Updated March 2019.
How to organize Nordic Summer University (NSU) summer session.
NSU summer session
Nordic Summer University holds every year in late July/early August a 6-day conference in the Nordic and Baltic region.
Reduction of Arrkom
The members of next year’s Arrkom are appointed at the summer session. Preferably a working team is decided at this time including a chair and a person responsible for the economy. If these two key persons are not in place already, the members of the board need to find candidates as soon as possible so that the organizational structure and responsibilities can be worked out.
Arrkom’s overall task
The most important task of Arrkom is to create a summer session where social and intellectual meetings can take place, while giving a taste of the host country to participants. In addition, Arrkom’s task is to facilitate for the board and the coordinating group from the moment they appear on the session – i.e. one day before the session starts – and to assist session participants.
Arrkom manages everything concerning the site, accommodation, meals, etc., while assuring that the framework for the academic activities are in order at the time of arrival, for instance, that there are rooms for all the circles, preferably with computers, white-board and stable wifi-network connection. Arrkom needs to be in contact with respective key person in NSU well ahead of the summer session, in order to be aware of what are their needs and expectations (Key people = board members, Web of office and support, coordinators, children’s circle work group).
Arrkom has full autonomy in planning it’s work, as long as it stays within the limits laid down by the budget and ultimately by the authority of the Board. The board has only to step in as a back-up in case something goes wrong in Arrkom. The chair of Arrkom and the person responsible for the economy are the key persons responsible to the board.
The board and the coordinators are in charge of the academic program. Arrkom has no part in the arrangement of key notes. Besides the practical tasks, the Arrkom is in charge of the social and cultural program.
Calendar for Arrkom’s work
July / August: The chair and person responsible for the economy for next year’s Arrkom are appointed. They are responsible for the summer session. The two names are given in writing to the Secretariat/Officer of Web and Support, and to the board, and the names of new members are added as they join Arkom.
Arrkom consists of:
Typically there are 4 members in Arrkom. Key areas of responsibility during a session include;
1. Chair – Has the overview over the event and the grant & scholarship program.
2. The person responsible for the economy. Also in charge of allocating rooms to participants before the summer event.
3. The person responsible for the culture program
4. Communication manager: website / print-out schedules and any other means of communication between Board/Arrkom and the participants, coordinators and the children’s circle mentor.
Other functions that can be placed on Arrkom members or allocated to assistants:
6. Driver – Has a car and is ready to help out with practicalities during the session. NSU might opt for renting a car.
7. Children’s circle contact person. One member of Arrkom is responsible for the children’s circle is in charge of recruiting youth leaders, and is their contact person in Arrkom’s during the SS.
8. Communication helper (writing, lay-out, printing and/or web support)
Note: The assistant tasks have often been distributed to students in exchange for the reduced price. If so, it is central that they are informed well in advance about what tasks and what hours they are expected to perform tasks. This should be organised in such a way that they can as far as possible have the time free to participate in the study program during.
July/August: It is the task of the board, possibly in contact with the chair of Arrkom, to find a suitable time and place for next years SS. Contact with the place is then transferred to Arrkom.
January / February: Arrkom constitutes itself. It is possible to invite key people from the previous year’s sessions and get advice in this regard. From this moment Arrkom meets on regular basis.
January / February: A preliminary budget is made to be presented for the Board at the board’s winter meeting (note: this might take place in March). The responsible for economy should contact the Board’s responsible for economy as well as FNF concerning this. Agreements to money transfer and accounting are made. A larger sum is typically transferred so that Secretariatet is not burdened with dealing with minor costs. This sum should cover everything in connection with the event. Arrkom writes a presentation of this years summer’s session and post it on the NSU Web site and in the news letters that are sent out. This should include:
- The dates and place.
- Prices of rooms (single, bed in double, family room/price for children, prices for students/scholarships).
- Announcement for youth leaders.
- Possible excursions and other events.
As more information becomes available, for instance, as concerns the excursions and other events etc. this is added to the website. Remember that the session needs to be sold to the participants.
As concerns the prices for rooms, it is important to have a range of price categories available that corresponds with the mix of participants that we want to attract, from the student to the professor. If possible at the session place, it is good if there is one very cheap option, dormatory or/and tenting. Academics with an institutional affiliation tend to have their costs reimbursed, and we encourage Arrkom to set the prices so that the more expensive rooms subsidise the cheaper alternatives.
1st of March: Open call for youth leaders goes out in newsletter (see below)
March: Arrkom and the Board jointly decides on scholarships for the summer session. Board instructs how to go about the financial reporting.
