13 happy oikos alumni went to Flumserberg, Switzerland, on the 6th of February 2016 to enjoy a sunny day in the snow. To our knowledge, it was the first event of this kind as long as any of the (younger) participants could remember. The idea was to add a new kind of alumni happening to the knowledge exchange that already periodically takes place (e.g. oikos Alumni Debates): a trip purely for fun with the aim of creating or reinforcing bonds between oikees of different generations.
In this, we seem to have been quite successful: most alumni were at early, yet different stages of their career. Some had stopped being active members years ago, some just recently, one was still an active board member. Every single participant met new people and due to the ski setting (i.e. the automatic breakup into smaller groups of 2-5) could also get to know them better.
Although originally taken into consideration, there was no given topic to be discussed during the day. The event’s frame was rather created by the plan of the day:
1) travel together to the ski area by train,
2) have lunch together at a mountain restaurant (seats were reserved),
3) enjoy “après-ski” drinks at 16.30 and then return back to Zurich together.
Apart from forming bonds, another goal was to foster self-initiative. Participants should be encouraged to organise their own events in the future, big or small, because they may want to reconnect with more and more people as the network develops. It remains to be seen if this will be the case.
If you want to organize this type of events in your region, here are some lessons learned:
Invitation: we invited possible participants through Facebook, Linked-in and e-mail. The organisers Lukas and Linus knew all participating alumni, which certainly was no coincidence. People whom we only knew indirectly failed to show up. It is thus crucial to engage with well-connected alumni or to organise the event as a team with members from different “oikos generations” to get a big group together.
We sent out the first doodle two months in advance (location and kind of event already decided) and confirmed date and the plan for the day a bit more than a month before.
How many? 2 organisers, 11 more joined
Costs: about CHF 60-100.- (train, ski pass, equipment, food)
Location: Flumserberg: a ski town about 1 hour from Zurich, where a large number of alumni lives. This made things a lot easier. Only two participants came from somewhere else (Bern and St. Gallen).
Follow-up: None, might make sense though (feedback to ask about ways to improve future events).
By Linus Grob