Blood, sweat and beers: a recipe for event management training
Once again, Glion students from our Event, Sport and Entertainment Management program participated in the production of the Matterhorn Ultraks Trail Run event in Zermatt on August 19-20, 2016.
This annual alpine running event offers a variety of challenging races for mountain runners of different levels, including a kid’s race and a 16k, 30k, 46k and the Vertical Zermatt Sunnegga or “VZS” race. With over 2,200 participants this year, it was a perfect opportunity to teach the ESE students what really goes into a sports event.
For three years, this event has been a regular part of the applied learning curriculum in the Project Factory – the practical event management training course in the ESE program – and it’s getting better every year.
Three ESE students met up to tell us about their roles in the event and the highlights. The students’ participation was facilitated by Mike Abson and Bernd Rosenthal, key ESE faculty members, who accompanied them on the trip.
Event management training is about passion and hard work
“To set up the event, one group composed mainly of the guys did a lot of work to put in place the equipment, the stage, the cafeteria, the inflatable arch, and we hung up the decorations and promotional materials.”
During the event, we did crowd control and organized the flow of guests versus participants to make sure people weren’t going to get in the way of the race. We were debriefed with a plan and hours, but, as with any event, things didn’t go exactly to plan, we worked a lot, like 17 hours a day as we set up and dismantled everything, every day,” explained Sherief Mohammed.
“Each team had a leader, I was one of the team leaders, and on the first day we were dismantling equipment and setting up the flags. We were also in charge of the dormitory. We fixed and prepared an area for the athletes to check in and we took care of the baggage check. And finally, we cleaned up the restaurant and got the tables ready,” said Hyun Jun “Jin” an ESE 2 student.
In event management, there’s always that moment when you break a sweat
“I was in the second team, handing out medals. There were several marathons and we handed out the medals for the 16k, 30k, 46k and a relay race. During the race it was raining hard, everything was a mess, and we had to hand out medals and collecting chips. We just had to pick up the pace and at one point, I got shouted at because the medals were not all unwrapped (to protect them from the pouring rain), but I didn’t let it stop me, I learned that you just have to go on, and push forward,” said Sarah Tanizar, an ESE2 student from Malaysia.
“I learned that time-management is very important, maybe the most important aspect, along with team work. If one person is missing it throws everything off, especially when things get busy. Time is precious and team members are too. Overall, I really enjoy this aspect of events and creating this unique experience for people. The long hours are so worth it.” summarized Jin.
Highlights and celebrating a job-well done
Last but not least, the students really enjoyed creating special moments and celebrating with the spectators and fellow classmates after the work was done.
“This experience showed me that events are addictive. Seeing how happy everyone is, seeing the kids all enjoying themselves. The fact that the visitors are oblivious to the work behind it, it’s like you’re doing a secret mission, undercover,” Sherief said playfully, “At the end, we enjoyed some beers and we mingled with the crowd, it’s another part of events that is priceless.”
“I ended up taking pictures of a marriage proposal. There was a woman trying to get her daughter away from the stage for photos, and I said they could stay there. Then, a young man asked me to take the photos. So I was snapping away and then all of a sudden the guy went down on one knee and asked her to marry him. It was amazingly touching and sweet, and I was happy to help them immortalize the moment,” said Sarah.
Jin summed it up: “The best moment was when everything was done. We gathered together and cheered and then we celebrated over drinks.”
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OR, learn more about the event management training aspect of Glion’s ESE program.