Team of the Month 09/2019: The main organizers of the WU Summer Celebration

10,000 guests, live performances by internationally famous musicians, and an enthusiastic crowd that kept the party going until the wee hours of the morning – that was the 4th edition of the WU Summer Celebration. But the Summer Celebration also involved over 7,000 meters of cables that had to be laid, 3.5 tons of waste to be disposed, and event plans that filled several hundred pages. Organizing the event was a major team effort that involved many different WU units. In recognition of this outstanding work, the September Team of the Month award goes to the main organizers of the WU Summer Celebration: Philipp Laurenz Amon-Luger (safety and security), Claudia Andre (infrastructure), Beat Binggeli (lead coordinator), Florian Bruckmoser (event management), Daniela Huter (event design and marketing), Claudia Lambor (facilities), Andrea Pusch (staff management and raffle), Heike Rössler (social media), Kathrin Schmid-Holubowsky (WU Awards), Martina Steiner-Jongen (sponsoring), and Ulrike Überreiter (WU Awards project head).

The WU Summer Celebration was launched four years ago, and since then, it has been drawing thousands of guests every year, growing bigger and bigger every time. It brings together WU faculty and staff, students, alumni, partners, and area residents, turning Campus WU into a stage for performances by famous Austrian musicians. The diverse program offers something for all ages.

“The Summer Celebration is not only a tradition for celebrating the end of a successful academic year, it’s also an important networking event that further strengthens WU’s reputation as an open-minded university and a place where people come together and exchange ideas,” says Beat Binggeli (Marketing & Communications), the lead coordinator of the Summer Celebration project.

With such a high-profile event, it’s very important to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This means that thorough preparation is key – the organizers started planning the 2019 Summer Celebration over a year ago.

Cooperation across many different units

The Marketing & Communications office was in charge of overall project management. The Event Management and Campus Management teams and the Corporate Relations & Alumni Services office also played key roles in the organization of the event, along with the units reporting to Vice-Rector for Academic Programs and Student Affairs, IT-SERVICES, the Legal Affairs Office, and the WU staff councils.

Following the Rector’s Council’s go-ahead for the event at the beginning of the year, the organizers started to implement their plans and concepts: They contacted the artists, planned the street food market, developed a communication campaign, and went looking for sponsors. At the same time, they started organizing the third edition of the WU Awards ceremony, the event that traditionally kicks off the WU Summer Celebration.

The WU Summer Celebration has grown larger and larger over the years, evolving from an academically oriented event into a fun party for the WU community. There are many things that need to be taken into account when organizing such a large-scale event. For example, the organizers of the Summer Celebration had to ensure compliance with a large number of official requirements imposed by the authorities.

300 pages of plans and 117 official requirements

From the time when the organizers first contacted the Vienna municipal department MA36, it took over ten months until the authorities finally approved the event. From noise management measures and emergency evacuation plans to the technical concept – together with the Safety & Security Management team and the Event Management office, the organizers drew up a 300-page document with detailed plans and guidelines for the event. In addition, the City of Vienna specified 117 official requirements that had to be met – and thanks to the professional work of the cross-unit project team, it was possible to fulfill them all.

All units worked together very efficiently, and the communication worked out well. All team members were clear about their roles and responsibilities, and they all did a great job. Claudia Lambor from Campus Management says, “The Summer Celebration is always one of the highlights of the year for me. I’m particularly happy with the good teamwork across all units involved. We’d also like to thank the facility management staff, technical staff, and cleaning staff who cleaned up the area after this huge event and made sure that the campus was ready for academic work again on the next day.”