Svoltastudenti was founded in 2008 and since then has been actively engaged in improving the university life of Polimi students: from helping to solve administrative problems to suggesting activities and trips to broaden horizons beyond the desks of the University’s classrooms.
But what does it mean to be on the orange side of Polimi? Why choose to actively experience student associations?
Alessandro De Iasio, ex Student Council President, and Matteo “DJ Chopper” Scarpello share this with us.
What is your name and what do you do in life?
Alessandro: Alessandro, I’m doing a PhD in civil engineering in Nottingham.
Matteo: I’m Matteo and I do tech leads for a startup in Rome.
When did you join Svoltastudenti, and what path did you take within the Students’ Union?
A: I had the first contact with Svolta in March 2015, with the trip to Madrid organized by Cosimo and Matteo, then for the next two years I never participated in the life of Svolta.
In March 2017 I wanted to run for office and then I was elected to the Board of Directors, later becoming the second elected Student President of Svoltastudenti.
Then I had my two years of representation in which, I also organized Svolta Break 2019, then I was listed representative in 2019 and we won the election for the first time! Then, in October of the same year I was elected Probiviro with Pal and Piervito and I was until October 2022, from there I started the Alumni project.
M: I met Svolta in May 2012 in a 10km forest in Como for a softair activity, organized by Tuttolomondo (ed. ex-President of Svoltastudenti).
After the trip to Amsterdam in October 2012 I started attending Svolta in Como, there were very few associations there.
Then I moved to Milan and in 2014 I joined the Board of Directors (ed. Svoltastudenti also exists as a Social Promotion Association) as Vice President and then I started organizing the first trips…
In 2015 I became Secretary and was on the Executive Board until 2016.
Among the last things I did was to stop the series of trips to Bardonecchia and start the partnership with University Travel, starting Svolta Break. From 2019 onward, I hung up travel. In general travel and events have been my path, but I remain DJ Chopper.
Why did you choose Svoltastudenti?
A: As a matter of fact I liked it, I was having fun, I had met people… Later I realized that I liked it because you could do things and deal with issues that you wouldn’t have dealt with otherwise.
M: It offered me the opportunity to create something new beyond the lectures, to experience something not ordinary. And then the open-mindedness that Svolta has, of not making differences, of feeling like a team to improve the university, that’s the beautiful thing that brought me closer and that you don’t find elsewhere.
What has Svoltastudenti left you with after all these years?
A: Friendships are the first thing because you realize that you wouldn’t have met those people otherwise. Then I had a privileged view because I had a whole series of responsibilities in the institutional world … at that time I felt big, now I realize that at 22 I was really small. It was a big test for me, like being thrown into a pool without a life jacket. It taught me to be big before others.
M: It left me with soft skills that nowhere else will teach you, maybe it’s a little boring as a thing, but it’s true. The fact that you’ve had these responsibilities in the working world carries you forward, the fact that you do them for free, that’s important growth. Then clearly a lot of good friendships [and a tattoo].
Would you still choose Svoltastudenti?
A: Definitely yes because I enjoyed it. On the one hand I would get in earlier because I would have been able to meet more people, but maybe I wouldn’t have been able to give what I gave in my first year.
M: Well look … if I went back, I would go the same route again and it would still take me 10 years to graduate. I realize now that it was not a waste of time but an investment for the future, so I would take the same path again.
Like Alessandro and Chopper, there are many former members of the students’ union who have now graduated. These 15 years of Svoltastudenti have led to the establishment of the association’s Alumni group. A community that continues to exist beyond the walls and years of the Polytechnic, made up of people, work and experiences scattered around Italy and the world. Different generations coming together, always willing to give support and advice (and to have dinner all together).