Like a lot of things in life, getting an event together for college students is only successful if you plan your work and then work your plan.
Any other approach generally ends in chaos. And that’s not what you want. You want to organize a college event properly.
Special events provide some of the most memorable moments for college students. With the stress that classes and projects can bring, a good event – whether it’s a party, workshop or hearing an excellent speaker – can give students a much-needed break.
Whether you’re a student leader or a school administrator, taking the time to prepare for a college event can elevate it from a so-so, forgettable moment to something that could influence a student’s life or at the very least leave them with a cherished memory.
How to Organize a College Event: Know Your Audience
You can’t make any good decisions without knowing what you want. In the case of planning an event, you must start with what the group of students you are aiming to engage want.
With the diversity and size of most college campuses, the type of group can range from sports and academic clubs to the performing arts and politics. Knowing your group and their interests well is the first step in deciding what type of event will best suit their needs.
Budget and Timeline
If you are coordinating a college event, chances are you are going to be on a tight budget. Before picking the exact type of event you want to hold, find out first what amount of cash you have to spend.
If you’re a student, you’ll want to check with school administrators about what kind of financial help they can provide. Often, schools have funds to help student groups hold events. You may also have to engage in some fundraising or charge dues to group members that can pay for the event.
To organize a college event, you must must pick an event date and establish deadlines for getting certain things done, such as booking talent or building and decorating for the event. Also, make sure to bring in a staff of people to handle specific assignments. You can’t do it all on your own.
Types of College Events
There are numbers types of events you can hold that will benefit both students and visitors. They include the following.
Bringing in a Speaker. The choices here include bringing in an outside speaker who has knowledge on a topic of interest to your group, or having someone within your group speak on a topic where they have extensive knowledge. Whichever way you go, the important thing is to have someone who is engaging and will teach those who attending something they didn’t know, or provide them a new way of looking at a familiar topic.
Bringing in a Performer. This is a popular choice if a) it is possible with your budget and b) you can book a performer your group will enjoy. Choices range from comedians and musical acts to dance and performance artists – it all depends on your group’s interests.
Film Series. Another popular and relatively inexpensive choice. Pick a series of films tailored to your group’s interests. Political science majors might benefit from seeing classics such as “All the President’s Men” and more recent films such as “Wag the Dog” and “The Ides of March.” Those majoring in film and art might enjoy a series of French New Wave films or movies by American directors such as Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick. The point is, there is such a rich wealth of films available that you can plan a whole series no matter what your group’s interests.
Workshops. This is a good choice for those who want to plan a more interactive event. In workshops, an expert (or group of experts) in an area of interest conduct a workshop that involves interaction with the participants – providing an excellent chance to learn about a topic.
Project. The best choice, depending on the group, could be to hold an event where a specific goal is accomplished. Participating in a Paint Your Heart Out event, for example, or volunteering for the weekend at a homeless shelter or some type of outreach program for those less fortunate. This type of event can not only help the community, but bring members of your group closer together as they work to achieve a common goal.
Get the Word Out
You’ve put a lot of effort into creating an event that will be memorable. The last thing you want is for no one to show up.
Consider marketing your event through all the classic methods – advertise on student radio and the newspaper and grant them interviews if they offer. Post flyers on bulletin boards in high-traffic areas. Ask professors for a minute or two to tell students about the event.
It’s also crucial to make use of social media. Facebook and Twitter offer you the chance to reach thousands with only a few minutes of effort. Put it to use.
No matter what event you choose to do, remember to keep your audience in mind – that’s the key to creating something everyone will appreciate and remember.
And one more thing – have fun! You’ve earned it.