Campus - 26.04.2017 - 00:00 

400 students help at the Symposium

The 47th St. Gallen Symposium on the topic of "The dilemma of disruption" will be launched on the campus of the University of St.Gallen on 3 May. The international conference relies in particular on the commitment of about 400 HSG students. An article by student reporter Ann-Sophie Kowalewski.

27 April 2017. The first batch of the approx. 400 voluntary helpers have been at work on the University campus since Wedesday, 26 April 2017 in order to make the final preparations for this year’s St. Gallen Symposium. As a platform for intergenerational dialogue, the conference has provided an annual forum for intensive discussions about issues that affect our society and our economy for almost half a century. The event is organised by the International Students’ Committee (ISC), which consists of students of the University of St.Gallen who interrupt their studies for their voluntary work for the ISC in order to be able to fully focus on the Symposium.

Johannes Kempf is one of the 34 team members in the 47th Symposium and regards the ISC as a strong initiative whose international events and the Symposium itself contribute towards the reputation of the University and the location of St.Gallen. In addition, the team also provides students with special events in everyday university life. Last summer, for instance, it organised a freely accessible panel discussion with Dominic Barton, Managing Director of McKinsey & Company.

Grateful for support

"The three days in May" are the shared objective that unites the ISC members during the months of their work. Yet it would be inconceivable to stage the event despite this commitment if it were not for the additional voluntary support provided by students of the University during the fortnight around the Symposium. This year, is it again undergraduates, in particular, who are working for the initiative in the fields of "Services", "Tech", "Food & Beverage", "Social Sessions", "Innovation & Technology", "Leaders of Tomorrow" and "Communication". Raphael Burger, one of the three leaders of the Organising Committee, is appreciative of this support: "We’re grateful that we’re able to rely on the support of about 400 fellow students every year. It’s only thanks to them that the campus can be turned into a conference venue and that the event is imbued with a student touch. For it’s precisely this mixture of high quality content and student touch which makes us unique."

A sense of community at the Symposium

The participants’ appreciation of this voluntary work is also felt by the helpers at the Symposium. Johannes Kempf worked as a helper at the last three Symposia before becoming an active team member himself. He reports from experience that the Symposium is a good opportunity "for taking a break from everyday student life and for getting to know many motivated fellow students with similar interests within a very short period of time." Former volunteers confirm that besides exciting challenges and international contacts, it is the sense of community at the Symposium that is incomparable. Karim Bugglé is a student in the second semester of the Master’s level and is volunteering for the second time this year: "Being part of one of the HSG’s biggest events that is well-known both nationally and internationally was an important factor for me. Also, the conference enables helpers to get into contact with interesting personalities."

This year’s St. Gallen Symposium will take place on the HSG campus from 3 to 5 May 2017. Whilst the area is only open to participants, anyone who is interested will be able to participate in specified background sessions in the University Library or view the various events online.

This year’s event will be followed immediately by the preparations for the 48th St. Gallen Symposium. Students who are interested will be able to learn more about the experiences and functions in the ISC Team on the occasion of the Join the Team Event on 10 May.

Ann-Sophie Kowalewski is studying Strategy and International Management (SIM-HSG) in the second semester.

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