It is very exciting to be in a position to plan events for your campus. Thinking about all the things you can plan that students will enjoy or will learn from is really fun to do. However, the event planning process can be overwhelming. And it is really not fun to put a lot of work and resources in to planning an event to have no one show up or have people complaining about the event when they do show up.
The purpose of this series of blog posts is to guide campus event coordinators through a step-by-step process so you can plan successful activities and programs for your students, staff, faculty, and community.
By breaking it down into very simple steps, you can make your vision a reality.
1 GETTING STARTED: KNOWING YOUR PURPOSE
The very first step in planning events is to decide what your purpose is for the event or program you are wanting to do. It is very easy to say, “the event is to have fun,” but with so many options competing for a person’s time you have to make your purpose more specific.
Without a specific purpose your event or program could fail before it begins because there is no direction. Everything a successful Event Coordinator does revolves around this purpose – from brainstorming, to planning, and promoting.
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself in taking this first step.
When you first think about your event or program what do you want to do? – Keep this simple!
Did you have a hard time answering the previous question? Here are some other questions to help you break it down even more. Eventually, you will be able to use these answers to help create your goals (Section 3).
What is a need on your campus or something that you have heard students ask about? (evening programs, resume help, too much stress)
Who/What do you want to work with? (students – traditional/nontraditional/remote, academic departments, faculty, staff, administration, families, community members, alumni, prospective students)
Now, let’s make it a little more specific. Take your previous answer and be a little more specific when describing your audience or participants. (students that live on campus, academic departments that want to have speakers, student organizations helping the community)
How often do you want to do your event? Is it a one time-event or an ongoing program?
What do you hope to happen as a result of your event(s)? What you like to achieve? It is okay to dream, but know that before the event takes place we will need to take a more realistic look at your goals.
Before beginning to promote the event or to recruit volunteers you will need to have a name for your event, project, or program. By answering these questions you can begin this process.
What are five key words that describe your event/program?
Will this event be part of a bigger program or collaboration? (Welcome Week/Orientation, Spirit Week, StressBusters, Awareness)
List four-five ideas of names that you come up with. Then ask your friends, families, classmates what they think of when they here each name.
Did you come up with something that describes your purpose and makes sense to the people you asked? If you think you have a name, write it here. You can always change it later but you want to make and changes BEFORE you start publicizing.