REINVENTION OF ASSOCIATIVE LIFE #5 BEE RESPONSIBLE
Published on 02/5/2021
Is the school’s student society and association life on the way out? Not really. At the start of the world health crisis, NEOMA students intensified their efforts and applied their imagination to stay connected with their members. Proof of that can be seen in BEE RESPONSIBLE, NEOMA’s apiculture association.
1) How did you adapt your activities during the lockdown?
The very core of our activity was not affected. We cannot make the bees wait. We have a beekeeping calendar to follow, whether there is a lockdown or not, a curfew or not. Thanks to different exemptions, we were able to go to campus in very small groups. We also had to go to Angers to collect swarms that we bought, so we needed to handle the logistics for this. In the end, we pulled it off. The beekeeper who came with us cared for the swarms before going to campus, which made it possible for us to develop the twenty-four hives today.
2) How have you managed to create a sense of cohesion in the association in spite of the social distancing?
We needed to include the first-year members, and I did not want them to lose their motivation at the start of the year. We decided to have Zoom meetings once a week so they could get to know each other. That was a very effective strategy. When we finally meet up, we’ll already know each other.
We also established clear tasks right at the start so they could get to work. We contacted the communication hub in particular so it could help manage our social networks. Previously, we published from time to time. Now we have a real publication calendar.
3) Have you had to reinvent anything?
We reinvented the distribution system for our products. Normally, we sell honey and candles on campus, and obviously the Christmas market was cancelled. With Viking, the association that publishes the Rouen guide and brews its own beer, we decided to create a Christmas pack together. That got the teams working. They needed to manage logistics, the booklet, communication, home delivery, etc. This gave the first-year members a chance to get involved. We sold 200 packs.
We also reworked our apiculture courses. Last year, they were held every week on campus. We went over all of them to create general lessons and then we made entertaining, live Kahoot multiple-choice quizzes.
4) What have you and your association learned from this experience?
The situation required us to become more organised. We needed not just a plan A but a plan B and C as well. For a simple venue on campus, we needed to create groups, decide who can come, who is handling logistics, etc.
From a managerial standpoint, I have learned that people need to feel comfortable before they can invest their time and effort. For example, since the start, while we build connections, if new members propose ideas, it’s important that they feel we are listening to them and taking their ideas seriously. The Zoom meetings were very important.
Thanks to Clara Mougin, president of Bee Responsible