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Imagine being able to attend a political meeting at the headquarters of the UN in the rooms of the Human Rights Council just once. Someone who is allowed to experience this every year is Cindy Bischofberger. She is the co-organizer of the GIMUN and because of the location, the GIMUN has a special advantage. She is allowed to hold her conference on the premises of the UN Headquarters in Geneva.
Since 2018, GIMUN has been using an event app. How much time Cindy invested in the creation and exactly what she used the app for is what this interview is about today. Have fun while reading. ?
LineUpr: Hello Cindy. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself.
Cindy: I am an International Relations student in Geneva, currently occupying the position of Under-Secretary General of Logistics for GIMUN (Geneva International Model United Nations, a student non-governmental organization with Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations). I grew up in the German-speaking part of Switzerland but am now lucky to have surpassed the national linguistic border by doing my studies in the French-speaking region. I have always been fascinated with foreign languages and cultures and love to travel and get to know diverse people from around the globe. These interests are perfectly summed up both by my university courses, but also my activity for GIMUN.
LineUpr: How much time and work do you spend on average on the planning of GIMUN?
Cindy: That is a really difficult question. As MUNs are in general based on voluntary work, nobody really does statistics about the amount of time that goes into the organization of such an event as the Annual Conference. I can definitely say that the workload was different every other week. Sometimes, I spent only several hours a week, other times more than 8 hours a day. It is also important to add that the whole GIMUN Team consists of more than 20 people having different tasks (Committee Management, HR, Logistics, Translation and Interpretation as the Annual Conference is a completely bilingual event, Cultural Events, Press, etc.). The involvement and effort of every person contributed to a successful conference in the end.
LineUpr: What makes GIMUN so unique? How do you differentiate yourself from other MUN events?
Cindy: Compared to other MUN events, the two things that make GIMUN unique would have to be its bilingualism and the location of the committee session in the European headquarter of the UN. We are privileged having the chance to use these facilities, which only makes the bilingualism possible (as the booths for interprets are available there and make it possible to have direct interpretation in four of our six committees). Already the opportunity to have an NGO badge and walking around freely (and getting a sense of orientation in the many different buildings), discovering the Human Rights Council with its amazing ceiling art done by Miquel Barceló and enjoying the breaks outside looking for the peacocks are special.
The bilingualism, on the other hand, gives you an insight into the real world when every word of the delegates are translated into several languages. It is amazing to see the interprets their work and the participants of the conference overcoming their language differences and reaching common goals nevertheless.
LineUpr: What was the decisive argument for you to use an event app? How can also other MUN conferences benefit from an event app?
Cindy: Eric from LineUpr contacted us directly and we gladly took the chance to have an event app for the first time. It was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to every other MUN as it gives you a different platform to share information. With the advancements of technology, everyone is used to having access to information all day at every place, so an app is convenient to have all the people involved up to date at every moment. Guessing from LineUpr’s openness and friendliness, if other MUN conferences are also interested in having an event app it would be worth contacting LineUpr directly 😉
LineUpr: How long before the event do you start creating the event app? How much time do you invest in the app?
Cindy: Once again I cannot say exactly how much time it took me to create, complete and keep updated the app. Although it is really easy to handle the website on which the app is made, it took me between at least 30-40 hours to include all the necessary information. Because there were some last minute schedule changes, most of the work was done around two weeks before the conference.
LineUpr: When and how do you inform the participants of the event about the event app?
Cindy: Exactly due to the last minute adaptions, we just informed our participants one day before the conference about the existence of the app and reminded them once again during our Opening Ceremony the following day. I would have loved to publish it a little earlier so that the participants could have also made use of the general information (how to get to Geneva, what apps are useful in the city).
LineUpr: How did your visitors react to the app?
Cindy: Apart from some people having had problems getting the app to the home screen of mobile phones, we have just had positive feedbacks. Especially during the day of registration where rooms had to be changed a lot with the many workshops going on, everyone was glad to have direct access to the schedule online. The same goes for the first day at the UN. Furthermore, it was also appreciated having the addresses of the places for our social events in the evening so that they were easy to fin.
Some people were surprised, as they have never seen an app for a MUN event. However, several people told me that the participants made good use of the app during the whole conference.
LineUpr: How has your event or event organization changed by using an event app?
Cindy: I can start with my personal experience: I did not have to know every room of every committee by heart, but could just look at my phone to answer the questions of people that were lost 😉 Furthermore, it is another possibility to show visibility of the whole organization and motivate the whole team to try something new that has never been done before. For our 20th Anniversary this year, the survey about a new slogan was easily integrated into the app and every person had fast access to it. For the rest of the communication, it would maybe have been better to have a link to our Instagram and Facebook page, as most of the information was published there by our Public Relations Director. As there was a lot going on, we, unfortunately, have not had the chance to adopt this procedure which would have made the app even more useful.
LineUpr: Is there a crazy story from the last event that you want to share with us?
Cindy: Well, I would not say that it is a crazy story, but definitely a funny one. When organizing the catering for the dinner on Saturday night, we went to pick it up with a Renault Clio and the four men handing out the food just looked at us as if we were mad. “How do you want to put everything inside this tiny car? You will have to drive at least 4 times to get everything to the conference”. We proofed them wrong by just driving twice and having fun cruising the city center with a car packed with yummy pizza and some drinks, being able to provide the hungry participants a full catering right on time after the Opening Ceremony.
Side note: because the Opening Ceremony was in the ancient building of the University of Geneva, we had no elevator to take all the catering up to the second floor. This meant that we arrived out of breath and could barely speak when we had to give a speech presenting our department.
LineUpr: Which top three tips would you like to give to other organizers when using LineUpr?
Cindy: 1. Definitely look at how other MUNs have organized their apps and what they included in it. This helped me a lot when thinking about the setup and what to include in the schedule etc.
2. Be cautious when it comes to the pictures you want to include in the app: make sure that they are quadratic and not any other form so that you have no negative surprises when the upload is done.
3. Start to familiarise yourself with the website where you create the app already in the beginning, this makes it easier when you actually add more information about your event.
LineUpr: Thank you, Cindy, for the nice interview. We learned a lot about your MUN event. It is certainly very exciting to be able to carry out your MUN event in the rooms of the UN.
In the case, you also organize MUN Events, talk to us. We would love to support your conference with an event app.