EPC Wiki

Our tools

Our documents: https://my.epfl.ch/
Everything must be stored there.
To be kept organized!

Our groups (mailing lists): https://groups.epfl.ch/
EPC-members mailing list
EPC-committee mailing list

Our forms:

Our list of members: https://documents.epfl.ch/groups/e/ep/epc-committee/private/Chapter%20members.xlsx

How to organize a POB?

The POB (Pizza, Optics & Beer) is our oldest and most organized event.
In short: drinks, presentation about optics, questions whenever the audience wants, drinks and pizza
  • Try to find a speaker at least 1-2 months in advance, best is to have a plan for the next months (3-4).
  • How to find a speaker: ask people recently featured on the epfl website, who have been to a conference lately, who had recently their candidacy exam or just published a nice paper. In general everybody who had a presentation recently is more willing to present his work, because the presentation is already “ready to go”.
  • Usually we don’t organize a POB in July and August, because it’s quite empty.
  • It turns out to be fruitful to write emails to several people (let’s say 6) if they would like to present in 1-2 months at the POB and wait for their replies. Most of them will reply “in general yes, but currently it’s not possible. Especially not at THAT date.” At this stage propose any of the months after that date. As they said already yes, they will pick the one most suitable for them. This fills out the months of the year quite fast and easy.

Concerning the speaker: Cathy Buchs (EDPO secretary) usually supplies us with a list of students who recently had their candidacy exams 🙂


  • at least 1 month before: find a speaker
  • two weeks before: make a room reservation for ~30 people, usually we try to get “CM 1100” as it is nicely situated.
  • two weeks before: as the speaker for a title, ask him to make it sound “catchy” to attract many people
  • Important: Ask the speaker as well to present not only his work, but also the work of his lab: what kind of projects they have, what are their key strengths, how many PhDs, how many PostDocs. He should give a presentation that everybody can understand, not only people working in the specific field. This includes giving a really broad introduction at the beginning.
  • one week before: prepare a doodle for the participants, and send the announcement (ask for pizzas requirements, such as vegetarian)
  • some days before: make sure that we have sufficient drinks (beer, coke, orangina, water, …), cups and plates. If not, someone has to by new stuff (Aligro has all of the needed stuff in good quantities).
  • the actual day noon: order the pizzas at CUT (in front of EPFL metro stop) (the magic formula: total number of pizzas = participants / 3, number of vegetarian pizzas = vegetarians / 2 [other people also eat the vegetarian pizza]). Have them ready 15min before the end of the presentation.
  • the actual day morning: COOL THE BEER IN A FRIDGE! 😉
  • the actual day afternoon: ask the key for the room at the Information Point. You will need 50CHF for deposit. Be careful of the Information Point openning hours.
  • the actual day: ask the speaker, if he needs a laptop and a pointer, in case you can bring them.
  • the actual day: Print a registration lists and bring it to the POB room with a pen so that people can become member of the association if they want (here is the list).
  • Be in the room 15 minutes before the seminar to prepare everything (setup the computer, the bar and disperse the students; don’t hesitate to kick them out.)
  • the day after: return the key for the room to the Information Point.

Usually prior to the talk we introduce the event, the EPC and the speaker. Everyone should stock up on drinks.

Very Important: The audience can ask questions whenever they want!

Drinks during the presentation; pizza+drinks at the end to enjoy nice discussions.


First Wednesday of the month.


Do not forget to take pictures during the events; then the event can be posted on our website and the data/pictures stored on our server. It is also used for our annual reports to the Societies.

How to book a room?

The easiest is to use the webform: http://inform.epfl.ch/?form=EventMemberEPFL

Edit by Greg: I found this link that seems to be far easier:


and of course: in NONE of our events we serve ALCOHOL or DRINKS – that’s not so legal…
Compare in the organization folder of my.epfl.ch how the answers for a POB event look like.

Points of contacts

Regarding offical chapter activities:

Logistic contacts:

  • Pizza plase: CUT at EPFL
    0216910134 and [email protected]
  • Satellite Bar Manager (to reserve a keg of beer):
    Lorin Gilles Tel: 021 693 32 76
  • Audiovisual center of EPFL (to borrow a beamer or some speakers):
    Tel: 021 693 30 84


The chapter is financed by its three main sponsors: EDPO, OSA & SPIE.

  • EDPO funds the Pizza, Optics & Beer event with 200CHF /month.
  • OSA has two application deadlines for future events per year (April & October)
  • SPIE has application by event.


  • EDPO: Hatice Altug and Cathy Buchs (secretary of the Photonics Doctoral school)
  • OSA: Applications are entered into this database: https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=osa
    Username: [email protected]
    Pwd: grants2016
  • SPIE: http://spie.org/x1744.xml#Chapter_Activity_Grant



Any expenses the chapter does are currently paid by the committee members in advance and then reimbursed later. From a treasurer’s point of view, by this the receipts of the purchase actually make it back to the treasurer, since otherwise there is no money.

  • EDPO: Every three month at the beginning an invoice is sent to Kathy Buchs that contains all the information (see past invoices on the server). EDPO funds the chapter with 200 CHF/POB
  • OSA: At the end of April and October application for the grants can be entered into the database for FUTURE events. The more information and the detailed the better. Also copy paste from past applications is frowned upon. Similar applications however have been known to be accepted or not, with both having the same quality. After an event took place a report is required in the same database in order to stay in good standing. Without completed report no grants are granted anymore.
  • SPIE: The application is entered in the form given above for an upcoming event.
  • All of the accepted grants are WIRE TRANSFERED to our account at Credit Suisse.

