Elina Siivola: Behind the Scenes at Echo Whiskey

Datum: Jan 1st, 2013
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Category: international

“Echo Whiskey to Flo,” that’s the one phrase Elina Siivola will dream of after three days of working at the WUDC. Elina, from the University of Helsinki, Finland, is a runner at Berlin Worlds. She is part of the machinery behind the tournament: distributing ballots, guiding debaters into rooms, reminding judges not to go over time and bringing ballots safely back to the tab room. And while getting ballots in quickly is the top priority, Elina still strives to be friendly and helpful to judges and participants.

Elina Siivola is volunteering at WUDC in the running team. Originally from Finland, she is currently studying in Germany and debating in the debating society in Munich.

Elina Siivola is volunteering at WUDC in the running team. Originally from Finland, she is currently studying in Germany and debating in the debating society in Munich.

When the draw is ready, Elina takes all her ballots and it’s time to start running to Echo Whiskey – which is the EW-building, spelled in radio-alphabet so as not to confuse it with EB. The relative remoteness of EW ensures that Elina gets plenty of exercise every round. “But this is good after all my Christmas dinners,” Elina said. And then the radio work starts: replacing missing judges and calling in swing teams. All this, of course, in communication with Flo Umscheid, chief of runners and the tab room.

And when everything is settled? “That’s the magic moment when I can finally see some debates”, she says. “And I admit, this is a privilege for a volunteer.” When the debate is over, it’s time to start the nasty work: reminding judges of their time limit. “It’s definitely not easy to remind well known chair judges that they are over time”, Elina points out. “But rules are rules for everybody.”

So what’s her conclusion after three days of running? “Well, at the beginning we were very concerned about locked doors and elevators that might get stuck, so we prepared for the worst. But it’s actually gone really well since the beginning. And by now the people see the difference themselves between EW and EB.” (fsc, pst)

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