This year Ljubljana will host approximately 150 young natural scientists from 25 countries in the European Union Science Olympiad 2018 (EUSO).
We conducted a short interview with the director and country coordinator of the EUSO 2018, Katja Stopar, about organizing an event of such magnitude as the EUSO is.
What does the preparation of the organization process of the European Union Science Olympiad look like?
The preparation already started almost three years ago, when Slovenia and the international committee of the EUSO agreed upon organizing this competition in Slovenia. The main event organizer is the Association for Technical Culture of Slovenia (Zveza za tehnično kulturo Slovenije - ZOTKS). The association coordinates the organizational activities of the competitions. These activities are carried out in cooperation with three faculties from the University of Ljubljana: The Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and the Department of Biology from the Biotechnical Faculty – as is the organization of all additional activities as well. These additional activities are mainly preparing and organizing excursions, social events, providing and ensuring an accommodation for competitors and mentors, etc.
What does the organization of the EUSO include? Do you need to pay special attention to anything?
The most important parts of the EUSO competition are the preparation of quality tasks and the execution of the competition. The tasks are prepared by the Scientific Committee from the previously mentioned faculties. The competition will take place at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, where professional associates and students will participate in the execution of the event. The tasks were being prepared for over one year, as they needed to be tested on a selected population, so that we could predict and avoid possible uncertainties and difficulties at the competition.
How many people are involved in the organization of such a competition? What kind of challenges do you face?
The Association for Technical Culture of Slovenia (ZOTKS) is coordinating all of the activities of the participants. Other than myself, Dr Matej Huš, a chemistry mentor at previous EUSO competitions, and Anita Nose, a physics mentor, provide ideas and advice. And last but not least, the students who will compete will be accompanied by guides at all times. Mateja Hrast is in charge of them and she will also be making sure that everything goes according to schedule.
The organizing committee needs to prepare the complete eight-day schedule for all of the approximately 300 participants of the competition. We need to plan each activity in detail, especially for the students and mentors. We are also participating in the preparation of the opening and closing ceremony.
The biggest challenge we are faced with is definitely the fact that we have to constantly have an overview of the whole event and at the same time we cannot forget even the smallest detail of an individual activity. For example, it is pretty important where someone will sit at the event, how the exchange of the students of both groups will take place on the day of the competition, so that the students will not meet each other and, of course, the organization of all transport is also a great challenge. But we believe that our experiences from previous EUSO competitions, good team work, and above all our enthusiasm and commitment will enable us to perfectly prepare and execute such an important event as the EUSO.
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