March / April: At this time, Arrkom make contracts about the rental of buses for tours during the excursion day, making sure there is a car available for eventualities, finding hardware required for activities at the session, keeping in mind that many companies are closed on holidays and things can be difficult to arrange in the last minute. The communication might be in need of special equipment or have the right to make photocopies at the place (up to 10,000 ex, depending on if the communication will use electronic format or in paper format).
July 1: The group behind the newspaper releases the first issue of the newspaper, issue no. 0. Registered participants will find information about how to get to the session place, important phone numbers, what to bring with them, etc. in addition to some entertaining texts and enticing pictures. Also a special text should be included that offers the children welcome. It could be designed in cooperation with the youth leaders who probably at this time has plans for the summer children’s circle program. Layout and the name of the newspaper should be ready at this time.
Template for the weekly program is prepared by Arrkom and send to the Board for its meeting in June. After the Board’s approval Arrkom distributes this to the coordinators for them to make the preliminary program for the session.
July (session starts): The board, secretary and coordinator group meets up at the session place one day before the session starts for Fellesmöte. Arrkom cannot count on help from this group because there will be meetings all day, but must be available to arrange with transportation, accommodation and meals.
July (the next day): Guests arrive in the afternoon and the session starts. Arrkom is the host of the session and will welcome the participants, distribute the rooms and welcome them at the first dinner in the evening.
During the week, Arrkom will announce necessary information at breakfast or lunch (about daily activities, practical matters, etc.).
The cultural program
During the summer session, the following cultural elements need to be catered for:
- cultural program
- a football match the last day
The bar is central for people to meet. If the session place agrees, NSU participants can self-organise the bar, so that each study circle is responsible for the bar one night each. It has worked fine also when the session place has managed the bar, provided that we have a deal on decent prices and long opening hours (ideally closing around 2 pm).
What can be offered in the culture program depends on the locality. Ideally, there should be something catering to all kinds of taste, something for the adventurous, something for the culturally interested, something for families… The program should not be too packed, as especially new participants may feel an obligation to participate, and not too empty, as different offers for activities are needed. Also, be aware that many participants need a little time off and will not always participate in cultural activities as they need to meet other participants, seek a little time alone or be with their families.
The Arrkom has free reigns to organise the cultural program at the summer session according to its vision and depending on the local circumstances. That being said, there are traditions that regular participants might be expecting from a summer session, and that Arrkom needs to be aware of. Make use of past experiences and don’t be afraid to ask earlier Arrkom organisers.
List of Arkom’s tasks during each summer session
(In addition to cultural program)
Article for issue no. 0 of Newsletter (used to be known Avisen) and on the Summer Session web page: A general introduction is given to the session. It included a description of the location, how to get there by public transport from major hubs and by car, the history of the place, and the potential for recreational activities (sports, bathing, fishing, and what might be). Information about the distance to the nearest shop and what can be bought there (tooth paste and the like), access to washing machines at the facilities, and therefore what is not needed to bring to the session, are information often wanted. It should remember participants to bring sport equipment if there is a sport event, and evening wear for the gala dinner. There should also be a little teaser on the week’s cultural program. Phone number and email addresses to key persons. Arrkom can take a look at previous year’s newspaper.
Newsletter/Avis – no. 1-5: During the session, the communication towards the participants is continuously updated on the summer session web site, on web and in print, with exception for the excursion day. It should include the day’s program, instructions concerning the facilities, cultural program for the evening, opinion pieces from participants, photos and more light hearted material. A newspaper in paper requires that the session space provides a photocopier, and have service for the machine, if it break down. At previous sessions (with printed newspaper), we have negotiated free use for 10,000 copies, including printer cartridges and paper. Printing the paper takes a considerable amount of manual, night-work. Until the summer session in Falsterbo, in 2011, the editor-in-chief put this job out on students in exchange for subsidised participation fees. At later sessions, experiments have been made with putting all or some of the information on the Internet. This has lowered costs and reduced the workload, but has had drawbacks: not everyone has a smartphones, the wifi-network is not available everywhere and all the time, the material tend not to be read, etc. Feedback from participants suggests a wish to have a paper version of the newspaper, but ultimately it is up to Arrkom to weight the benefits against the costs. The minimum requirement is that the daily program in the morning is printed, and that the information for the general assembly is in paper as well.
Signs: Make sure to mark the various public rooms with sign on their door, and signs showing the way from the main building and on different premises / buildings.
