Article for Avançons No. 4 2013 CING Continental Europe
CING-CE Annual Meeting in Zurich - the centre of gravity for Chalmers Alumni in Continental Europe
On my way back on the German motorway from Zurich to Munich, I could, not without some malicious joy, look at the several tens of kilometres of traffic jam in the other direction with all the Swiss guys who left Switzerland for the weekend to avoid facing the Chalmers Alumni society in their own yard, I could, at good German highway speed, recapitulate the most important lessons learned through the three days of annual meeting with the CING-CE in Zurich 2013.
Some of you might wonder why is Claesconny writing in English – has he suddenly lost his mother tongue? Not at all, and this is the most remarkable lesson learned, many members of the fastest growing group of CING’s members, the international master students spending their master year at Chalmers, getting overwhelmed by Chalmers Spirit, do not speak or understand Swedish at all! – let’s face it: we have very few updated presentations in anything but Swedish on our CING home page or in Avançons. This fact was suddenly very obvious to me and the CE board as Franisek Kinces spoke up during the meeting – and we switched meeting language to English on the run.
The event took up speed already on Friday at noon with golf for a small group. Raining cats and dogs all morning, as we came to tee 2 the sun came out and we could take of the rain jacket and were able to play the complete round including hole 19 in short sleeve shirts, not bad for early October. A larger group participated in a presentation on what’s going on deep below the surface underneath the “Zürich Hauptbahnhof” as well as a guided tour through the station. For the evening Gunilla had found a nice Italian restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, where the two groups came together meeting old and new friends.
Over the years we have always had buses to transport the participant from one event to the other. In Zurich you do not do it that way – they have an extremely well working bus-,tram- and train network to bring you anywhere you want. You just buy a “Zürich-card” and you can for few CHF use the network for 24 hours as much as you like. Everybody armed with the Zurich-card, split into two groups we took off for the Beyer clock museum to be guided through the history of Swiss clock manufacturing from medieval time to our days of precision mechanical chronograph watches costing more than most homes. The early group then had a good hour time to look at the older parts of Zurich in the nice mild weather walking down to the Zurich See.
With drawn Zurich-cards we boarded a boat for a tour on the lake. As it was already in October only the short tour was available so we stretched the use of the Zurich-card and made two tours, one clockwise and one counter clockwise to give us enough time for lunch and a couple of beers. Back in the harbour everybody had the opportunity to look at down-town Zurich.
The Crown Plaza Hotel hosted the annual meeting on Saturday evening. About 40 alumni had found their way to Crown Plaza to participate. The formal annual meeting paragraphs passed through in regular CING spirit, firstly on paragraph 9, “How do we get more alumni for our activities” the discussion to speed – and we suddenly realised that we have a large and growing group of members, the masters, of which many do not speak or understand Swedish at all! We immediately switched meeting language from Swedish to English for the continuation of the meeting, leaving the CING Gothenburg and CTH representatives to face the task of talking English to prepared Power-Point slides in Swedish, a task they managed with honour. This is an obvious hint for all of us for the future – we have to be more international, even if some of us Swedes living far away from the old country welcomes the CING annual meetings to be Swedes for some days. Of course we were late for the dinner after these lengthy discussions, but Gunilla, sending mails to the kitchen from her iPhone kept the dinner hot until we were finished. I’m sorry, but I can’t remember how we managed such a situation before we had iPhones, maybe did we eat our dinner cold?
As Sten Rydman, our treasurer, board member in CING-CE since 13 years did not want to candidate for re-election so we gave him a big hand and small present to show our gratitude to Sten for his very valuable contribution to the development of CING-CE over all those years. The rest of the board members were willing to re- candidate for another year and as Frantisek nominated himself voluntarily the election could be finished in few minutes.
As always Fredde had the right tone for “Livet är härligt…” and we could finish the day with a superb dinner.
Sunday morning we again used our Zurich cards to take the tram to an old mill to be guided through the process of making flour from wheat grains. For the following lunch we returned to the site of the crime, “Hauptbahnhof” to get something to eat and to say “Auf Wiedersehen” to old and new friends until next meeting somewhere in Europe.
Conny Claesconny Sundberg
For some impressions of the get-together in Zurich, please see here