Bank: Crédit Suisse; organization from treasurers to treasurers

Photonics Day

  • Photonics Day is the moment in the year where we can reach the most people in the community at EPFL. It is very important to advertise the Chapter and motivate students to become members of OSA, SPIE, EOS and EPC.
  • We usually have a 10-15 min time slot to give a presentation about the Chapter activities. (This is the job of the president.)
  • We organise a “Best poster award”. This is organized with Cathy Buchs because she will print out the flyer which is distributed to every attendee. Votes are counted after the lunch break and prizes are given at the end of the day. It turned out that counting number of different labs for a winner is superior to counting number of votes as this encourages networking. Also otherwise, big labs group together and push one of their’s to the win.
  • Usual Prizes (feel free to change):
    200CHF FNAC Voucher
  • We also organize a small apero at the end (with the left overs from the day!), playing laser games

How to have a visiting lecturer?

The chapter can invite up to two travel lecturers per year, one from OSA and one from SPIE.

General information and planning

Is relatively well described on the OSA website:


More or less the same information can be found also on the SPIE website:


In particular you can find on both websites, which speakers are already approved as traveling lecturer. If we would to invite somebody, who is OSA or SPIE member but not on the list, we can try to contact OSA or SPIE to get a permission.

Although, OSA says that 90 days is the official deadline to find a speaker, it is much better to start 6 or 9 months before. Good speakers are busy…

Planning at EPFL

  • 3 months before the lecture: book a sufficiently big room
  • 1 month before the lecture: write an announcement to the chapter members
  • 3 weeks before the lecture: book food catering at the parmentier for the apero
  • 2 weeks before the lecture: hang posters and make commercial via the screens at epfl
  • 1 week before the lecture: buy a present for the speaker (~40-50 CHF), organize the drinks for the apero (Aligro)
  • 1 day before the lecture: organize the room key (if necessary), check if the room is ready for a presentation
  • on the day of the lecture: make sure the guests arrive safely at his/her hotel and at EPFL. Bring (just to be sure) a laptop, our presenter, some water.
  • Just before the lecture: make publicity for the chapter and announce whether the talk was sponsored by OSA or SPIE


Check our my.epfl.ch space for the promotion slide on the screens, the welcome slides during the talk and the poster for advertisement.

 Speaker of the past

  • 2014: Jean-luc Doumont, Principiae, Belgium
  • 2015: Rachel Won, Nature Photonics, London

Tips for organizing a conference

Check on my.epfl.ch in the IONS-12 folder to find both:

  • how to host an IONS conference and
  • the final report for the conference that we’ve organized.

At the moment the IONS hype seems to be a bit over, don’t know.

How to recruit at EPFL?

  • We give a presentation in optics class during both semesters to advertise OSA, SPIE and EPC to students.
  • Mails.
  • EDPO

How to Summer BBQ


  • A month before

Define the date and maybe also a backup date in case of rain. Share the date during the current POB.

  • A week before

Book the PolyGrill at camipro.epfl.ch/polygrill_electric_barbecues, one person can only book two slots at the same time, you will therefore need two people to book it completely for the evening.

  • During the week before

Send an e-mail to EPC members and EDPO about the BBQ with a doodle link for inscription. Remind that inscription is mandatory and that everything is FREE of charge.

  • The afternoon before

Buy beers and food at aligro, remember to take aligro card. Use the following quantities per person (approximately) to be completed with amount of what whas bought last year. Take an electric car on campus for the trip, two people are enough. Bring solid plastic bags.

  • One hour before

Prepare boxes with ice and water to cool down the beers

  • When it begins

Enjoy! Don’t forget the camipro card to activate the grills, and to swipe it every 15 minutes otherwise the grill shuts down.

OSA/SPIE requirements

OSA requierements to have a Chapter:

  • Number of members: at least 5
  • Annual reports need to be sent every year

OSA Student Chapter benefits:

SPIE requirements to be a Chapter:

SPIE Student Chapter benefits:

How to manage the members?

    • To add a new EPC member you should add him in the Excel file which is located on the my.epfl.ch server here.
    • Then, you should add him to the “[email protected]” mailing list by going to groups.epfl.ch.
    • The admins of the epc-members group are the epc-committee group.
    • If the person is not registered at EPFL, you should create him a guest account. This can also be done in groups.epfl.ch.

Our accounts

Accounts and passwords:

How to organize a General Assembly ?

  • Several months in advance: start to talk to potention next positions holders
  • One month and 1 week before: book a room
  • One month before: send announcement to the EPC members and EDPO students
  • One month before: announce the GA at the beginning of all the events
  • 1 week before: check if there are drinks and snacks for the apero at the end of the GA
  • for the president: prepare a presentation summarizing what activities have been done this year
  • for the potential next president or the president: prepare a presentation with the future activities that can be done in the following year
  • for the treasurer: prepare a presentation of the balance (expense and income) of the year and a provisional budget for the following year
  • the D-day: for the president: follow the steps explained in the former “procès verbal” (see documents on myepfl). For the treasurer: