KAYLA DRAKE | Multimedia Producer
Lindenwood student organizations host over 1,900 events a year, according to Student Involvement Director Angie Royal.
Royal has 15 years of experience in event planning for college campuses.
“I’ve planned events that are complete flops, and I’ve planned events that are complete successes,” she said.
Here is Royal’s 101 guide:
1. What do I hope to accomplish at this event?
Royal said purpose-driven events are more successful than events that are just thrown together. Student organizations should determine the goal of the event before determining the budget or even clicking on the Involve U homepage.
2. Think outside of the box – or a block party
Royal said campus organizations are “guilty of doing easy things.” Bonfires, block parties and sand volleyball are all repetitive events. Royal encouraged students to brainstorm and get creative.
“Things students don’t get to do normally, they will usually come out to,” she said.
Although Royal said there are liability restraints. The university cannot have slip n’ slides, mechanical bulls or lantern and balloon releases.
Inflatables must now have a staff member from the company stationed during the entire event.
3. Determine logistics
Royal said to think through:
- The date, time, space and name of the event
- Estimate the attendance of the event
She said at minimum, organizations need to start planning events out four weeks ahead of time.
If the event is taking place outside, Royal recommends to have a Plan B and also reserve a space inside for the day as well.
4. Finalize contracts and permits, if needed
Contracts are needed for performers, speakers, DJs, inflatables, etc. An open fire permit is needed to host a bonfire and a viewing rights permit is needed to screen a movie. The screening for “Avengers: Infinity War” cost $1,000. Film screenings cost $150-$1,000 typically.
Royal stressed that the only person signing contracts for organizations is the university’s attorney unless the organization wants to be liable for any accidents that could occur. To get a contract signed, email it to Royal at ARoyal@lindenwood.edu.
An event may need waivers for risk, student organizations can pick up copies of the forms and wristbands from the Student Involvement office on the third floor of Evans Commons.
5. Budgeting and financing an event
Student organizations first need to go price the items. In-store has more accurate prices, according to Royal. She also said to never use the sale price.
To finance an event, money can either come from Tier funds or general funds. All general funds must be approved by the student government, all of campus must be welcome, the event must be on campus, and it must be free.
If a campus organization is wanting to cater an event, then it needs to register through CaterTrax, the online system for Pedestal Catering. Only chips, candy and soda are OK for student organizations to cater by themselves.
Student pricing is available and considerably cheaper on CaterTrax; the only stipulation is students would have to pick up the food from the kitchen and serve it themselves.
Qdoba is now also offering catering, which can be found on CaterTrax.
Important note: All requests, but especially funding requests, must be submitted three weeks in advance.
6. For fundraising events
Organizations must submit a solicitations approval form – showing who donated what and who they are funding for.
Clubs are not allowed to give out or accept donations of alcohol. The only gift cards clubs can award are from Starbucks, Fandangos and Barnes & Noble. The maximum amount allowed on a gift card is $100 because prizes higher than that can be considered income and therefore are taxable.
7. Promoting your event
Royal stressed that word of mouth is most effective when promoting events, but she said the university also offers several other ways of promotion.
“Tell your friends and tell all your friends to tell their friends,” she said.
Options for promotion for campus events include fliers, social media, chalking Spellmann or Evans concrete fronts, the Weekly Roar, which has 3,800 views a week, Golden Roar, a professionally produced radio promotion that plays in Evans Commons, TV Monitors or tabling.
Royal said organizations should make their tabling exciting with music and activities for students to participate in. Royal also said a new way for campus organizations to promote something is by painting the Spirit Rock, which can stay up for a week at a time. Clubs can request funds to paint the rock.
8. Using equipment
Student Involvement has a surplus of extra equipment for student organizations to use. The equipment includes sound systems, speakers, tables, chairs, projectors, etc.
Clubs must fill out an equipment form to use the supplies.
9. Need volunteers?
If an organization is hosting a larger event, it can promote service hours to students. Royal said to have shifts planned and duties prepared for volunteers ahead of time.
The week of your event:
Finalize and verify all of your requests, especially if you have not received a confirmation yet. Then, Royal said to do a final push on promotions the week of.
The day of your event:
Royal recommended this checklist:
- Meet your vendors and performers on time.
- Put the space back the way you found it
- Greet your guests and have fun
All the links and forms for events can be found on the homepage and forms tab of Involve U.