A childcare area for congress attendees

May 2, 2024

A childcare area at the service of congress attendees, who can therefore attend events in the company of their children. A unique service at the national level,

activated at Padova Congress and now available for all events upon request: the first experiment during the European Astronomical Society EAS congress, an appointment that will bring together 1,500 researchers arriving from all over the world from July 1 to 5.

On this occasion, for the duration of the event, a room will be set up ad hoc, ready to accommodate children from 0 to 12 years of age: the entertainment service, which offers a program of playful, creative and educational activities, will be managed by an association with proven experience in this area. The idea for the service, organized in collaboration with Padua Convention & Visitors Bureau – a tourism and congress promotion entity, matured a few months ago as part of the master’s program in Open Innovation Management – MOIM at the University of Padua.

“Attending the course,” explains Stefania De Toni, Manager of Padova Congress, “I worked with my team ‘colleagues’ on a project work dedicated precisely to the development of Padova Congress in a sustainable and inclusive key. We verified that, in the face of an increasing demand for services that promote reconciliation, there are no experiences of this kind within Italian congress facilities.”

Therefore, the project was created to facilitate the participation of congress attendees, who are grappling with the problem of managing their children while traveling abroad. “This is a service,” adds De Toni, “that can help boost revenue for businesses linked to the events, because it incentivizes the choice to travel with the entire family, perhaps combining the congress with a visit to the city in the days before or after it.”

“I really wanted to attend, even though I am still on maternity leave. I had to jump through hoops to be at the congress.” Francesca Ieva, Associate Professor of Statistics at the Polytechnic University of Milan, arrived at a medical-scientific congress held in the past few days in Padova Congress with her 4 1/2-month-old baby Federico and her partner. The trip was also made possible by the support provided by her partner, who on several occasions waited for her outside the hall with Federico to allow her to breastfeed in her downtime. “The childcare area is a wonderful initiative; in the future it will facilitate my participation in events. A service I would even be willing to pay for, because it is a really useful proposal. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea.”

Sara Lucatello, the first Inaf researcher who from next July will serve as President of the European Astronomical Society EAS, points out that “thanks to the significant contribution from Inaf, the local organizer of the congress who immediately believed in the value of this initiative, the service will be available with little more than a symbolic registration fee.” “A proposal,” she explains, “that responds both to the demand of congress attendees coming from abroad and to that of local ones, since the event is scheduled in the summer months during school vacations. The fact that the childcare area is set up inside the facility also ensures that parents can spend time with their children during break times.”

“A small but significant innovation, a further step,” adds De Toni, “on the path that aims to make our facility an increasingly inclusive space. A service – she reiterates – that we intend to offer to all congress organizers.”