We all go to college to get an education. But trust us: the most memorable parts of your college experience will undoubtedly occur when you take a break from studying and make time to enjoy on-campus events! From listening to your peers sing in a cappella concerts to bidding at date auctions for charity to seeing a theatre group perform their latest play, getting yourself out of the world of academics for a short time and relaxing with friends at an event is not only a good idea – it’s healthy, too. But what do you do when the event you want isn’t already scheduled: what do you do when you need to play a role in a group that is planning an on-campus event?
Here are some helpful tips on how to do so!
1. Meet to figure out the logistics of your event. Estimate how many people you think would attend your event. Determine possible locations of the event. Would it be outdoors? Would you need an auditorium or a lecture hall? Both your estimated number of attendees and the nature of the event are factors to keep in mind when selecting a location. For instance, a general information meeting intended to recruit new club members could be held in a classroom, conference room, or multipurpose room. In contrast, an event having a prominent political figure come to Hopkins (like a guest speaker for the MSE Symposium) is best held in Shriver Hall, which has the largest auditorium on campus. Figure out what equipment you’ll need (e.g., tables, chairs, a sound system, et cetera). If necessary, start contacting people from whom you’ll need to buy and/or rent equipment. Also, determine if you need the assistance of outside personnel and/or if you need to hire security guards for your event. Furthermore, make sure that your budget could accommodate everything you’re planning for your event!
2. Choose a date and time for your event. Look at the JHU online calendar and Events Calendar to make sure your projected date and time don’t clash with other major events on campus. You want people to be able to attend your event! Also, don’t forget you must have enough time between the start of your planning and the date of the event to get everything organized! Don’t plan an event so soon that you can’t prepare for it adequately. Last, but not least, don’t forget to choose a date and time on which most or all of the people planning the event could also attend the event. It wouldn’t be fun to plan an event you couldn’t attend, would it?
3. Reserve a space that accommodates the projected number of attendees, and that is appropriate for the type of event you’re planning. Keep in mind that Steps #2 and #3 may have to be interchanged, depending on which is more important for your event: holding your event on a certain date and time or holding your event at a certain location. Depending on which on-campus space you need for event (e.g., an outdoor venue or an indoor auditorium), you may have to contact offices such as the Office of Residential Life (for meeting rooms inside on-campus residence halls and apartments; ), and the Department of Student Development and Programming (for other on-campus indoor locations, such as the Glass Pavilion or the Great Hall, both of which are in Levering Hall.
4. If necessary, contact potential “special guests” (e.g., guest performing groups or event attendees from other colleges in the Baltimore area) ahead of time, so that they can plan accordingly to attend your event. Make sure these guests are informed of all plans for your event. If they’re from off-campus locations, make sure their travel to and from Hopkins is covered. If your guests will need to stay at Hopkins or a hotel in Baltimore overnight, make sure their accommodations are covered.
5. If you’re planning this event with another group, meet often with this group. In addition, create committees that would take care of the different aspects of planning and executing the event–and make sure that everyone involved in the planning process has a task to complete!
6. ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT! Since many college students use Facebook, create a Facebook event invitation and invite your friends with it. Also, since even more college students–not to mention faculty members–check their e-mail frequently, you can submit an announcement to Today’s Announcements, which sends a daily e-mail with announcements about various on-campus events to Hopkins faculty and students. You can also send an e-mail announcement to various individuals on campus who have e-mail listservs (e.g., the Center for Social Concern for community service organizations, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs for cultural organizations, and the Office of Student Activities for all student-run organizations at Hopkins), so that they could e-mail your announcement to their numerous e-mail contacts.
Want to make sure even the students who don’t use Facebook and who barely check their e-mail hear about your event? Then place an ad in The News-Letter, the weekly student-run newspaper at Hopkins! To make an even bolder statement, you can hang a banner at the Breezeway (that’s a picture of the Breezeway on the left!) and/or paint one of the giant display boards behind the Mattin Center. You can also distribute miniature fliers to the students passing through the Breezeway during the day. But you don’t have to stop there: you can also hang fliers all over campus! (However, keep in mind that to hang fliers in on-campus residence halls and apartments, you must have your fliers approved by the Office of Residential Life beforehand.) You can also create an electronic ad to be displayed on plasma screens at the library and the “HAC Lab.”
Last, but not least, tell your friends about the event! Word of mouth works wonders.
8. Make sure the event runs smoothly. At all times during the event, there should be a contact person whom you could reach if anything goes wrong.
9. Clean up your event’s venue after the event is over. Make sure you leave the venue the same way it was before you set up the event.
10. Send thank-you notes to those that helped with planning. Don’t forget to mention in these notes how the event went–and hopefully it was a success!