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Event Planning: 101
Concerts, Fairs, Dance Parties and more. The opportunities to host events at Albion are endless, but while an idea may sound great in theory, a program is only as good as the planning that goes into it.
Event planning is a multi-step process, taking a lot of time and energy, therefore you will want to start early. Planning a major event should begin at least six to eight weeks in advance of the date of the event and at least four weeks in advance for smaller programs. The following “20 Questions” should assist you in developing a project.
- What is the title of the project, program, or event?
- What do you want to do? (Specifically describe the project)
- What will you have accomplished if the project is successful? (Project outcome)
- To what organizational purpose is the project related? (Why are you doing it)
- What is the project timetable? When is it to be completed?
- Who are the key people necessary for completing the project?
- What are the specific responsibilities of each person?
- What materials and equipment are necessary?
- Are other special resources required? (Security, clean-up, etc)
- What will the project cost?
- How is money to be generated for the project? Are you anticipating any income from the project?
- What key decisions must be made? By whom? When?
- What research is necessary to develop the project?
- What blocks or problems can be anticipated?
- Is there any special College rules or regulations involved?
- Are there any special liability issues or contracts involved?
- How will the project be advertised and promoted?
- What contingencies (rain, cancellation, too few/many people) should be anticipated and how should they be handled?
- What permits or special permission are required?
- How will the project be evaluated? By whom? Who will write the report?
Scheduling Events on Campus
The Kellogg Center is responsible for all non-academic room reservations for the college during the regular academic year. The following steps should be taken when requesting a room reservation.
- Send a detailed request to Karen Hiatt, (Assistant Director for the Kellogg Center, Campus Information/Scheduler) via e-mail at
. Include the date(s) of your event, title, time, room(s) or space(s) being requested, and the name of the sponsoring organization.
- All requests should be submitted at least 5 days prior to the day of the meeting or the event. Rooms are scheduled on a first come first serve basis.
- If the event or meeting calls for equipment or maintenance, please include this information while requesting the reservation.
Restricted Programming Dates
Programs/events are not permitted on days/nights before or on reading days and final examination days.
Guidelines for Showing Movies/Films
Videotapes and DVDs that are available for purchase, rented from many commercial establishments, or checked out of the library are for home viewing purposes only. This means they can only be viewed in your private living spaces. These same rules apply for movies/television shows that are videotaped at home on VCRs. Therefore anytime a group shows a movie in any context, the group must purchase the public viewing rights (copyright) for that particular showing.
Copyright purchase for films currently runs between $150-$600 per showing for popular titles from major movie distributors. Independent films could cost less but must be negotiated with the holder of the copyright for those particular films. Swank Motion Pictures is a film distributing company that works with college environments and handles most commercial grade film titles. For pricing and availability you may contact them at 1-800-876-5577.
Rallies and Demonstrations
Students and student groups may organize to rally and demonstrate on campus regarding issues and causes as long as such students are consistent with the educational mission of the College and adhere to College policy. Rallies and demonstrations including spontaneous ones are not expected to be registered or approved, however, the location is subject to approval.
The College has two designated locations for rallies and demonstrations: (a) the campus Quadrangle between the Observatory and Ferguson Hall, and (b) the steps (entrance) to Baldwin Hall. For pre-approval of programs and events to reserve the campus Quadrangle for rallies and demonstrations, sponsors must first contact the Vice President for Student Affairs to submit a request. If a spontaneous rally or demonstration on the Quadrangle conflicts with a pre-approved program or event, the scheduled event has priority. The use of Baldwin Hall steps does not require pre-approval.
Other locations than the campus Quadrangle or Baldwin steps may be considered, but must first be approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs. If approval for a different location is not granted and a rally or demonstration is underway, a group may be given the option to move or disband.
While the College and the Division of Student Affairs supports students and their efforts to peacefully gather, students must also keep in mind that all activities must be conducted in compliance with all state and local laws as well as in accordance with the policies of the College. For example, student behavior that violates local, state or federal law; disturbs the peace; harms public or private property; or disrupts or interferes with the orderly processes of the College is prohibited. In addition, “intentional actions which obstruct, disrupt or physically interfere with the use of College premises, buildings, rooms or passages, or refusal to vacate a building, street, sidewalk, driveway or other facility of the College when directed to do so by an authorized official of the College having just cause” is a violation of student conduct.
