Activity Report 2021 – 2022

In this report, we summarise what the executive board was up to this year in the interest of the association’s progression and for our ADSV community. This year, we focused on re-connecting as a community after (and during) waves of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. 

2021-2022 Executive Board (9 members)

President (Co-President) Luisa Spisak
Vice-President (Co-President) Amber Bowler
Treasurer Jenny Sülzle
Event Manager Liyan Smeding
Internal affairs coordinator Lucia Bonati
Boss Coach Stella Krämer
Webmaster Julius Winter
SV Happy Hour coordinator Danica Milovanovic
Fundraising manager Silja Placzek


We’re pleased to welcome board members in green to their first year on the executive board. The presidency involved the President and Vice President operating as Co-Presidents

Internal organisation 

The executive board aimed to adjust the focus of ADSV to the joyfulness of being a PhD student and to building a community of PhD students who can learn from each other and build meaningful friendships. A big thank you to Lucia for organising all of our board meetings!

Shared ADSV / AESV room  

There were multiple locations where goods like beer, flyers, name badges, etc. were stored for ADSV, three to four of them were lockers intended for employee personal use. One in AI on the second floor contained the banner for ADSV, etc. Several in SV used to contain beer, but were unlocked and the beer is no more. One locker there is locked, but no one on the board has a key. The locker will be opened by the President of the association at the end of June 2022 with the concierge and securitas. Valuable contents will be transferred to SV1510. 

We maintain SV1510 together with AESV. Unfortunately for us, they use it as a study room and furniture randomly appears in front of our entrance. We have to be strict with them to keep it clean and not sleep in there. We have agreed to contribute 300 CHF for a couch that they find. They should also try to get a camipro card access for that door to make things easier for entry. 


Jenny did a fantastic job as Treasurer this year, tracking all gains to the ADSV fortune and expenses closely. The auditors had only minor comments, because, well, one has to make a comment if one is auditing! Jenny established a TWINT account for ADSV this year which aids in the receipt of payments for small-scale fundraising or services like Sweater sales or payments to reserve places at the retreat. 

Siljia wrote a detailed proposal to obtain funding from the faculty last year, and obtained a promise of 6000 CHF for the association from the SV faculty. Jenny, Amber, Stella, and Lucia formed a fundraising committee for the ADSV retreat and raised 21’500 CHF for the ADSV retreat from IBI, BMI, GHI, ISREC, EDBB, EDMS, EDNE, (not EDCB–shame!!!) and the SV faculty. Many of these organisations allowed us to keep the money for ADSV programming with the exception of EDMS. 

Amber and Luisa met with Harald Hirling to discuss his expectations from the association for our proposals for funding, and how much money we can reasonably obtain. It’s simpler than we thought, and they set aside 6000 CHF per association per year. We also met with Harald to discuss sending funding to SV satellite locations (like Geneva and Sion) for doctoral activities there, and agreed they should receive similar funding for similar activities there from the ADSV association. 

Members list and alumni 

Amber has maintained a mailing list for adsv members ([email protected]) but wonders if we can adopt a smart list like the one PolyDoc has to more easily manage members (like removing them from the list once they graduate) or allowing them to un-subscribe at their leisure.   

Board Transitions

We decided we would like to establish a tradition where a new board is voted in in May and the old board and new board work together for one month to help smooth transitions between boards. We really look forward (as the 2021-2022 board) to host a Crazy 88 in May with the 2022-2023 board! 


Our association has 3 goals:

  • Represent the interests of Life Sciences PhD Students
  • Integrate PhD Students into a community on which they can depend on for perspective, friendship and inspiration
  • Promote scientific and social interaction between PhD students engaged in Life Sciences research


This goal targets the fact that PhD students are sometimes mistreated, given high expectations or mentally stressed by a PhD. We aim to protect the basic rights of PhD students and seek positive change to promote discussion to shift the environment of the PhD to a happy and exciting time.

Integrate the PhD Community

The ADSV Newsletter – we continue to distribute the ADSV Newsletter to keep PhD students informed about ADSV events and important skill building events offered by not only ADSV, but EPFL and other universities. We’d like to thank Amber for the continued generation of the newsletter. 

