scent, of the wind, of the memories, of all of this… but that’s my favourite place on Earth.

GT: And where would you really like to go?
Roberto: Tokyo! I’ have always been passionate about Japanese culture, some years ago I began studying some Japanese too.

GT: What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Roberto: Knowledge Management. There’s a constant flow of lost knowledge in our association. An efficient training body working closely with AEGEE-Europe can effectively make up for this issue.

GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Roberto: …a network of empowered young people, of knowledgeable and aware citizens, who are able to shape a better future for themselves and for the next generations.

GT: How would you describe yourself in a few keywords?
Roberto: Passionate. Hardworking. Visionary.

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