A Smashing Good Time
Looking for some groovy program ideas? Here are some sure winners…
Debate***Canoe Trip***Organization Retreat***Tigers Game**Detroit Lions Game***Bowling***Tug of War***Aerobics**Community Service Project***Leadership Workshop***Theme Dance **Pizza Party***Improv Comedy***Holiday Parties***Barbeque Potluck***Dating Game***Twister Tournament**Lipsync Contest***Secret Pals***Karaoke**Variety Show***Murder Mystery
When planning an event think creative, cool and consistent with the educational mission of Albion College.
How to Program Checklist
The following checklist has been designed to assist you in the development of programs. These guidelines refer to programs in which a resource is used.
- IDENTIFY INTERESTS AND THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM YOU WANT TO PROGRAM. Possible ways of developing ideas are: questionnaires, brainstorming, getting acquainted interviews, informally discussing ideas with others for reactions and to solicit participation.
- DEVELOP A PURPOSE. Why do you want to carry out a program? What will it accomplish?
- DECIDE ON A MEANS TO ACCOMPLISH OBJECTIVES. Some methods include: 1. Present to a large or small group; 2. Play, panel; 3. Speaker, Dinner; 4. Film; 5. Discussion; 6. Class; 7. Symposium; 8. Retreat; 9. Workshop; 10. Utilization of residents or other on-campus people who are knowledgeable in the area.
- DEVELOP A PROGRAM AND TITLE. Choose a program that has appeal and will generate interest.
- DELEGATE RESPONSIBILITY. Divide tasks and utilize the various skills of group members.
- IDENTIFY RESOURCES AND MATERIALS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PROGRAM. Contact resource people. Arrange time, date, and place for the program. Select a location that does not distract from the program. Plan a budget and obtain appropriate means of funding. Check sources to see what functions are planned for the same time and date you are considering. Complete required forms for reserving facilities. Arrange for any special equipment that is needed. Arrange for clean-up.
- DISCUSS WITH RESOURCE PERSON(S) THE EXPECTATIONS AND THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM. What do you want to have happen? Under what circumstances? Include the purpose, the background of the group, location and setting, the number excepted, time limits, and how the resource person will be met once he/she arrives at the hall. Check with resource person just prior to the program to confirm time, place, etc.
- ARRANGE PUBLICITY. Plan publicity to be directed to individuals for whom the program is planned. Posters must be planned in advance and put up during a time and in a location where they will be seen (bulletin boards, restroom doors, Epworth, the Rock). Other valuable means of publicity include floor meetings, word-of-mouth, program sign-ups, and individual follow-ups.
- REVIEW PLANS FOR LAST MINUTE PREPARATIONS AND ITEMS THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED.
- AT THE TIME OF THE PROGRAM. Be early to finalize the program. See that the room arrangements are appropriate such as blackboard, chairs, refreshments, etc. Present brief introductions if appropriate. Be prepared to facilitate and direct discussion when needed to keep the program from dragging.
- AFTER THE PROGRAM return all resources and equipment and thank individuals who participated. Complete any necessary program sheets.
- EVALUATE THE PROGRAM
Student organizations are encouraged to be creative in devising public relations programs. In planning a publicity campaign, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Publicity must be true, specific, easily understood, clean, attractive, informative for the audience, tastefully conducted, and should not reflect unfavorably on the College.
- The minimum information essential for publicity is the name of the event, the date, time, place, and ticket information, if applicable.
- No representation, either expressed or implied, may be made as to the promotion or sponsorship by Albion College of the organization’s events or activities, unless specific approval has been obtained.
- Creativity and originality is the greatest asset in devising effective publicity as long as the publicity remains consistent with above.
- Allow time to design publicity and time for the publicity to be absorbed by the potential audience. Be sensitive to information overload.
- Realize that publicity sets a tone for the event. The quality of the activity and the quality of the publicity should be compatible. A poor publicity campaign can do as much harm as a good publicity campaign may help.
