You walk into a decorated room where an event is being hosted by one of the university’s student organizations. You may enjoy the atmosphere, or you may feel the need to leave already; either way, have you ever stop to wonder how much effort it takes to set up an event on campus?
It is easier said than done, as you could see by going behind the scenes in preparing the Dinner for Kripa Dahal, an event hosted earlier this week by the university’s Rotaract Club.
“Every fundraiser is sparked by organizations and causes important to our club members,” says Lauren Mendes, the president of the Rotaract Club. “We bring in different ideas and vote on what we would most like to benefit.”
Mendes explains that every year, the Rotaract Club tries to host two major events. “One is more of a fundraiser for the club, but fun event for the guests; this [past semester] it was Family Feud,” she says. “The second event is a dinner for a cause.” The latter is a way to educate people on a cause that is important to the club members.
Hence on March 28, the Rotaract Club’s goal was to raise enough money to sponsor the education of a child in Nepal.
The most important step in setting up the event, or any event for that matter, is the preparation. Everyone works together to get things done, no matter how small their job may be.
In all student organizations, the club officers are the leading force behind executing an idea into an actual event.
“The president’s role is to ensure that everything that needs to be done for the event is completed in a timely fashion while incorporating the ideas of the club members,” Mendes says. “The vice president’s role is to assist the president with these tasks. The treasurer’s main role is making sure that the club maintains a budget and … the secretary records the ideas of the members and helps with the promotion of the event.”
With everyone’s input, the club determines the date, time, and location for the event. Another important matter in preparing an event is the ticket cost, which is “determined by many factors including how many guests we expect, how much money we are trying to raise, [and] how reasonable a price is for students and faculty.”
In preparation for their most recent event, the Rotaract Club had to consider decorations, food, and budget.
“Furniture and setup goes through event planning,” Mendes says. “Because we are a non-funded organization, we had to request our money through FINCOM. Food [goes] through whatever catering we chose. The rest of the materials for the raffle, decor, etc. come from a determined vendor.”
At the same time, publicity is handled by spreading the word through Facebook, word of mouth, posters and flyers, in any way it can to get the school community involved.
Yet not everything can always go as planned. Mendes advises that the first action members should take when problems arise is to remain calm. “When our account was frozen and prevented a budget hearing, the first thing to do was to get our account released again,” Mendes says. “Then contact the committee once again and wait to hear back, while determining a backup plan if everything does not follow through.”
On a final note Mendes says, “It’s important to maintain realistic goals when planning any event. As long as you keep a detailed checklist and make sure you accomplish all of your goals, you will be successful.”