This past Tuesday, I planned my first event with the Ohio Union Activities Board Graduate and Professional Committee called “How To Present Research Effectively”. It was held in the Ohio Union. Most graduate and professional student events tend to be smaller so I was SUPER GLAD that we had a RSVP list. That day, President Gordon Gee had announced that Les Wexner (Ohio State alum, CEO of the Limited Brands, billionaire, and fellow Daytonian) had just donated $100 million to the university … the largest donation in history.
Obviously, they decided to have the formal announcement at the Union around the same time as my event across the building in the Performance Hall, so our RSVP list helped ensured we had a good turn out (my Union connections however still allowed me to snag one of the swank “But for Ohio State” sweatshirts).
Anyway, even though the Adviser/Program Coordinator wasn’t too happy about some of the things that went on with the event, I thought it went great. I was a member of OUAB all 4 years of undergrad. I was a general member in the Lectures committee for 3 years, and then I was the Co-Director of Marketing last year on the executive board. Even with all this experience, I was still nervous about putting on my first event. For the 3 years I was a general member, most of what you do is volunteer work for the event, or you may be a project lead but most of those tasks are assigned to you. As the marketing person last year, I didn’t even do any event planning. As I was described to someone “I let you know about the event and that was about it.” (there is obviously more to marketing than that but marketing university events is not as complex as what the MBA Marketing people are learning in their classes).
I was responsible for:
- Creating an event description
- Securing a presenter (an Instructional Consultant from the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching)
- Getting a Coke grant (the university has a partnership with Coca-Cola that allows students to request free Coca-Cola products for student events)
- Communicating with the Event Coordinator (which just involved telling her what food we want, and the banquet and room setups)
- Manual labor (moving chairs, getting out all of the promotional items from OUAB and the Council of Graduate Students)
Simple … but still new to me. I didn’t actually watch the presentation. I waited outside with the Adviser eating, and trying to hustle a sweatshirt out of the Associate Director of the Union. The only glitches were that we forgot to tell the people who RSVP’d how long the presentation was (it was 90 minutes but most thought it was 60 minutes) and the event started late because catering was a little slow with bringing out the food. We had positive and negative evaluations which are standard for student events.
The one thing that I have learned from my years with OUAB is no matter what, you cannot satisfy every student. No matter what, someone is going to be upset, because they think that a programming board should be tailored to their individual interests amongst the +60,000 people who go here. I never wanted to be on the Concerts committee, because everyone has such different tastes in music that they received complaints all the time (“too much rap”, “not enough country”, “who is this band?”). For example, last year we brought the rapper Drake for one of the opening events of the Union. Originally, we were going to have the concert in the Union and there were a limited amount of tickets. Many students spent 8-9 hours waiting for tickets (and there were other issues as well). Many students did not get tickets, and being such a popular artist, we decided to move the event to the Schottenstein Center to accommodate more people. The people who got tickets, then complained because they had spent their entire day (skipping class and other obligations) to get tickets, and some students did not have to wait at all. You just can’t win with some people.
Anyway, I thought it was a great event, and most people were pleased. Next week, I have two events. “Presenting Outstanding Conference Posters” and BUCKEYETHON. Wish me luck!
PS-I wrote a good 1/4 of this on my phone. HuzZAH for multi-tasking!