Making the impossible - NESU Autumn Conference 2017

This autumn history was made in Lappeenranta when NESU Conference landed there for the first time. NESU-Enklaavi and NESU Tallinn joined their forces and organized the Conference between two countries. Many people have probably at least heard about this, but especially because it wasn’t possible to apply to participate to this Conference from organizing cities, I think most people don’t know what we actually did. In this blog post I would like to tell a little bit from the organizer’s point of view what kind of a project this was.

 

11.11.2016. NESU Union Meeting in Oulu, Finland. There’s a conversation going on about the organizing city of the next autumn’s Conference. Suddenly someone shouts: “What about Enklaavi?” I was just participating in my first Conference and the only thought that crossed my mind was about how impossible that would be. After the meeting and the Conference we still decided to do some research about having the Conference in Lappeenranta. Few days later it seemed unfortunately impossible to organize a Conference here since the situation with accommodation was problematic. We buried the idea and I decided to focus on developing NESU in Lappeenranta in other ways.

 

It wasn’t long after this when I got a phone call that began roughly like this: “Now you Kosti shut up for ten minutes and listen because we have an idea on how we get you the Conference.” During this call I was introduced to the idea of having cooperation with Tallinn, having an easy night at the cruise ship and building the organizing team with members from both NESU-Enklaavi and NESU Tallinn. We managed to recruit a head organizer from Tallinn also during the same evening. I had to think for a while to figure out what I had put myself in.

 

From that moment on we worked through the whole year to get this Conference to the goal line. I don’t even want to talk about the amount of stress this caused. Sometimes the concern was about facilities, sometimes about the partners and sometimes about the amount of applicants. This everything was fortunately a little bit easier since I didn’t need to be responsible for everything alone. I want to thank our other Head Organizer, Joni, for this! The biggest factor in making the week as great as it was, was our brilliant organizing team. Enormous thanks for you all for this: Maria, Anniina, Laine, Eve, Juho, Tuuli, Taika, Juuli, Iida, Juuris and Vilppu! In addition to this, I’d also like to thank every NESU board member and active member from both cities since the week wouldn’t been possible without all those helping hands.

 

During the year we contacted a huge amount of companies, planned program for the whole week, spent time solving problems with facilities, thinked about the preparations of the gala and worked countless hours in total. I can say that I worked at most 11 hours a day to make this Conference unforgettable. Now, when the week is behind us, it’s nice to take a deep breath and look at what we made. Huge thanks go also to our partners that made the week possible both financially and by providing us interesting day programs.

 

Everybody who’s been organizing events knows that it isn’t easy. In this matter, organizing a week-long event is on a completely different level. Luckily we could always get help when needed from the organizers of previous Conferences. In the end, I can say that I don’t regret a thing. Sometimes you have to push yourself to the limit so you know how far you can go. Eventually you’ll find out that those sleepless nights weren’t in vain. I had to give a lot to this but I still got more in return.

 

What did I then learn from this? The most important thing was to find out that impossibility is usually just a limitation caused by lack of imagination. This Conference was built around a seemingly impossible concept with an extremely low budget. That is why I recommend all of you to think again the next time you are going to say that something is impossible.

 

Now it’s time to move on and leave this project behind, enjoy these few pics that hopefully show out the atmosphere of the week!

 

Kosti Hokkanen
Head Organizer
NESU Autumn Conference 2017

Photo: Anniina Sääski

Photo: Anniina Sääski

Photo: Anniina Sääski

Photo: Anniina Sääski

Photo: Anna Bielchenko