By Saga Ringmar
Cover photo by Oceane Puel Cheng
Meet the team behind Minicrit 2019, a dedicated group who worked sleeplessly in the run up to the Minicrit and began planning a year in advance to make sure everything would run smoothly. In between sports competitions, I sat down with Mathilde Paturel, the communications manager and Cassandre Rohart, who was in charge of logistics. Over the sound of chanting fans and trumpet playing, they shared with me the highs and lows of organizing the Minicrit in Le Havre.
Question: What are some of the biggest challenges you faced when organizing the Minicrit, especially in Le Havre?
Cassandre: The [specifications] here with this Minicrit is that Le Havre is a very small city so we’ve had so many problems finding the right places to host Minicrit. For example we did not have much of a choice but to use the Carré des Dock (editor’s note: the exhibition hall where students were being housed) because hosting more than 1,000 people is very hard in Le Havre especially.
Q: Was it hard to get Carré des Docks?
Cassandre: Yes… not in terms of reservation, but more in terms of finances because it’s a huge room and it was very expensive so we had to negotiate quite a bit.
Q: How do you coordinate with so many people? You said the event had 120 volunteers and staff.
Cassandre: So, first I recruited them… early in the year so that I could be able to ask them what were their commitments during Minicrit, because a lot of them were doing sports or arts, and photography. And I made individual schedules for 120 people. There were a lot of mistakes, I admit, because it is hard to remember all of them and the synchronize them…So you have to be quite persistent and make adjustments all the time.
Q: Have there been any big crises?
Mathilde: I think there have been a lot of small crises along the year, especially when we found out that we wouldn’t be able to book any hotel so that the living area [would] be in Carré des Docks. And the biggest crisis was when we announced the accommodation because we received a lot of hateful comments, complaints and hateful messages so it was kind of discouraging for us to receive all of these comments knowing that we had been working a lot to get this accommodation. But also I think, one week before Minicrit we had one day where everything went wrong. We were supposed to pick up some packages that never arrived, we were supposed to have a given amount of money but they gave us less…everything went wrong on that day.
Q: How did you handle these problems?
Cassandre: So first we have a very strong team, not just in terms of friendship but we know how to work together…
…But I would say the main problem at the beginning of the year, for the first five months, is that we wouldn’t get any money, we wouldn’t have any sponsors. And we couldn’t move on and book any venues, we had to book everything without any insurance that we had the money. And the admin at Sciences Po was sometimes helpful and would sometimes say to us, “you’re responsible, it’s your shit”.
Q: What would you say is the most surprising thing that you have learned when organizing this event?
Cassandre: People actually [like] what we are doing. We were … expecting bad comments and remarks, because we have been through Facebook and bad days. But people actually came up to us and told us that we did a really good job. And it is actually great and we are enjoying ourselves.
Mathilde:…Some people that even posted bad comments came to us and said “Oh I am sorry, we just thought that we would have to sleep really far” and people are actually apologizing for behaving that way.
Q: Is there anything else you want people to know?
Cassandre: We are very tired, and we appreciate when people come up to us and say that they are actually happy and appreciate what we are doing for them.
The Namicrit board is composed of Delphine Hamon as president, Evgenia Ivanchuk as vice-president, Soline Dziadzio as treasurer, Fiona Beraud in charge of arts, Cassandre Rohart in charge of logistics, Mia Raichon in charge of sports, Plamédie Mesongolo in charge of events & parties, Mathilde Paturel as communication manager.
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