Matei Sebastian is the president of DENTis (International Congress of Dental Medicine for Students and Young Dentists) from Cluj-Napoca. He has been in the organization for the past four years. Matei Sebastian began as a volunteer, but last year he became the president of the association. He shared some information on how this type of event is organized and what he has to do in order to make a better congress every year. This year’s edition of DENTIs will take place between 15-18th of March.
“The most important job for a president is to choose well in which department does each volunteer go. For example, if a person wants to be on a specific department for which he or she is not suitable, you have to find another department in which he may be helpful, but also one that the person in question likes. You have to take into consideration his preferences, but not blindly, because the given role has to be adequate for that certain person in order to obtain the best results.”
Sebastian explained that the organizational team consists of thirty persons, half organizers and half volunteers. Organizers are the persons who were volunteers for at least one year before applying to this position and were voted by the rest of the members. Volunteers can sign in to be part of the organizational team of the congress during the Project Fair held by the Organization for Dental Students. Sebastian said that the volunteers are recruited through an interview. “At the interview, there are questions in which the volunteers have to imagine how to handle crisis situations, in order for us to see if they are helpful in our team. We don’t find experience in this kind of projects as mandatory criteria, but we want to see if the person is sociable and adaptable enough, because in those stressful days of the congress, we don’t have the time to be sensitive with someone who is not doing their job.”
Sebastian said that the organizational process begins at least six months before the congress. During the first meetings, the president is chosen along with the date for the congress. He stated that it’s not a good idea to set the date close to another scientific event, because the lecturers may be unavailable. The next important things to be discussed are the venues for the opening and the closing Gala Dinners, and also the list of lecturers.
“We choose our lecturers carefully, by taking in consideration everyone’s opinion. It is very important that the lecturers were seen by someone from the organization before, because even if they are amazing professors and doctors, they may not be good orators. They are usually observed in other congresses or scientific events and are asked to come because they are good public-speakers, besides professionals.”
Sebastian stated that DENTis is well-known for its attention to the social aspects, along with the scientific ones. Another important part of the congress, one that makes a difference between DENTIs and other similar events in Romania, is the great number of workshops. “It’s harder to control a bigger number of workshops, because most of them take place at the same time and you need someone in every place. It’s worth it because it gives more diversity to the congress.”
“The most difficult part is the paperwork, believe it or not. We try to apply for different funds and this requires a lot of paperwork, signatures and dealing with deadlines. We are lucky that our faculty supports us every time.” He mentioned that another tough thing to do is to synchronize with your team, but if you succeed to do that, nothing stands in your way.
Sebastian ended by saying that he will retire from the organization next year, but he is sure that anyone who will come after him, will try his best to make DENTis a better congress.