Event Apps for Federal Student Council Conferences – Experience of BuFaTa GeStEIN in Bonn

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An event app for federal student council conferences- that’s what this interview is about. We have Effi Drews from the University of Bonn as a guest. She will explain to us what a federal student council conference is and how an event app makes life easier for organizers and saves both money and stress. We hope you enjoy reading. ?

LineUpr: Hello Effi. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and the BuFaTa.

Effi: My name is Effi Drews and I am both the chairman of the Student Council for Geosciences at the University of Bonn, as well as the deputy chairman of GeStEIN.eV, the German umbrella organization for geoscientific student councils. Once a semester, we organize a conference for student representatives from all over Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with the name “Bundes Fachschaften Tagung der Geowissenschaften” or BuFaTa for short. Approximately 100 students meet in a different city (in November 2018 in Bonn) and exchange ideas about their studies and student council work. It is about networking and therefore forms a common voice for the student. We work on topics such as safety in the field, studying with physical disabilities, co-operation with other geoscientific associations and much more. In addition to workshops, there are also specialized lectures and various excursions based on the subject of geology in the region.

LineUpr: How much time and work do you spend on the planning of BuFaTa on average?

Effi: We were a team of 10 students who met at least once a week for a year. The closer the conference came, the more we sat together, towards the end we met almost every day. For the event itself, we had about 35 helpers who worked around the clock to attend to the participants’ needs or culinary desires. Besides, there were lecturers from the Institute of Geosciences who organized excursions and gave lectures.

LineUpr: Why did you decide to use an event app for BuFaTa?

Effi: We always had a conference booklet with all the information. Of course, they had to be printed early so short-term changes were not possible. This takes time, costs a lot of money and is bad for the environment. Also, we experienced that participants lose the booklets after a maximum of two days and then do not know what is next on the agenda. We were able to solve all these issues with LineUpr. Changes are possible spontaneously and only very few lose their mobile phones. Also, we could integrate much more information because we were not limited to just a few pages. The linking of the events with places has also saved us from explaining complicated directions.

LineUpr: How did you share the event app among the students?

Effi: We sent the link via e-mail to all of the conference participants and presented the app again at the first joint meeting.

LineUpr: For what information did you use the app? How did you use the app specifically before, during and after the BuFaTa?

The offline usage was especially important because some persons were worried about their mobile data.

Effi: During the event, several workshops or sessions ran simultaneously at some times. The app gave the participants an overview of the places where they occurred. Also, concrete times, like for breakfast or plena could be seen. We were also able to link all the significant pubs in Bonn and give a good overview of the evening program. Contents of the lectures, the excursions and workshops gave the participants the opportunity to inform themselves in advance about the different offers.

LineUpr: How did your students react to the app?

Effi: Positive! The ability to reread everything without having to rummage through the booklet was well received. The offline usage was especially important because some persons were worried about their mobile data.

LineUpr: Generally speaking, can other BuFaTas also benefit from the use of an event app?

Effi: It facilitates the communication between the organizers and the participants enormously because of its actuality and clarity. Also, the design of the content is easy to understand and saves a lot of work in advance.

LineUpr: Is there a unique story about the last BuFaTa that you would like to share with us?

Effi: At the beginning of the meeting, I was often asked things like, “When’s lunch? Where do I have to go? “After two days at the latest, I did not have to answer anymore because several people who stood around me all answered at the same time:” It’s all in the app!”

LineUpr: Great ?. What top three tips would you like to share with other organizers when using LineUpr?

Effi: Linking to the map is worth it! Send the app to the participants a few days in advance, so that they can read it and look forward to coming! The more colorful, the better! Everyone loved the colors and many pictures.

LineUpr: Thank you Effi for the lovely interview. Volunteer and student events are often a bit different than traditional conferences. We think that organizers can always learn a lot and give their events a splash of creativity.

More information about the association Gestein e.V. is available on their homepage. Otherwise, of course, they have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We look forward to supporting you at the next BuFaTa.