EUSO 2018 Preparation Report
By Katja, Anita, Helena & Michael
The preliminary visit began on Wednesday 29 November with a working dinner with the Organising Board. EUSO 2018 is organised by the Association for Technical Culture of Slovenia (ZOTKS). The General secretary, Mr. Jožef Školč is the former Minister for Culture; the Chairman, Professor Dr. Stanislav Radovan Pejovnik is a former Rector of Ljubljana University and the Project manager is Dr. Helena Lesar. They are all active members of the Organising Board while Helena is Coordinator/Administrator of EUSO 2018. Also attending were Mrs. Mateja Hrast, who will in charge of the guides, is head of the Logics summer camp in Slovenia and Mija Kordež who is in charge of the National Olympiads in Slovenia.
Thursday began with a visit to Ljubljana Castle where a reception hosted by the Mayor of Ljubljana will take place following the opening ceremony. Later we visited the Mayor, Mr. Zoran Janković, in City Hall. We thanked him for putting the services of the city and his office at our disposal during EUSO. The City of Ljubljana is playing a central role in EUSO 2018 and the Major is taking a very active interest in all the proceedings.
Next to the Faculty of Chemistry, a brand new modern facility on the outskirts of the city, to visit the laboratories and meet with the Dean and the Scientific Committees (https://www.euso2018.si/about/scientific-committee/). Many of the names will be familiar to mentors who attend the senior Olympiad.
The two experiments are already complete, printed and tested. Further testing is necessary before they are finalised. They are integrated, suitable for EUSO students, of the required duration and the scientific equipment used will be familiar to our students. Hints will be provided later.
One University post-grad student, a member of the Scientific Committee, will incorporate the EUSO 2018 experiments into her PhD research and another will use them to a lesser degree. Thirty student teachers in the University will receive credits for their involvement in EUSO.
Some members of the Organising Board joined the Scientific Committee for a working lunch.
In the afternoon we, along with Mr. Jožef Školč and Professor Stanislav Radovan Pejovnik, had a meeting with the Prime Minister Dr. Miro Cerar and with the Ministry of Education and Science Dr. Maja Makovec Brenčič in the PMs office. They both expressed their complete support for EUSO, especially the teamwork, science integration aspects and the bringing of young EU students together. That the PM and the Minister should meet with us reflects the level of commitment of the Government of Slovenia to EUSO. Reporters from the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) were present at the meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister for Education and there was a lot of media coverage over the following few days. (https://www.sta.si/2456218/cerar-in-makovec-brenciceva-sprejela-predsednika-in-ustanovitelja-evropske-naravoslovne-olimpijade?q=cotter).
Now for the difficult part. We also had to face the press. We were interviewed by RTV Slovenia (http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/odmevi/174506109) and journalists from the leading newspaper Delo (http://www.delo.si/sobotna/najvecje-bogastvo-vsake-drzave-je-dober-ucitelj.html). Any additional updates and publicity will be published in the News Section of the EUSO 2018 website (https://www.euso2018.si/news/).
On Friday we visited the hotels for the mentors and the students and the locations for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The mentors’ hotel has a wonderful conference room for the discussions and additional ancillary rooms for smaller group discussions. The student hotel is perfect. All the rooms are twin or triple and some rooms accommodate 4 students. The larger rooms are in fact two twin rooms with a common entrance. They also have the use of common rooms where the students can congregate. We had lunch here and the food is excellent.
We visited Smelt Hall (http://www.dsu.si/en-gb/lease-of-conference-rooms-and-the-conference-hall) where the Opening Ceremony will be held. This is a beautiful venue and is next door to the Mentor’s Hotel. Later we visited the Festival Hall, where the Closing Ceremony will be held: (https://www.pionirski-dom.si/en). This is a spectacular venue and will add greatly to the Closing Ceremony.
The schedule is also finalised. The students will be busy with excursions, visits to the Zoo, workshops, music, dancing, social and sports programmes and a unique Slovenia activity called Escape Rooms. The Mentors will also have a full and interesting programme. The additional IB meeting will take place on Monday after a half-day excursion/lunch to lake Bled. After moderation on Thursday an interesting Mentor’s evening is planned.