On Wednesday evening, the Blauwe Zaal in the Auditorium is slowly filling up with almost one hundred working students; they’re here for a final briefing on MomenTUm. To kick things off, last year’s after-movie is shown on the big screen. “We do the same thing during the first meeting in April with all the organizing parties every year,” says organizer and CEC employee Liesbeth Castelijns. “That way, we can get in the mood.”
Together with event agency Artishock, working students and a group of staff from her service, she has been preparing for the event for months. “In the beginning, I do this in addition to my other duties, but then from July, I really work on MomenTUm full-time.”
So many components
Thast's because there is a lot of work to be done, she explains. “It’s a big event because it consists of so many different components. For the graduation ceremonies, we make arrangements for the halls and their decoration and set-up. We coordinate with student administrations when we can invite students and where they can register. We organize the event around the Academic Awards and the awarding of the Best Teacher Awards and also handle communications for both. And then, of course, there’s the MomenTUm ceremony: we decide upon the content, the number of stands and the setting. It's always more or less the same, but still, something is different every time.”
There are steering group meetings every month, which include Rector Frank Baaijens, campus manager Safety & Security Gijs Spiele and Patrick Groothuis, director of ESA, among others. “They contribute their thoughts.” And other than that, it is just a matter of arranging a whole lot of things, according to Castelijns. “Ordering things, making sure people know what to do, making roadmaps, cleaning, catering: enough to keep me busy.” It is a lot of balls to keep in the air, but the organizer does not appear stressed. That is because this year, everything – at least up to now – is under control, she says Thursday morning during the first general rehearsal.
That morning, Rector Baaijens and the President of the Executive Board, Robert-Jan Smits, visited MetaForum to go over their speeches with Artishock director Huibert Wilschut. Smits will be given a note card during the show by a drone that will be piloted by Sieuwe Elferink of student team MultiRotorResearch. During the rehearsal, Smits has to reach for the card a couple of times. “It’s a bit like snap apple ”, says Baaijens, who looks on laughingly. It would be all the more amusing, he thinks, if the same thing happens during the actual show. The atmosphere is relaxed, everyone is looking forward to it.
One of the few obstacles Castelijns had to deal with later that day was that one of the stands could not be used because of damage in the roof of the MetaForum. “In theory, that damage wouldn’t be a safety hazard, but we didn’t want to take the risk. We decided to move some seats and close off that section with fencing”, she says the next day. Despite the empty stand, there are still enough seats available for everyone attending the ceremony.
On Friday, when the crowd swarms into the hall, Castelijns will once again be reminded of what she did it all for. “There’s always a moment when I think: I’m never doing this again! This time, it was last week. There was still so much to be done and all sorts of things got in the way. In those moments, it seems like it’s not going to work out. But then, when the show starts, I know: things are going well now and everything will be all right. And then I can simply enjoy the show, covered in goosebumps, and I know for certain that I’ll do it again next year!”