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At the end of March 2024, Rouen hosted the Challenge Ecricome for the first time in seven years. NEOMA students worked over many months to organise it. Julie Fabre, a student in the Master 2 programme in International Project Management, is president of the student society. She talks about the yearlong preparation and the incredible experience.

The Challenge Ecricome, the third largest student sport event in France

“The Challenge Ecricome is an inter-business school sport competition. It’s the third largest student sport event in France and hosts around 2,100 students each year who participate in nine disciplines: team sports like basketball, volleyball, rugby and football, as well as athletics, e-sport and cheerleading. The competition lasts four days”.

In Rouen for the first time in seven years

“NEOMA is a school with a long history in the Challenge Ecricome. So, we had a bit of an obligation to put on a spectacular event. We put this pressure on ourselves because it was the first time hosting in seven years. We needed to provide a level of quality that matched the occasion, and I think that we succeeded”.

Managing a budget of 400,000 euros

“We really started working on it in September 2023. We had nine months of intense work every day to arrive at this result. We organised every aspect of the entire competition, from sports to event planning and festivities, plus evening events and the logistics. We provided the participants with a pass that included accommodation, dining and access to all of the competitions over four days. The competition’s budget was 400,000 euros”.

A very motivated 38-person team

“The team had 38 members. For me, it was a challenge to manage so many people as well as a large student society and large project. But it was rather easy because all of the students had a lot of passion for the project and it wasn’t hard to push them and get them to work. It was really great to see how we all were working towards the same goal and how we all wanted to hold a fun event”.

On campus at 5:30 in the morning

“On 29 March, we were on campus at five-thirty in the morning. We needed to open up for the students who came to build the stands at six a.m. All the schools then arrived at four p.m. at the Kinderarena forecourt. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it. It is my one small regret since it was a moment that we all wanted to see. So, all the schools that arrived were very festive and that set the tone for the following three days. The costumes and loud marching bands, everyone was having a good time. It was crazy”!

Four days at a frantic pace

“During the challenge, the team is always on campus at five-thirty and then each person has their own schedule. Each person has their focus. If it’s dining, they go handle that. If it’s sport, they go to the facilities, etc. And then for those who do not have a focus like me, we are checking up on everything to see if it’s all going well. We answer questions and offer help if needed. It’s like that from five-thirty in the morning until two a.m. the next morning. Then we head home and try to sleep for an hour or two if we can”.

The 2024 awards

“For the 32nd event, the winners were Marseille for the Atmosphere Award, Montpellier for the Fair Play Award and Reims for the Sport Award”.

Smiles as a reward

“Succeeding in putting a smile on so many faces for four days, that is something that is quite incredible, which is difficult to do in normal life I think. And I have the impression that people were nonetheless happy with this year’s event. The Challenge is an exceptional, festive and easy-going event. There are colours everywhere, costumes, make-up, marching bands and student-built structures. The delegations surprise us each year with innovations. It really is quite a sight. Each year it’s completely crazy and we come away from it with wonderful memories”.