- Distribute publicity in more than one way. The person who does not read The Pleiad may notice a poster.
- Decide who the target audience is. Different techniques may be appropriate to reach different audiences.
- If money is being spent on publicity, determine a budget you are willing to spend on PR.
- Word of mouth, personal solicitation and personal endorsement of the event is the best, the most communicative, and the most successful of all humanly contrived publicity techniques.
- Include your organization’s name or logo on ALL printed material. Not only will that provide additional promotion for the organization, it will also present a positive message if your group has had successful programs in the past.
The staff in CPO will assist organizations in developing publicity campaigns that are consistent with College policy, and in identifying creative publicity alternatives that will fit a fixed budget.
Literally thousands of techniques exist for publicity. Below are a few of the more popular and inexpensive ones.
Posters, Flyers, Pleiad Stories & Advertising, Newsletters, Table Tents, Chalk Talk, Logos, Painting the Rock, Tables outside of Baldwin Hall and the KC, Door Decorations, Balloons, T-shirts & Buttons, Fun Give-a-Ways, WLBN Radio, Channel 6 TV, Albion Today Messages, Teasers, Gimmicks, Sheet Signs, Announcements at previously sponsored programs
Is there a Picasso in the house?
If you are feeling like being a little creative and playing with paint, “The Rock” on the campus quadrangle is a prime target for those creative energies. The Rock has served for many years, dating back to the Stone Age, as a place for students and campus groups to advocate for issues and advertise campus events. It is a great place to display some creative masterpieces but don’t get too crazy and color the entire campus blue because only the Rock and its pedestal are considered “on limits”. Any costs incurred in cleaning, repairing or replacing surfaces that are not intended for “decoration” will be billed to the responsible individual(s) or group.
While the Rock cannot be reserved, groups should attempt to coordinate efforts so that all who wish may have an opportunity to paint the Rock. In other words “Fresh Paint”, like always, means don’t get too close. Common courtesy goes a long way here.
Last, the Rock has a reputation for getting a lot of attention, so remember, lets keep things in good taste and conform to the expectations Albion College holds as an academic institution. (Think PG and alcohol free)
Posters, Flyers, and More
Posters and flyers are great methods to get someone’s attention across campus but there are some rules for postings that you need to know about.
Albion College provides authorized spaces around campus for the sharing of written communication by college community members that does not interfere with the orderly appearance or operation of the College. Postings must be in good taste and conform to expectations Albion holds as an academic institution. All postings in campus buildings must be put on public area bulletin boards. Respect should be shown by not covering other's postings.
Sheet signs may be hung in the area between the Kellogg Center and Robinson Hall. Care should be taken to protect personal safety when hanging signs. Please make plans to remove sign immediately following your event.
What to avoid:
No mention of alcohol may occur in postings advertising group events.
Postings on windows, walls, doors, trees, sidewalks, etc. are not permitted. Removal of these postings and repair of any damage caused may be done at the expense of the individual or the group responsible.
Budgeting is a critical aspect to successful program planning. Below is a sample budget format which can be adapted to best suit your organization’s needs. By compiling estimated budgets for each planned event, an overall organization budget can be obtained. Keep in mind the estimated budgets are just that, estimated, and allowance should be made for unexpected costs.
Student Organization Event Budget
Sources of Income
Organization Funds: ______________________
Student Senate Allocation: ______________________
Liberal Arts at Play: ______________________
Departmental Allocation: ______________________
Ticket Sales: ______________________
Space Rental: ______________________
Equipment Rental: ______________________
Service Charges: ______________________
Total Budget: ______________________
Total Expenses: ______________________
Evaluation is a process of looking back at a specific event or period of time to determine what went really well and also items that did not go as planned. Evaluation is very important if the group is to flourish and be effective. It is during the evaluation that members can freely and openly express their opinions regarding the group and the group’s goals and actions.
When evaluating a program you may wish to consider the following questions:
- Were the group’s goals accomplished? If not, were they realistic, achievable goals?
- What has the group produced? Is it in line with the goals, the campus needs, individual needs?
- Did you stay within your allocated budget?
- What did people gain by participating in the program?
- What could be done to improve the event?