Categories
Issue 8 News

First virtual S3/S3++ Christmas reunion

🕒 4 min

For the majority of Croatian S3 alumni that are studying or working abroad, it has been a rather normal thing to meet up with friends in Zagreb during Christmas time. And of course, if some of your friends are also S3 alumni, the typical S3/S3++ Christmas reunion is a must! It’s always been an opportunity to meet new people and reunite with the old ones from over the past decade.

That was up until 2020, the year when everything changed, the year when doing social activities online became the new norm. So we thought, why not have our first virtual Christmas reunion?

We started just as we normally would – we had to decide on the date, time and place. Since we decided to use Airmeet, a virtual space that can now host hundreds of people, as well as there being alumni spanning several years of S3, we decided to go with a three-day-long reunion. We scheduled our meetings as follows:

28th December: S3/S3++ 2013 – 2016
29th December: S3/S3++ 2017 – 2019
30th December: S3/S3++ 2001 – 2012

Everyone was free to join any meeting, of course. Additionally, all of the scheduled events occurred in the afternoon so people from American time zones could also join. And contrary to our typical reunions, we decided to host some of our alumni at different career levels for a mini-talk program.

We invited people to join us for our yearly get-together. However, with one main difference this time – we were free to invite everyone! What was once a dream (meeting someone from your international S3 gang again), has become a reality.

How did it go?

A total of 500 people were invited, out of which 75 joined, 12 joining on multiple days. Some even joined all three meetings. And although this came out to just 15% of all invitees, we were super happy with the outcome! After all, this was our first attempt at a virtual reunion.

Additionally, we actually recorded our talks so even if you were not at the reunion, you can watch the talks on our YouTube channel (links are attached to the respective dates).

Here are some more details:

Day 1: S3/S3++ 2013 – 2016
  • 19 people joined, out of which 12 students (master’s and PhD)
  • 9 countries were represented: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Switzerland, UK
  • 3 talks: Jelena Tica, Domagoj Gajski, Marieke F. Buffing
  • 1 online game
Day 2: S3/S3++ 2017 – 2019
  • 50(!) people joined, out of which 42 students (high school, bachelor’s, master’s and PhD)
  • 13 countries were represented: Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, US
  • 4 talks: Nikola Jurkovic, Julia Hamblin-Trué, Srinath Krishnamurthy, Matija Zesko
Day 3: S3/S3++ 2001 – 2012
  • 21 people joined, out of which 8 students (bachelor’s and PhD)
  • 11 countries were represented: Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, US
  • 3 talks: Nemanja Jankovic, Inja Radman, Luka Opasic

Feedback

After our event, we sought out some feedback from our audience. We asked them a few questions about their expectations (seeing some old colleagues, listening to interesting talks, learning more about S3 alumni, meeting new people) and if they were met (95% confirmed), what they liked the most (lounge conversations 75% vs mini talks 10%) or how likely they are to join again (85%). We got the most varied responses about whether we should do it again in the same format, separated into three days, or make it a single day event. The majority were undecided, with the rest being almost equally split between one and the other.

Before sharing a few testimonials, let me give a shout out to everyone who said that they would love to join us, the newsletter team, or even the Society for Out-of-Frame Education (EVO). We will individually contact you over the following weeks to discuss how you could join our community.

Finally, on behalf of the organizing team, thank you all for joining and we hope to see you again next year!

Testimonials

Here are few quotes collected through our feedback form:

I loved it! I reconnected with some friends and enjoyed the talks cause they were not boring.

Laura

It was great to give a talk and meet people that usually would not be present during a reunion due to the type of event it was in person.

Matija Z

The members of the S3 community have a passion unmatched anywhere else. Just by standing near them, you are nourished by their zeal.

Renan

Such an amazing event in that stressful year! I was so glad to catch up with my friends and mentors from S3 2018 (and meet new people), as well as to hear some presentations that tickled my interests.
Until next time!

Jovana

I wasn’t really expecting anything, but boy, the meeting was so good.

Tommaso

I was really glad that so many of us from the old gang managed to gather together. It was nice to catch up with everyone!

Drazen

I really enjoyed seeing some of my friends again and meeting new people. The talks about universities were really interesting, I would do it again.

Federico

It was amazing to see both new and familiar faces and catch up for the 10+ years. Loved the online version of the reunion, as this was the first time I was able to attend! I had so much fun, and learned some new stuff in the process.

Ana

Next best thing apart from the actual reunion, maybe even more so because it is much easier for the alumni outside Croatia to participate. Keep it going!

Matija P

The reunion was great. I caught up with many people I haven’t seen in more than 3 years. It was super to see what they were up to and what they are doing now. I like that it was online, because the reunions that were organized in Croatia weren’t so easily attendable as this. I think that this kind of reunion is better, and that it should keep getting organized.

Adam

By Petra Gerber

Computational biologist focused on single cell data. Board game enthusiast and passionate about talking with our alumni.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.