Student Club

They know where the work is, but where’s all the fun? CERN’s new student club provides a much-needed social outlet for all young people coming to CERN for any length of time.

Some of the participants on the trip to Chamonix enjoy the breath-taking scenery.

For many young people, their time at CERN can be filled not only with exciting opportunities but also anxious uncertainty. Whether your stay is for just a few months or a few years, it can be quite daunting to arrive at a new place and try to find your way around – and let’s face it, CERN is not an easy place to find your way around! Much of their time here is spent on doing analysis or technical work on the experiments or the LHC; but even at the end of the day or on weekends there are few social outlets at CERN geared just towards young people.

Fortunately, some young people have decided to come together and make their time here not just productive, but fun! Doctoral student, Omer Khalid, Marie Curie fellow, Yi Ling Hwong, and CERN fellow, David Garcia Quintas are the founders of the new CERN Student Club – a slight misnomer as anyone can join, but the idea is to engage young people. The club is a place to air creative ideas, from publishing poetry to planning group outings. A unique aspect to this group is that its decision making process is consensus-driven and everyone can suggest or organize something.

"When I first came to CERN as a technical student there was just a group photo, no social events planned for us or even a special website designed for people of the same category, as is done for the summer students," said Omer. "And when I returned to CERN as a doctoral student I thought to send out an email to a list of students and fellows and see if anyone would be interested in doing something fun and creative." It was this random email that started it all, and when Yi Ling and David responded the ideas started flowing. One of the things they did was create a Facebook page linked to their website: There are already around 1,400 members online, with organized monthly drinks at local pubs and information about some of the other CERN clubs’ activities, such as the CERN Cine Club’s upcoming films.

In this age of social networking websites, it seems strange to want to publish and print a newsletter, but the idea came about as a way to let others know the club existed, with more up-to-date information online. This newsletter offers a space for literary expression, including anything from editorial articles, physics-related comics, travel stories, pictures of the month and even local restaurant reviews. Other official CERN clubs’ activities are also featured. Ling, one of the editors for the newsletter, said, "It can be a bit hard finding people to write for the newsletter. Perhaps they feel they will be judged, but it is just for fun." The HR department at CERN has offered to help the club out by printing 400 copies of each issue of the newsletter. A call for articles was also recently put out amongst the summer students.

"We have also recently organized a trip in July to Chamonix with around 90 participants," said David. "We want to get people involved and it takes someone to push to make definite plans, but once we have them more people get interested. It provides an opportunity for those that maybe do not have access to a car or do not know what is around in the local area to visit." Omer added, "During the trip people could break up into smaller groups depending on their interest – some went hiking, others saw the glaciers or visited Mt. Blanc. The most rewarding thing about the trip was seeing a girl next to me on the bus call her mum and tell her what a great time she had."

For more information about future activities of the Club, please see their website, There is also practical information about what to do when you first arrive at CERN, where to find accommodation, and how to get around Geneva. And if you have any ideas for submissions to the newsletter please email