College offices design new event planning process

In past years, organizers of the many student groups on campus have complained about the difficulty of putting on an event. Filling out the paperwork and scheduling a date required someone to run from office to office for approval. This year, however, changes in the planning process should ease the whole ordeal for everyone.

Beginning Sept. 25 representatives from the offices whose approval is required for any activity will gather every Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. in the OIT Stetson Lab to meet with the many group leaders at the College to plan events. Rich Kelley, the campus activities coordinator and creator of the new system at the College, said this will make it easier for students to have their activities approved.

“The point of this new ‘One Stop Event Planning Meeting’ is to provide a means for making event planning easier,” Kelley said. “Right now, if a student or employee is planning an event, he or she must run between offices to get access to essential services. While that method will still be available, we are adding this new service where the event planner can come to one location and have access to all these services.”

Kelley got the idea for the weekly meetings from universities such as Brandeis and Tufts, which have recently implemented a similar system. Kelley said the meetings, where students can present their activities to many offices at once, are “. . .for people who don’t have a lot of time,” and in a campus where academics take precedence and many students participate in extracurricular activities, most students have little time to spare. For this reason, Kelley hopes that students see the new system as “one more tool” to plan events.

Several people seemed to enjoy the run from office to office, though. Some students asked Kelley whether the old way of planning was an option.

“There seems to be some confusion about the nature of the meetings,” Kelley said. “Event planners can still plan their events as they always have, and go from office to office, etc. This new Wednesday meeting is only an additional means of accomplishing event planning goals.” Most people, though, will probably see the benefits of planning an event with all the offices present and opt to do it that way.

There are other improvements in the new system besides convenience. For example, the Building and Grounds (B&G) office will introduce a new system of set rates to make budgeting easier for event organizers.

Bea Miles, the B&G representative at the weekly meetings, said in the past, students were billed after an event took place for B&G services. Now, B&G has created set rates for most of their services. The benefit is event planners will know in advance the cost of an event.

Some services will still require a bill to be issued after an event, but Miles said that with the new set rates “it is more likely that prices will be known before an event.”

The first of these event planning meetings will take place Sept. 25, but it will probably take longer before the new system is used to its full potential. Issues still exist to be resolved. For example, the confusion of some students and the roles of some administrators at the meetings will have to be addressed.

David Murphy, the Security representative, said because the system was new he did not know how it would work. Kelley said the problems would hopefully be resolved in the next couple of weeks, rendering the old way of planning events moot.