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Youth unemployment in Southern Europe, the situation of refugees, Brexit, the further development of the Eurozone, these are all critical issues of the European Union. The Rethink! EU Conference is a conference dedicated to these topics.
Nora Bittmann is part of the organizing team and explains in this article why these topics are so relevant that using a classic programme booklet for this number of participants results in a massive mountain of garbage and how easy it is to create an event app with LineUpr. Have fun while reading. 😊
LineUpr: Hello Nora. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and the Rethink! EU Conference.
Nora: Hi, I am 24 years old and study “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” at the University of Witten / Herdecke (UW / H). Together with eight fellow students from my degree programme, I conceptualized and implemented the Rethink! EU Conference from August last year up until July 2018. For us, the project was about developing new ideas for the future of the European Union. It was important for us to talk to young people from different countries to bring in as many perspectives as possible. Our main topic was justice. We then discussed this for a weekend with varying points of view and in different formats.
LineUpr: How much time and work do you spend on average on the planning of the conference?
Nora: We all did a lot of work in the months of preparation (August 2017- June 2018). How much any one person worked is difficult to say. We were organized in teams (e.g. marketing, logistics, content, participant support) and there was a lot of work to do depending on the project phase. But since we all continued to study usually (some of us even in two courses at the same time), it was quite a high workload.
Since the project is located at the UW / H, we also received support from there. Not only in terms of conception but also regarding implementation, we were able to fall back on the university’s infrastructure.
LineUpr: What makes your event special?
Nora: Youth unemployment in Southern Europe, the situation of refugees, Brexit, the further development of the Eurozone, etc. There are currently many problems in the European Union. The EU is a remarkable achievement, but at the same time, there is a need for reform. In our opinion, solutions are needed that are developed jointly by Europeans. Therefore, we focused on the aspect of networking among the young Europeans and the opportunity to discuss ideas for our future coexistence. To make the weekend as attractive as possible, we invited international experts for lectures and workshops. Besides, there were formats such as the World Café and Best Practice Sharing to enable participants to engage in active discussions. It was not just about getting new input, but, above all, thinking about how to become active yourself. Coming together -Evaluating Justice – Taking Action. These were the mottos for the three days of the conference.
LineUpr: Do you also use printed products to market the event or distribute information locally? If so, which and why?
Nora: We used posters and flyers to advertise at our university (and also other universities). The posters were very eye-catching but only printed with the necessary information. There was a bit more information on the flyers, especially about the content. Our main aim was to achieve more visibility at our university because we wanted to recruit participants and also needed a helper pool for the conference weekend.
LineUpr: How did you learn about LineUpr and what was the decisive argument for you to use an event app?
Nora: Another conference that takes place here at the university, the Oikos Winter School, had already used LineUpr before and was very happy with the handling, design possibilities, etc. An important argument for us was that printed programme booklets- and by 100 participants also a huge mountain of garbage – could be gotten rid of. This fits in well with our innovative concept.
LineUpr: How did you use the app before, during and after the EU Conference?
Nora: We informed the participants in an email before the conference and also during the opening about the app. It was almost our digital “guide” with information about the programme and the speakers. But additional information such as bus schedules, emergency numbers, etc. were also available. It also allowed us to easily communicate with participants during the conference, provide help with questions and organize feedback through the app. Having everything in one source made things easier for us.
LineUpr: How did your visitors react to the app?
Nora: The feedback was very positive. Many found it very convenient to have the most important information so compact and clearly available at all times. We did not ask for feedback on the app, but it was clear from our general questionnaire that the participants liked the app.
LineUpr: Is there a crazy story about the last conference that you would like to share with us?
Nora: I do not know about anything crazy, but it impressed us how many committed people with good ideas have the desire to make a difference. It was very nice to see on this weekend!
LineUpr: Which three top tips would you like to give other organizers when using LineUpr?
Nora: Just try it! The app is easy to use and offers many options for customization. It’s really fun to work with it!
LineUpr: Thank you very much for the great interview, Nora. Conferences like yours are very important for social development. Today more than ever.
We look forward to the next edition in 2019 and we hope to be able to support you again.