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Office of Student Engagement
Student Center – 3rd Floor
1255 Lincoln Drive | MC 4425
Carbondale, IL 62901
Hours: 8am – 4:30pm
A large majority of SIU's 300+ RSOs provide a variety of events and programs to the SIU community throughout the academic year. Taking the proper steps to plan an event is essential to its success. Event planning requires a certain level of time, effort, and thought, and the Office of Student Engagement is here to help guide you through this process!
- Estimated attendance is over 100 people
- Event production is needed
- Tickets are being sold / Money is being collected
- Other complex events determined by the Office of Student Engagement
- Risk Management
- Make sure to wrap up any existing business from the event, including returning borrowed or rented materials and paying existing bills.
- Send out correspondence to the involved parties – attendees, volunteers, and sponsors – to thank them, ask for feedback, and encourage their continued involvement in the future.
- In order to set up future events for success, evaluate your work and find ways to improve upon your event! You can do this in a number of ways, including surveys and discussion with your committee. (*Consider using USG’s Program Evaluation)
- DOCUMENT your work, compiling all of your resources, protocols, and strategies in one place to prepare a starting place for the next individual(s) planning this event.
Start with Why: What is the purpose of your event? Before you start anything else, you should make sure you have a clear understanding of the desired outcomes and goals of your event.
Who’s In Charge: With planning any event, it’ll be important to designate who will be the point person(s). Depending on the size and scope of the event, you may want to form a committee or team with which you can delegate certain roles or tasks. Be sure to provide consistent oversight and communicate often with the team.
Remember: Your advisor must be involved in the planning process and able to attend an event if:
Program Checklist - As you work through the process, this form is meant to supplement your event planning experience.
You’ll need to determine all the various costs associated with hosting your event. Form a budget that includes your group’s available funds and allocates how much can and will be spent on each of the costs. If your event is not self-sufficient (i.e. entrance fees, membership dues, etc.), you may consider fundraising with your group or inquiring about university funding.
Event Budget Tool - As you work through the process, this form is mean to supplement your event planning experience.
When choosing a location for your event, consider how many attendees are possible and how to best configure the space for your purposes. Be sure to account for additional set up needs. These may include, but are not limited to, a podium, projector, screen, laptop, sound system, microphone, stage, check-in tables, catering tables, and lighting. Additionally, don’t assume your reservation is valid until you receive a confirmation from the venue.
Here are documents that will assist you in searching for the perfect on campus venue for your event:
Any food that is provided for on campus events must be from an approved vendor. Each facility will have its own policies regarding food and alcohol, so student organizations must communicate with the facility’s manager to ensure all rules are being followed.
Adding catering to an event requires additional planning and commitment. Allow your organization plenty of time to research a vendor, create a menu, provide a count to the vendor, coordinate schedules, etc.
For some events, you may be interested in contracting the services of a performer, band, DJ, dance troupe, comedian, speaker, facilitator, or more. It is imperative that you work closely with the Office of Student Engagement when negotiating with such parties. Do not sign anything without consulting the university first, as the university is responsible for reviewing and signing all contracts.
Please visit the Student Involvement Accountants immediately if you are considering using a performer for your event. They will be able to help guide you through the process. All such contracted services must be arranged before the event. This process, on average, takes a minimum of 8 weeks, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Movie and Music Rights:
Movies: There are two main distributors from which you can obtain showing rights – Swank Motion Pictures and Criterion. Contact the Office of Student Engagement and we will assist your student organization in retrieving a quote for usage.
Music: The university pays copyright fees for American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), which cover the use of any recorded or performed music to be played on campus. Contact the Office of Student Engagement for additional details.
If your event could involve any potentially dangerous or harmful activities, the organization should take steps to lower risk within the event. Maintaining a safe and pleasant environment for all event participants both in and around the event should be a top priority.
Complex events may require the presence of security at your event. In this case, you must hire from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The DPS will be able to provide information on any staffing for your event, which could also include stage hands, ushers, etc. Factors that might affect your security would include the size of your expected audience, past history of the event, cash handling/ box office services, serving of alcohol, potential to draw disruptive opposition to the event, and specific admission parameters (i.e. members only, dress code, etc.). A facility manager or authorized university official may also require that the event have security.
If you event includes high-risk activities, your venue may require you to purchase insurance for the event. If this is the case, please consult the Student Life accountants to make arrangements.
Off Campus Events
Marketing your event will be essential in building visibility, connecting with your audience, and increasing attendance. Your strategy for marketing your event will largely depend on the goals you have and the audience you are attempting to reach. Your first considerations may be to develop an attractive name and theme for your event. These types of overarching elements will inform the rest of your marketing strategy.
Send your event information in the weekly OSE Newsletter
Work with Marketing and Public Relations RSOs to help promote your event!
So your event is over and done with, but your work is not!
There are a few additional steps you should consider after any event:
If you received funding from Undergraduate Student Government, you must complete the following Program Evaluation