SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
2 November 2017
Volume 18 Issue 11

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Students Volunteers Wanted for SETAC Rome

Delphine Delire, SETAC Europe Communications Manager

SETAC Europe is looking for students to assist on-site during the SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting, which will be held from 13–17 May 2018 in Rome, Italy.

Not only will you have a chance to network at an international scientific meeting with SETAC professionals, but you will have the opportunity to develop a working relationship with the meeting organizers and SETAC staff. It is a perfect place to learn how meeting registration operates, platform and poster sessions run and how the overall meeting program is facilitated.

There are plenty of tasks students can fulfill, including activities such as assisting in session and meeting rooms, registering delegates, helping with IT facilities, uploading or downloading presentations, coordinating signposts, organizing awards, or lending talents to photography and SETAC videos, just to name a few.

In addition to this unique experience, volunteers will receive a free conference registration for the SETAC Europe 2018 and 2019 annual meetings. Additionally, they will enjoy a one-year free SETAC membership. Moreover, during the SETAC Rome meeting you will get free accommodation and a free ticket for the student party.

A Spotlight on Three Great Student Volunteers

We have interviewed a few student volunteers about their experience at the SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting last May in Brussels, Belgium.

Patrick Baudy
PhD student at the University of Landau

Ellen Michiels
PhD student at the University of Antwerpen

Oliver Weisner
MSc student at the University of Landau

SETAC Europe (SE): Why did you offer to volunteer at SETAC Brussels?

Baudy: Many of my colleagues at my department volunteered at former SETAC meetings while working on their PhD. As everyone reported very positive experiences at the conferences, I was encouraged to do the same and applied as a helper for the annual meeting in Brussels.

Michiels: I offered to volunteer because I wanted to experience SETAC at least one time from “the other side.” When working towards a PhD, you are focused on one little part of science, and I wanted to broaden my expertise beyond scientific skills (for example, practicing my language skills, organizing skills, etc.)

Weisner: While studying ecotoxicology, I heard quite a lot about SETAC during my lectures. Colleagues were talking about fun times in nice cities, meeting related scientists from all over the world. I assumed being part of SETAC as a student volunteer is an easy way to get a very close look of what’s happening there. Supporting the organizational team makes you directly take part in that event and experience it first hand.

SE: What were your tasks?

Baudy: During the conference, I was mainly working at the welcome desk, registering and informing conference attendees. Now and then I assisted the administrative staff by setting up posters, helping decorate, handing out evaluation forms and much more. Nevertheless, there was still some time to see a couple of talks I was interested in.

Michiels: My main task was to give the exhibitors and artists their badge and to show the exhibitiors where their booth was and, if necessary, to help them with anything that they needed (for example, making goodie bags).

Weisner: I was tasked to capture the entire conference on video. Therefore, I grabbed the camcorder and strayed on the site all day and had to/was able to attend every key moment throughout the week (nice dinners included) and talk to many interesting participants.

SE: What did you find the most fun about it?

Baudy: In the previous year, I attended my first SETAC meeting in Nantes as a visitor. This time, attending as a volunteer experiencing the whole conference from another perspective was for me the most fun about it. Furthermore, I enjoyed getting to know the nice and motivated SETAC staff members as well as the other volunteers.

Michiels: I had as much fun during the day than in the evenings. I really liked working together with such a nice and efficient group. Because the staff members are so experienced, it is like a well-oiled machine, so there is room for laughing in between.

Weisner: For one thing, it was nice to witness all sorts of events: presentations, meetings, the student party, the Science Slam, etc. The job offered me to get a glimpse of everything going down at the SETAC conference. Secondly, having the job and wearing the volunteer shirt makes it easy for you to get in contact with all other attendants. 

SE: What did you gain by volunteering and what were the advantages?

Baudy: For me it was a great experience to get an insight into the organization of this conference, which is of major relevance for my research. Moreover, a big advantage was the possibility to attend the conference without any funding, since SETAC refunded the conference fee as well as provided a nice accommodation for all volunteers.

Michiels: Getting a free ticket for the student party was something that we knew in advance, but there is so much more that you gain by volunteering! You get to know other students from other countries, you can learn some things “behind the scenes,” etc. The experience of the SETAC meeting is just more complete when you can experience it as a volunteer.  

Weisner: Most importantly, I had a very exciting and eclectic week with lots of impressions. Besides, by volunteering you avoid the conference fees and are provided with an accommodation with your volunteering colleagues. That way, I got to know many other students from different countries from related fields of science, and since volunteers are invited to the respective conference one year later, we are all looking forward to meeting each other again in Rome.

SE: Could you please add anything else about your experience at SETAC Brussels?

Baudy: I was highly impressed by the efforts and commitment the SETAC administrative staff invests to drive these annual meetings, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to support them in Brussels.

Michiels: If you want to see a presentation or a poster, you always get some free time to see it, which is also a very positive thing about the organization.

Weisner: Being a mixture of exchanging the latest scientific findings and trends and spare time activities, SETAC Brussels was a very cool experience. Two thousand people with different backgrounds, coming together to discuss and exchange and having the same intentions, created a fascinating ambiance.

So, are you ready to experience a meeting in a way you never did before? Apply by 31 December and fill out the form available on the SETAC Rome website. Fun is guaranteed!

SETAC Rome Upcoming Deadlines

29 November: Abstract submission deadline
31 December: Student volunteer application
22 January: Registration opens
20 March: Early registration deadline for delegates, presenters and session chairs

For more information about SETAC Rome, visit

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