How it’s like to be a coorganizer in Uppsala?

Maybe I don’t have a clear idea about what it’s liek to be a true coorganizer, because LBG Uppsala (Sweden) had only a few more members than its board so they called for 5 coorganizers (3 with the standard call to BEST groups and 2 arrived from Canada on the grounds of a deal with Canadian Federation of Engineering students) and these 5 people including me became moreover just another organizers.

Joing the team of organizers

I arrived to Uppsala same as two othe coorgs 2 days before the beginning of the course Let’s Save Our Planet Now, Come On! Organizers prepared a lovely dinner in a student flat of their president (she was spending her summer somewhere in the Ivory Coast), where we spent the next 2 days before we move with the participants to a hostel. With the first hangover the very next day we had to get to know the city quite well because we found out that it will be the coorganizers who will pick up the participants in the city center and take them to the hostel. One of the organizers showed us around and then we had a first official meeting at their university. We went through the schedule day by day and we divided responsibilities.

First and foremost for us coorganizers, it was the preparation of the Welcome Party for the following day. We also obtained bus cards because it was again our duty to take participants to and from school every day. Another thing we got were lunch tickets which we should give to the participants so they can get their meal at the university cafeteria. Last thing was a SIM card for every coorganizer, so we joined SMS group of organizers which was used to effectively communicate about course organization. Everyone could make up their own name – I was Papa Lion. During the meeting we got pizzas, for us coorgs of course for free, so I tried one of the most favorite swedish meals – kebab pizza. In the evening there was a small sauna party.

Course begins

First official day of the course I got on a bike and I was riding to get participants from the station whole day. In the evening we prepared traditional get to know games and then championship in Sangria Pong (the purpose wasn’t to be original, beer was just too expensive). Following days we were taking the participants to school (they loved me in the mornings because of my special waking up instrument) where they learned about alternative power sources. We were also invited to take part in the lectures if we weren’t preparing coffee breaks (they call them fika) at the time. The evenings were full of different activities: one night was Swedish party where (to be short) we learned that eating crayfish is not worth it because after 15 minutes of hard work all you get is a very poor appetizer, that Swedes can’t drink without singing and that they like to dance drunk children dances around some kind of tree that’s meant to symbolize manhood.

There was also traditional Pub Crawl between student bars which was quite costly because the cheapest beer was about 3 euros. But it didn’t disappoint – we did “traditional” stuff like undressing, hitting on bartender, getting condoms, exchanging clothes, body shots, but there were also some unconventional things like a reenactment of a world war with flipped over tables (which the bartenders liked so much they pushed us outside).

The Booze Cruise

Thursday meant for me, another coorganizer (girl from Canada) and one fresh organizer great voyage for booze. In Sweden it’s quite common to get alcohol on boats because it’s tax free so we ventured on the island of Åland, finnish region, to buy enough beer for the next days. The average age on the boat was around 75 years and the old guys were throwing away their pension on drinks and gambling. It was the first time we experienced nice weather in Sweden and we also liked a short trip on the coast of the island which was covered by woods and fishing villages.

I was little bit disappointed about the evening that day – there wasn’t anything really planned, we were supposed to go to a club, but noone liked the high entrance fee so we stayed in the hostel playing drinking games and then we moved to a pub. On Friday we went on a Company Visit – we got a look in a local heating plant processing trash which was quite interesting.

At noon we finally visited IKEA! And we had their famous meatballs! Then we started to prepare ourselves for the weekend trip.

Best two nights at the cottage by a lake

Not by pure luck two members of LBG Stockholm chose the weekend trip for visiting their colleagues from Uppsala beause it was certainly the peak of the course. The first night belonged to International Evening, where we had a chance to taste even more unusual stuff like disgusting Canadian rum and soju from South Korea. Czech table offered 3 kinds of Becherovka, Fernet, Svijany beer, pickled sausages, potato pancakes, spa wafers and other stuff. IE brought everyone to a good mood and during the night was a freshly put up Gossip Wall filled without any problems.

Saturday night was a Viking Cantus. Instead of latin used in regular Cantus there was old swedish. Senior became Hövding and instead of ad fundum we drank like a viking. Punisher, an executioner scratching his back with an axe, made all the punishments thematical so there was drinking beer in the style of pointing at birds with bow and so on. One disadvantage of the punisher’s cape was that he wasn’t able to see much, so when I had to drink beer upside down, the beer tht he didn’t pour on the ground went to my nose. After the end of Cantus I introduced everyone to a canadian song Today is Monday, which gets its singer more naked by every verse. Viking helmet was the perfect cover for the private parts and everyone liked the song. Then people also wanted a Shark song, so I gave them that too. Some of us tried also skinny dipping in the near lake during this night.

Last days before leaving

On Sunday after returning to Uppsala we had a BBQ and played several games, flunkyball included. In this originally german game two teams stand opposing each other, everyone has their own beer and in the middle stands a bottle which players try to knock down. If someone succeeds, their team can drink beer until someone from the other team makes the bottle standing again and says “stop”. Team that finishes all their beer first, wins. Main role in this game plays beer, so that’s a good reason to play it at home too.

Next week participants worked on a case study (suggest alternative power source in a developing country) which they also presented. One coorganizer wanted to take part in that too and he could. On Monday it was participants’ turn to make a party. It was a room crawling and during that we also played a killing game so there was a lot of crazy tasks to do. Last night was a formal farewell party with lots of food, drinks, singing and there were also some performances prepared by different teams.

For our team of coorgs I made a song about imbuto (one of us was from Turin where they worship a funnel called imbuto like Holy Grail), which was a success and hashtag #imbutowillfixit became favorite even after the end of the course. Then we began to say our goodbyes and for some of us it was so long that when we left the party place, the first sunlight welcomed us. On our way to the hostel we also met participants which were hurrying to catch the morning flights. All and all, I would recommend coorganizing a course to anyone, and doesn’t matter if it’s just cleaning the dishes or you get much more responsibilites like in my case. All the memories and getting new friends is worth it.