St. Gallen Symposium countdown In the last few days before the 41st St. Gallen Symposium, the organisers are working flat out on their preparations. A glance into the house of the International Students’ Committee (ISC) in St.Gallen. 10 May 2011. Under the roof of an old villa in St.Gallen’s Dufourstrasse, matresses have been laid out ready for the night shifts, and the kitchen is stacked with piles of pizza cartons: in the final run-up to the St. Gallen Symposium, there is very little time for sleeping and eating. In the room of the media team, the wires are running hot: journalists are being accredited, provided with information and accommodation in St.Gallen. This year, Flurina Wetter, Philipp Rehbock and five other students of the support crew are responsible for looking after the journalists during the Symposium. Just before and during the conference, they will be supported by other team members. Information brochures and press portfolios must be printed, interviews must be arranged and stories must be coordinated. Benjamin Opel is responsible for posting information on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flickr. Media tour through Europe “The most exciting part of the preparations included visits to editors in France, the UK and Germany in March”, says Flurina Wetter. Their discussions with journalists in other countries provided her and the team members with an insight into the media’s fast-moving daily business, for instance in the newsrooms of news agencies. Communication in the team For just under a year, the organising team has made every effort to recruit exciting speakers, panel chairs and international students from all over the world for the two days in May. Meeting personalities like the politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the peace researcher Prof. Johan Galtung and Christine Lagarde, the French Minister of Economic Affairs, in person provided sufficient motivation. In the last few weeks before the event, all the students involved have regularly exchanged information about the latest developments in mammoth communication rounds. “Communication with the outside world is one thing, but a good exchange is also necessary within the team”, says Flurina. To ensure that the frenzy of activity just before the Symposium does not degenerate into stress, the team members have pledged to be friendly to each other, decreed a moaning ban and set up a barbecue in the garden, which is now in use for the helpers every evening.