New to Event Planning?
The Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development will be your primary resource when planning a student event. Everything from reserving your space to contracting your performer can be handled in our office. If, however, you have never planned an event on campus before, it can be a daunting task.
The following are some general guidelines to use if you are planning an event on campus for the first time. As long as you plan well in advance and follow these steps, event planning at Wes can be an easy, fun and exciting experience.
- What type of event are you planning?
- How long in advance should you start planning for your event?
- How many people do you think will attend?
- What space is ideal for your event?
- How much will your event cost?
- Where can you get the funding for your event?
- What are some other resources for the planning process?
Type of Event
The type of event you are having will help determine what else you will need to make the program a success. It is important to have a clear vision of what you would like your event to be and who will need to be involved. The most common types of events planned by student organizations on campus are speakers, forums, bands, and parties. This doesn't mean, however, that you can't plan something unique that has never been done before. You simply need to have a good idea of what you're interested in before you meet with anyone to begin planning.
The amount of time you need to plan your event depends on multiple factors listed below. In any case it is always better to plan far in advance than try to fit something in at the last minute.
- Venue availability - Every day on campus there are dozens of events and meetings happening. Planning your event in advance will give you more flexibility when it comes to choosing your venue. The SALD office requires that spaces be reserved at least 3 business days in advance of the event. Some venues, however, including Memorial Chapel and the Center for the Arts, require a minimum of 3 weeks in advance to book the space.
- Furniture/AV Equipment - In order to request tables, chairs, speakers, etc. for your event, a minimum of 5 business days prior to your event is required.
- Contracts - Contracts must be processed 4-6 weeks prior to your event with a SALD staff member. For more information about the contract process click here.
- Funding Requests - The WSA Student Budget Committee (SBC) requires that requests for funding be done at least 14 days in advance of your event. The SALD Student Program Fund (SPF) has a deadline of 5 business before your event. However, SPF requests are only reviewed on Monday mornings, so it is recommended to submit requests further in advance. Other funds on campus will have varying deadlines so be sure to pay attention to each one closely.
- Public Safety - If you are planning an event where Public Safety will need to be present, that request must be in at least 3 weeks in advance.
Predicting attendance for your event can be difficult without knowing exactly what else will be happening at that time and how interested people will be in attending your program. However, having a general sense of these numbers will help you to choose a venue that will suit your event. This information will also help you determine what time of year or time of day your event will be most successful and if your event is cost effective (if you can only anticipate 10 people coming to your event and it is costing you thousands of dollars, you may want to think of ways to make it more widely accessible).
The majority of room reservations for student events and meetings are handled through the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development. You can reference the Reserving Space section of our website to find out more about this process. When considering which space, however, there are multiple things to think about.
- Room Capacity - Each room on campus has a specific capacity. Additional furniture in any space will lower its capacity significantly so keep this in mind when thinking about appropriate venues for your program. Information about capacities for campus spaces is available in the new virtual room reservation system in your portfolio or in the SALD office.
- Furniture/AV - Most spaces on campus will have existing furniture and A/V set-ups that you can work with. If, however, you would like additional furniture or equipment brought in for your event, you can order it, at an additional cost, when reserving your space in your portfolio or in the SALD office.
- Proximity - The type of event you are interested in hosting will certainly play a role in the location you choose for your event. Keep in mind how loud your event might be, how much set-up will be needed, where your audience will be coming from on campus, and what atmosphere you are interested in creating for your program.
With the exception of rooms in the Usdan Center, there are no spaces on campus that have a reservation fee. Costs are incurred, however, through additional services such as custodial clean-up, furniture set-up, audio/visual set-up, staffing, and electrical assistance. For more information about specific event costs click here.
Many funding sources are available to student organizations. Click here to view the primary funding sources on campus and how to access them for your program.