WES: Behind the Scenes

Have all the speakers confirmed? How much will the stage cost? Have we organised the cameras for the weekend? These are only a few of the thousand questions that ring back and forth at our team meeting.

We discuss and debate in an empty seminar room on campus, fuelled after a long day by snacks brought in by the Tech team (at WES, we strongly believe that a team meeting without snacks is highly immoral). Huddled over laptops, bringing up important issues with the Coordinators, we make every decision keeping in mind the impact it will have on our Speakers, the Press and the 500 delegates who will be attending WES. We celebrate the fact that we sold out; having worked on the Summit for most of the academic year, to see that it will be enjoyed to its maximum extent is pretty exciting for us all.

We can all attest that being a part of something much larger than yourself is a wonderful experience, whether it’s a society or a newspaper or a conference on campus. It’s the adrenaline of being part of a team, watching that team get bigger and working voluntarily towards a common goal, while making some great friends along the way. To watch your plans, ideas and strategies transform from a Google Document into a blog, speaker or delegate buying a ticket is what this is really all about. It’s about creating something together, and watching that creation take shape and form before your eyes – much like an architect with a building. It gives you a rush, as the empty seats in the auditorium slowly fill up with people from the world over, as the first Speaker clears his throat, as the camera begins to roll.

That being said, to achieve a smooth sail during the Summit, every team is working hard in the week leading up to it. Our jobs are extremely different, as we work on different aspects of the Summit, but it’s always interesting to see how the work of each team weaves into the other, like the parts of a well-oiled machine.

The WES Coordinators have been eating, living and breathing WES these past two terms. They leave no stone unturned, and are involved in every aspect of the Summit. They’re busy ensuring all the teams are on track with their targets and have a clear plan for the weekend. They’re preparing their scripts for the opening speech on Friday, and moreover, they’re on the ready to answer any questions from the teams solve any problem that arises

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The venue for WES2018 – The Oculus

Internal Marketing and Operations currently have a lot on their plate, from sourcing all the WES-branded merchandise to keeping social media updated with information about seminars and Meet the Speaker events that will take place during the Summit. Having created all the impressive graphics and videos to promote the Summit, they’ve had a busy few weeks. They are also organising the entire WES team to hand-pack the tote packs which will be provided to all the delegates at the start of the Summit! So when you find a bunch of brochures and freebies in your bag, remember that they were lovingly placed there by a tireless WES team member.

The Talks team has been focusing all its energy on the confirmed Speakers – from finalising logistical details to making preparations for their interviews. They are also in the process of organising seminars during the Summit and reviewing applications for the ‘Meet the Speaker’ events. They are our first point of contact with the Speakers, which means they take care of their needs throughout the Summit!

External Marketing and Hospitality are excited, having sold all their external tickets. They’re working through the logistics for managing the on and off-campus hotels for delegates, and are constantly communicating with them, raising the enthusiasm for the Summit weekend.

Communications are gearing for the Summit by operating the social media accounts of WES and confirming details with the press, who will be in attendance at the Summit, and who will also interview some of our Speakers! Moreover, they’re pretty excited to interview Speakers themselves, and are working on the logistics for the three days, in relation to bringing the Summit to a world audience through Twitter, Facebook and the like.

The Tech team is gearing up for the weekend by getting all the equipment in place, from high-end cameras to hard drives. They’re also working on an app for use during the Summit, details of which will be announced soon.

For Finance and Sponsorship, the start of the year is always more important than the end, as that is when they decide the budget for the Summit and bring us some exciting Sponsors. For now, they’re organising the sponsor events that will take place during and after the Summit weekend.

Socials are focusing all their energy on the evening that we’re all waiting for – the Rainforest Ball! Working through the entertainment, the wine and many other surprises, they’ve got their hands full. It takes a lot to turn a bare room into a magical venue suitable for a ball, and I can say from experience that Socials never disappoint.

Each team is working especially hard, to allow you to experience WES at its absolute best. We hope you’re just as excited as we are, and we look forward to seeing you this Friday!

Anisha Bhavnani

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