PhD Coaching – A big thank you to Stella who operated as Boss Coach of the PhD Coaching program this year. She recruited several new coaches this year and tireless (yet politely) bugged the current coaches to pair with new students to mentor. This was especially important this year as the new students had few contact points outside of their lab for information, understanding ears, etc. Thanks again, Stella! You did a great job. 

ADSV Sweaters & T-shirts – We wanted to create a sense of community and also to create something that will allow students to remember their time here at EPFL, so we made sweatshirts. Amber designed the art on the sweaters and coordinated with a local Lausanne printing company to bring this idea to life. 27 people ordered the sweaters, about 10% of existing PhD students. This resulted in a small profit for the association. We hope to have a sweater design contest for next year for a Phresh design of sweaters. We also will not be working with the same company as they are way too slow on delivery times. 

ADSV mugs and swag – We have to show off our new logo — and use the funds from the association for the benefit of our constituency. ADSV mugs (to go with Tea Time Tuesdays) and bottle openers (SV Happy Hour) coming soon! A big thank you to Luisa for coordinating the mugs, and to Jenny for quickly executing payments for this and the Sweaters and T shirts. 

Slack Channel – Thank you to Julius for quickly updating the information on the website. And to all the members that joined and used the slack – merci bcp!

Promote scientific and social interaction

Events made up a large portion of our activity this year! We have to send a HUGE HUGE HUGE thank-you to Liyan for coordinating (and running!!) most of these events. You are the apple of our eyes, the soul in our coffee cups, a gem among humans. Liyan is also a goddess who suggested we write SOPs and summaries for events to make them easier to execute for future boards. 

ADSV Hike (04.09.2021) Julius and Amber took 30 ADSV members on a stroll in Villars. It was an amazing time, everyone really enjoyed it. 

Crazy 88s (14.10.2021 & 19.05.2022 18h) This is an event in which participants get a list of 88 tasks with various points for each task for their team to earn. They are set loose on campus, beers in hand, and the organisers follow their progress and award points via Slack. Liyan was the mastermind behind this event, and was assisted by Jenny, Julius, Amber and Luisa

Happy Hours (1x/month) Happy hour is sponsored by the SV faculty, but ADSV has taken the responsibility to organise it. We send massive thanks to Danica for coordinating and organising more than her fair share of Happy Hours this year! She even managed well when things got a little too messy ;). 

Game Nights (23.11.2021 & 10.03.2021) Liyan organised two game nights this year with the help of a few members of the board. Everyone came ‘round games, pizza, snacks and drinks for some cozy evenings of fun. We really enjoyed these events and hope to do them every two months or so with the new board. 

ADSV Retreat (January 2022) Liyan and Amber headed the organisation of the ADSV retreat along with a couple ADSV members. We raised a lot of money for the retreat, and registration for the 70 available slots was full in 3 hours. A lot of time was put into the organisation of the days, picking and reserving the chalet, organising meals, and activities. Unfortunately, due to EPFL-enforced restrictions, we were required to cancel the retreat. 

JumpSpot (07.04.2022) PhD students are way too stressed out, dude. Why not de-stress by jumping around one evening? Thanks to Liyan for the conception of this event and the amazing execution!

Career Event with IRSA (28.04.2022) We partnered with the Iranian Student Associationto bring an event on career planning for non-EU students which can be a bit challenging. And by “we”, we of course mean Liyan. Thanks Liyan

Tea Time Tuesdays –  Luisa kindly continued the lead on this project. The idea of this event is to create an on-going event in which PhD students can rely on happening often, and can drop by to meet new people, and have a well-deserved coffee/tea/cookie. We had several successful TTTs throughout the year when they were allowed. A special thank you to Liyan for jumping to action when Luisa was not able to make it one week! We also bought a Nespresso machine for ADSV this year. 

Trivia Night (10.02.2022) – A big thank you to Silja and Danica for suggesting and executing the most successful online activity of the year!! We hosted four Virtual trivia nights in the depths of Omicron this year, bringing connection and fun to the social distancing world. 

SV In Extenso – As is tradition, we coordinated the speakers for SV In Extenso, an event put on by our sister association, AESV. A HUGE thank you to Amber, Jenny, and Lucia for contacting and coordinating all the speakers. 

A final THANK YOU to all board members for their thoughtful contributions throughout the year, lending perspective and enthusiasm to the board in a “hybrid” year. We cannot wait to see what amazing things are to come from the new Executive ADSV board in 2022-2023!