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ECTS 2022 at Messukeskus Helsinki

Credits: Krisztian Juhasz www.viennamotion.at

Krisztian Juhasz holding a speech at Messukeskus Helsinki
Credits: Krisztian Juhasz www.viennamotion.at

Success through partnership

”Partnership” is the word Roberta Mugnai, Executive Director of ECTS (European Calcified Tissues Society), used to describe her experience of working with the professionals at Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre (Messukeskus) to organize their annual congress in May 2022.

Helsinki won the bid to host the annual ECTS Congress of the European Calcified Tissues Society in winter 2020, just shortly prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. The emergence of the omicron virus in November 2021 did not slow down the execution plans of the congress. However, low registration numbers caused worries. Early bird registration fees failed to draw attendees in spring 2022. Low registration numbers are most likely the result of a new behavior of last-minute decision-making, confirmed by other congress organizers as well. Only 20% of the participants registered with the early-bird fee in 2022, compared to 80% of the pre-Covid years.

But finally, eager discussions, hugs, laughter and smiling faces filled the luminous halls of Messukeskus Helsinki in the beginning of May 2022. The joy of meeting face to face was tangible, as the very first hybrid ECTS conference attracted 730 people to Helsinki. Two hundred participants followed the scientific content online, but they missed the party of the year in downtown Helsinki that lasted to the early hours of the last conference day. 

Sustainability played an important role

Sustainability was embedded in the congress execution, especially in catering. Porcelain dishes and tap water, instead of bottled water, were some of the small actions to tackle the throw-away culture. A vegan day reduced the CO2 emissions by 958 CO₂e kg, while upholding the quality and innovativeness of the catering service. 

Messukeskus Helsinki has partnered with Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science on many occasions. This time the event management students took over all the functions of the floor staff. This also demanded more commitment from ECTS. The association hired an event management student as an intern for six months. One of her tasks was to plan and manage the student team together with ECTS, Interplan and Messukeskus Helsinki. 

Thirty event management students added valuable experience to their CV. The team members were carefully selected, and their activities were planned and managed by a student, Rauna Graulus, as part of her internship. The students, with the enthusiasm and excitement to put their studies in practice, provided a very professional service and this created a valuable legacy for the event. 

Sustainable event organized at Messukeskus. Commitments: vegetarian day, tap water offered and promoted, use of organic and reusable materials, offering work for student volunteers, encourage use of public transportation.

Happy moments in Helsinki

In spite of the bumpy road to the final execution, the first international association conference at Messukeskus Helsinki after the Covid-19 pandemic was a positive experience.

“Even though I was exhausted, I did not want to leave Helsinki when the congress was over. I was so happy there,” commented Ms. Mugnai, one week after the congress.

Text: Paula Blomster, Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre (Messukeskus)

ECTS participants in front of Messukeskus Helsinki
Credits: Krisztian Juhasz www.viennamotion.at