Hola! We are David Farache and Diana Lipcanu, the local representatives of the EIT Digital Alumni in Madrid. As you may know, the EIT Digital Graduation has taken place in Madrid this year, and we helped organizing an event to introduce the newly graduates to the Alumni Community and, at the same time, enjoy this awesome city.
The event consisted of splitting the graduates into teams and have them complete a series of challenges around the city of Madrid. To complete a challenge, the team would have to post a picture or video on Instagram showing the required task. At the end, we’d all meet again in a restaurant where we’d have lunch.
We started planning this during the weekends in a small cafe in Madrid. The idea of the Treasure Hunt underwent several iterations. We wanted something engaging, but that would also tell something about the city and about the Alumni community. Initially we thought of handing out facts at points of interest in the city, or making a quiz-like game. And then… it just came to us: a photo-hunt! This would get people to work together, have fun, and get to know the city. Unfortunately, an Alumni-related task didn’t naturally fit in.
The initial design of the game consisted into groups made up of members from each EIT Digital track led by a local guide. However, the realities of the event soon undermined our nicely set-up teams, from the people who answered our survey. More participants joined during the morning, some didn’t even know about the event, some of the ones who signed up didn’t show up, everyone wanted to have their friends in the team... So after initially fighting to keep the balanced teams, and give every local guide a team, we decided to make teams on the go and send them off! :D
We ended up with teams of 7+ people. All in all, many of the decisions initially taken were overwritten - which is one important lesson to learn. We cannot plan for everything, and when we do, we need to take into account the realities of our members: they are people who have made strong, meaningful connections with others along the 2 years together, and whenever they meet, they will prioritise spending valuable time with their closest friends. Also, the alumni-related activities need to fit the structure of the event, otherwise, we may miss the opportunity to teach members more about our community.
Having 50 people walking around the city also requires a lot of extra help. Therefore, one of the first things we had to do was to reach out the students and alumni in Madrid and ask for help. We got an incredible response and thanks to it we got to meet amazing EIT Digital people, who otherwise we would have never met. Plus, it was a relief to know that there were other people believing in our project and giving us tons of useful feedback that turned out to be really useful.
I, David, took care personally of booking the restaurant and it was challenging at times: we did not know for sure how many people would attend the event, nor how many of them would be vegetarian nor how many would stay until the end of the lunch. Coming to an agreement with the restaurant required quite some patience and a lot of phone calls. I am happy to say that both them and us are happy with the result.
Planning the alumni event for the graduation in Madrid has been an incredible experience. It cannot be denied that planning such an event requires sometimes making an extra effort, but it’s also true that there are few things more rewarding than seeing your fellow alumni having a great time and enjoying themselves. Plus, there is no better way to get to know the members of our wonderful network.
Thanks to the experience we’ve earned, we are now more confident about organizing events for our local community and, as a matter of fact, we have a couple of cool ideas we hope to bring to life in 2018!
We cannot stress enough how much fun this has been and all we can do is to encourage other people to get active in their Local Communities and to go ahead and organize your events.
This is something you’ve really got to do!
David & Diana
More pictures on our collection on Instagram!