“A mixture of a summer camp, UN-simulation and Gulag” – Memories of WUDC 2013 (Part 1)

Datum: Jan 19th, 2018
Category: International, Menschen

It’s been five years since the first WUDC in Germany took place. Teams from all over the world met in Berlin to determine the best debaters in the world. But how was it for the volunteers and organisers? We have asked some witnesses about their memories.

 Florian Umscheid

© Henrik Maedler

© Henrik Maedler

At Worlds 2013, I was Chief of Runners. The ballot handing happened analog back then which meant that the running-team had to hand out 100 ballots to 100 rooms in six or seven buildings of the TU (Technical University) and collect them after in each round. My most memorable Worlds-experience was Jonathan Scholbach and me checking each reserved room in the TU for its debating suitability on the 26th or 27rd December. It were 100 rooms which – to say it in a neutral way – were pretty diverse. They were spread over five buildings, partly divided by a four-lane-street. There were lecture halls with 300+ seats where the wind was howling, seminar rooms and as highlight a 9qm institute kitchen. Inside were one filth ridden stove, exactly nine chairs and two small tables as well as a cement wall right outside the window.

Since we winnowed some rooms after the check, we had to create additional ones. We requisitioned and took what we could get. One room (room C000B (meaning: central hall, somewhere, basement)) was created with some tables and chairs at the bottom end of a staircase. But that wasn’t all – the actual running was still there as well. Six times a day approx. one kilometer there and back, sometimes six floors up and down. For my part, I can say that I slept during Worlds like a marmot. Therefore I didn’t witness a lot – neither Jakkageddon nor the burning car on New Year’s Eve.

The running ended with December 31st . I actually got a bit sentimental at the end since we decorated the Running-HQ really nicely: The draft of the building and the room allocations on the blackboard, the parking lot for cups, the magazine corner and Sagrotan against smelling feet.


Christian Landrock

© Henrik Maedler

© Henrik Maedler

The eight days of WUDC Berlin were an incredibly intense experience. On December 26th I left my parent’s house – where the smell of roast venison was still in the air – and went to Berlin where dozens of people were already scurrying around in a frenzy of activity. In the following days, the main building of the TU Berlin turned into its own small cosmos. The WUDC was made possible by the entire German circuit, not only the Berlin Debating Union. For example, my companions at the help desk were from Paderborn, Karlsruhe, Halle, Berlin and Heidelberg.

In addition, different generations of debaters cooperated: Highly decorated veterans, already successful in their business life, handed out buns together with freshmen during breakfast. The WUDC was especially built on the passion and the willingness to make sacrifices of all volunteers. Work days from 7am to 12pm were normal. Measured by the small budget, we have accomplished something wonderful. From a volunteer perspective, the WUDC was a mixture of a summer camp, UN-simulation and Gulag.


Georg Sommerfeld

© Henrik Maedler

© Henrik Maedler

Small miracles happened during WUDC 2013. I can’t describe it in a better way. People who were there know what I mean. A lot of things could’ve went badly and I’m not referring to a theoretical possibility of an always imaginable catastrophe. In reality, the WUDC was on the brink not only once. But thanks to literally last-second-rescues it all went well in the end.

Personally, being a volunteer during Worlds has encouraged me to start a paramedic training. During the training, birthing was discussed. They said that here and there you might be confronted by a feeling of a despair where you feel like you can’t go on. You just want it to stop. You curse everyone and everything. You live in the moment. And after it’s done, you keep wondering how you managed to do it. You’re happy that no one is left permamently damaged. At the end, you might get a feeling of pride. And somehow, you can imagine yourself doing it again in a few years.

A WUDC gives you a hint how that might feel.


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