Sports (responsible): Keep track of what’s available such as balls, bats and whatever else may be needed. Make sure that people know how to access to sports as establish arrangements for loans and acceptances for balls mm.
Children’s circle: One person in Arrkom is in charge of appointing the group consisting of at least one, responsible adult person/mentor and 3-5 youth leaders (depending on number of children) that take care of the children’s circle. The responsible person in Arrkom will be in contact with this group throughout the session. The group are in charge of children between 3 to 15 year olds (parents have to look after babies if they bring any) from pm. 9-17, but not at lunch breaks and not at the excursion day. For the sake of relieving the youth leaders of the burden, Arrkom should communicate to parents that the youth leaders can only take care of the children during the time of the study program, not during lunch breaks, not in the evening, not all days in the week.
The call for youth leaders should be announced in Newsletter 1st of March, with a similar procedure as the call for proposals and scholarships and grants. With this announcement, we will define the premises for selecting the youth leaders for the children’s circle. The final decision is taken by Arrkom in dialogue with the responsible person for the children’s circle in the Board. Important factors to weight in when selecting youth leaders are their maturity of the persons, their familiarity with NSU, and the possibility of covering all the languages spoken by the kids. Applications should be send both to the board member responsible for the children’s circle and the responsible in Arrkom. The decision will be made jointly by the Arrkom and the board. The decision will be announced in Newsletter 2. Arrkom decides on the number of youth leaders as part of the budget for SS. The circle has to have a responsible adult with earlier experience from working with children that can be responsible for the overall work of the circle. A good children’s program would include various games, cultural activities, excursions, cinema, sports tournaments baths tours etc. An amount of the budget can be set off to buy hobby materials etc.
Transport: For arrival and departure, Arrkom needs to make inquiries about daily transport service to the facility. A car comes handy for picking up necessities in the nearest town, servicing the session guests (pharmacy or emergency, etc.) and to pick-up guest speakers (keynotes), guests for the cultural program, etc. Make detailed driving program for individual days already known in advance and each morning during the session. Expect the car is going to run a lot. So much so that it is probably good to have two drivers to run in shifts.
Technical appliances: DVD and television, public address systems with microphone (for sports quiz and outdoor soccer commentator), music system for evening use, powerpoint projector, functioning wifi-network. Contact in advance the study group coordinators to find out what the wishes are, and what times they require some equipment. If there are not equipment in every room used by the study circles, it is advisable to make a schedule for booking equipment.
Excursions: The cultural excursions on the excursion day should be varied to cater to the different participants. For instance, a) something more physical (horse riding, mountaineering, etc.) b) something historical or cultural (visit to local museum, guided tour in nearby village, etc.) c) one more child-friendly activity. The excursions will be presented in the first session newspaper. There is a bad habit among participants to sign up late to excursions, and Arrkom is advised to communicate clearly to them that slots on excursions will be allocated according to the first-to-come principle. Tours must be financed by the participants themselves, and there must also be created a system of payment for this.
Responsible Accommodation: Rooms and roommates need to be distributed according to booking by the participants (on a first-come, first served basis). Assure that participants are received on the day of arrival at the session. Have a plan for late arriving guests, also the day after this service might be needed. Provide a system that goes to the check-out goes smoothly, and all the keys are handed over. The accommodation providers must make sure to notify the hotel if people come later or flight days earlier, so that NSU does not have to pay for expensive nights if the beds are empty anyway.
The football match; This week’s culmination is the big football game, the humanities versus social sciences.
Bulletin Board: Placed centrally, probably at the entrance to the dining room, a large flip chart where key information can be announced.
Website: Main information on the program, Arrkom members, how to get information, changes in schedules, blog posts from participants, travel arrangements, etc, available to the participants before, during and after the Summer Session.
After the Summer Session
Document for honorarium/fee for keynotes/arrkom/youth leaders/mentor of the youth leaders & performers of the cultural program: honorarium-form-eng
Document for travel/subsidy for keynotes/arrkom/youth leaders/mentor of the youth leaders & performers of the cultural program: travel-eng
Document for the certificate for youth leaders: NSU-youth-leader-ceritificate
Send financial report based on Board’s instructions to treasurer after end of the Summer Session.
Self-evaluation report of Arrkom (Template)
Document for self-evaluation of Arrkom to email@example.com: Self-evaluation-Arrkom-Template
Document the in-kind contribution of the time invested as Arrkom members: please fill it out and send it to the treasurer of the Board latest by December 15th. Template: http://support.nsuweb.org/coordinators/in-kind-contribution-form/