A downpour of rain was not enough to dampen the spirits of the valiant EUI staff members who made the trek up the hill to Villa Salviati last week to participate in the seventh annual staff celebration, the State of The Staff (SOS).
150 staff members from different villas across the Institute and their guests gathered together to eat, drink and take part in fun activities, thanks to the generosity of the organising committee who volunteered their time to bring the State of the Staff’s programme together, and to the president for providing beverages and a warm welcome.
Despite an unseasonably rainy showing from the Fiesole weather, the party guests enjoyed a whole host of food, fun, and games in the beautiful setting of the Salviati cloister. The legendary ‘SOSage party’ took pride of place,with hot dogs lovingly prepared for guests by Martin Legner, User Support Coordinator,and Costanza Lari, Inventory Officer in the ICT Service.
The party also featured a speed dating-style meet and greet session where staff from different villas could get to know each other, and a Mad Hatter contest for those guests organised enough to have prepared their hats in advance. As well as the famous SOSages, guests could enjoy culinary offerings from homemade hummus to brownies and pretzels at a potluck buffet of food and drink brought by the staff themselves.
The hottest ticket of the evening proved to be an escape room game organised by the SOS organising committee. With all the slots to participate in this game reserved within hours after the opening of the registration, the lucky staff members who snagged a place tested their problem-solving skills and teamwork while trying to ‘Escape from Salviati Manor’ before the clock ran out. Four teams competed simultaneously to escape their respective rooms, with the Sala dei Levrieri Team proving victorious, solving the puzzles to be set free in the shortest time.
After much fun and games, new friends made, and (perhaps too much) tasty food consumed, it was time for the award ceremony for the Mad Hatter competition. This year, a toadstool-themed offering from Michele Passiatore, ICT Service Site Technician in the Robert Schuman Centre, routed the competition and ran away with the victory. The evening closed with a special performance of spring-themed songs from the EUI choir, which was much appreciated by the party guests.
With another successful year under the EUI’s belt, thanks must go to all who attended, cooked delicious food and brought a sense of fun and participation to an otherwise rainy evening, and of course to the SOS organising committee, who volunteered so much of their time, and without whom the State of the Staff would not have been possible.
Jot Van Der Meijden, Chairman of the Staff Committee, said: “[the State of the Staff] started as a way to let colleagues from different buildings meet and reconnect, who do not interact on a daily basis. And over the years this has become a tradition that’s here to stay! This year’s party was a success and many colleagues appeared to have had a really good time. Special thanks to the contributions of all the volunteers, to the President and the Secretary General, all of whom made this event a success.”
On the subject of the tempest that greeted guests at the beginning of the event, Mr Van der Meijden quipped: “More SOSages for the ones that did make it!”
Photos by Maxell Fox.