As a part of the Sundial Press’s coverage of Integration Week, Maria Linares sat down with BDE representatives Louise Edouard (Secretary) and Matilde Echeverri (Inter-Association and Inter-Bureaux Communication) to find out what it takes to organize an event of this scale.
Maria Linares: How long have you been planning Integration Week?
Matilde Echeverri: We came up with a summer plan and tried to view it as a Campaign Week, since for Campaign Week we started working from the end of December for the rest of the semester. This time it was more difficult since we were all in different parts of the world. We were constantly in contact and had a team drive so everyone could stay updated, but it was definitely a challenge.
M.L.: What was your favorite event during Integration Week?
M.E.: For me it was the barbecue at Parc Leo Lagrange since it was not as centered around alcohol as other events, but it was still really fun. I think everybody had a great time. Atrium night was also really fun.
Louise Edouard: I wouldn’t say that I had a favorite event since when we were planning Integration Week we wanted to have events for everyone to enjoy. The Scavenger Hunt was honestly really stressful since it was our first BDE organized event and there were a lot of logistics behind it. Any event that involves alcohol is stressful for the staff since we want people to have fun but we’re also responsible for them. The Barbecue was really nice, we had the segways that people enjoyed using and the music was good.
M.L.: What has been the most difficult part about organizing Integration Week?
M.E.: Just trying to make every event go as smoothly as possible has been a challenge. Of course we had a few unplanned issues that came up. For the Scavenger Hunt we had booked a van to help us take everything from Carrefour to Leo Lagrange. It ended up bailing on us so we had to make last minute adjustments.
L.E.: After the event was over we had help but there were a lot of leftovers – especially with water bottles. We hadn’t planned any transportation back to our storage space so it was kind of a mess, but we learned from it. After the Scavenger Hunt, I feel like everything went pretty smoothly.
M.L.: Do you have any horror stories that happened when organizing events?
M.E.: I feel that after the stress of Campaign Week we’re all really comfortable with each other. We’re a team that works together to make every event goes as planned but we’re also good friends. We have low moments like the problem at Leo Lagrange with all the water bottles where all of us were stressed, tired, and I was covered in rosé from head to toe. But we still had fun because we had to pull everything back together.
L.E.: Of course the stress and exhaustion accumulates sometimes and creates tensions, but in the end we all have the same goals and we try to never forget that.
M.L.: Any final thoughts on Integration Week?
M.E.: I’m really happy with the result. I think everybody has given us good feedback about Integration Week. We’ve already seen most of the 1As, 2As and Exchanges already getting to know each other. In a way, we feel responsible for it and are glad to have had that impact. We hope that everyone had a good time and created good memories. Some of the best memories I have from last year were from Integration Week.
L.E.: I’d like to add that the Administration has been very helpful to us as well. Every time we had a problem or an issue they were there for us to ask questions and help at any time. I really hope that everybody enjoyed it…
M.E.: We are incredibly grateful for everyone who volunteered to staff the events and to all the Bureaux that helped put Integration Week together – BDA, SPE, AS – and a big, big thank you to Anne-Charlotte.
M.L.: Do you have big plans for the upcoming year as BDE?
L.E.: We’re already thinking about the main events that the BDE is in charge of, like the Winter Gala. We’re even starting to think about the Summer Gala! For 1As and Exchange students, since 2As are more aware of this, we want them to know that if they ever have any critique for us, they should feel free to come up to us about it…the best way to improve ourselves is through hearing from the student body.
M.E.: Going back to future events, we also still have the Weekend d’Integration. It’ll be another opportunity for people to get to know each other better in a setting that is outside of Reims.
L.E.: It’s really the continuation of Integration Week, kind of like the last step, so I would definitely encourage everyone to sign up!