As you can imagine, the organisation of Spring Congress 2017 is well underway. This time, we wanted to offer you some insight into how we view our tasks and how are we experiencing the whole process. Enjoy!
The core team was assembled, so the work could begin. We gathered at our regular meetings, but there was just something missing… We were newly assembled and we had to create some sort of a bond, so we’d stick together through good and bad times. So we decided to go on a weekend working trip to the seaside. We worked for 3 whole days, brainstormed, drew on flipcharts, and made SWOT analyses about what we could offer companies so that they would support us. We even thought about combining our local JobFair and Congress into one event, which would tell the story of EESTEC.
Our brains were fried since we had been working almost 18 hours per day. We needed some time off so we decided to play Slovenian 4 player card game (tarock) which really bonds a group of players. We ate all the time and there were coffee and tea running through our veins pumping the blood to our brains. We had a barbeque, drank beer, went to the beach, danced a little bit, listened to music on LC Ljubljana block rocker...
The partnership campaign allows us to finance Spring Congress and, because of that, you could say it is one of the most important elements of the organising process.
We started with the partnership campaign in October when we prepared cooperation packages that we could offer companies (company promotion, case-studies, presentations...) and a list of companies we wanted to participate with. Our designer then designed the offer and we sent it to the companies in November. Several companies replied and we set meetings, where we presented the Spring Congress and possibilities of cooperation. Based on the meeting, companies decided to invest in the Spring Congress.
I would like to thank all the companies for supporting Spring Congress. I promise you that we will not disappoint you.
Meetings with companies and partners
Sitting in an empty room and waiting. The doors open, two people come in. They start asking questions.You are afraid that you won't present an interesting offer for the company. But that doesn’t happen at all. After having more than 30 meetings we experienced almost everything that can happen in a meeting. But there were only good things.
You start the meeting with coffee or even lunch and then talk a bit about how everything is going. Sometimes they tell you their life story or what happened to their dog yesterday morning. Only after that do you start talking about business. You start describing how awesome EESTEC is, talking about all the opportunities they will have with such an event as the Congress. The best moment is when they are really satisfied with the work we do and they say: "We are interested in sponsoring your event."
After so many meetings we learned that it is actually not so difficult to find sponsors. You just need to believe in your project!
Extending the team
Applying to a congress organisation team is a very scary thing for a new LC member. The desire for new knowledge and challenges is after all not enough for a freshman to apply for the organisation of such an enormous event. The core team's approach was the reason I applied. I thought I had to have plenty of prior knowledge in order to apply, but that was not the case. All new members of the team are new LC members and the initiation is very friendly. I think having new members in the team is a relief for the older, more experienced members. We take on tasks that do not present any challenge at all for them, while we learn a lot.
Spring congress organizational team is a local team, however, we operate as an online team. Since our congress leader is currently studying in Novi Sad, we gather every Wednesday at 5pm at our premises in Ljubljana and make a videoconference call with others who are online. Nevertheless, sometimes internet connection problems occur and therefore some topics have to be discussed two times, three times, four times… :D
In order not to forget discussed issues we write meeting minutes. We believe online meetings are very effective as sometimes we are not able to attend meetings in person due to exam period, holidays or illness. Still we prefer “offline” meetings and we try to participate in them as much as possible.
Communication with EESTEC International
Communication with the International Board (IB). Hm, sounds kind of formal, right? Well, it is exactly the opposite. A few e-mails and a lot more direct communication via Slack, which we use like a casual FB messenger chat. The chairwoman, Maria Kouneli, is handling most of the comm with us. Till now we had only 7 online meetings, maybe 120 emails exchanged and definitely more than 1500 direct messages via Slack (with meaningful content, not chit-chat ;) ). Oh, and Slack introduced threads in January, what was a great boost in messages for us!
Topics ranged from logistics to partnerships, public relations… Maria and I are in almost daily contact to sort things out when they appear. But as the Congress is approaching, this communication is expected to at least double and I think a lot of this will fall on online meetings. But let’s wait and see, and I’ll report back later on :)
In search of accommodation
The first task I was given after joining the Spring Congress Organizing Committee was to take care of accommodation for Alumni Congress and Unofficial participants. It started off by exchanging a lot of emails and creating probably the longest email thread in my inbox (over 70 messages and growing). We narrowed our selection down to three hostels and arranged meetings with them. After the meeting in Hostel Tresor, Leon and I knew this where the unofficial participants were going to stay, since it was better than others in most aspects. I reserved this hostel and another one for Alumni Congress.
I thought everything was arranged when one day an email came in that turned everything upside down. I had to reread it to make sure it was really happening. The hostel that was supposed to host Alumni participants cancelled our reservation. I had to urgently send more inquiries and luckily the first offer worked for us. After the deposit was paid for both hostels the weight was lifted off my shoulders and I was ready for new tasks.
Trip to Kranjska Gora
Kranjska Gora is an important Slovene tourist destination and has apparently been the prime destination for EESTEC LC Ljubljana, when it comes to the unofficial part of events. Being a new EESTEC member, I have not experienced what the town has to offer, however I expect it to be very enjoyable, as the senior members have highly praised it. The trip to Kranjska Gora takes about a good hour. Most of the people will be staying in apartments Nina and Tina, and a small portion will be accommodated in Gozd Martuljek. The rooms all looked great and I think that everyone will enjoy them.