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Plan a Program

When planning a campus event it is important to plan ahead. We recognize that all events are unique and thus will have different needs, but all events should go through the same basic step-by-step planning whether the event is a first-time or annual. Six questions every student organization should ask before beginning the process of planning an event: Who, What, Where, Why, How and When? 

The Center for Student Involvement (CSI) offers advising and support for student organizations wishing to plan events on campus. 

If you have any questions and would like assistance in planning your event please, contact our professional staff to guide your student organizations through the event planning process.

Step 1: Ask Who, What, Where, When, Why?

Begin with the end in sight.

  • Your student organization should take time to assess the goals and purpose of the event, the audience you are trying to attract and what you want attendees to walk away saying about your organization, in addition to the event.  
  • Complete the Event Planning Sheet as an outline for the event planning process.
Step 2: Create a Budget

Create a budget in order to decide how much money you want to spend on the event:

  • Attend Treasurer’s Training and use your organization's Treasurer's Toolbox to get all the policies and procedures around spending your organization’s money. 
  • The Center for Student Involvement has a student organization credit card you can check out in order to make event and meeting purchases. Please contact Vittoria Tripp, Budget Coordinator, at 804-289-8505 for details on training and your student organizational budget.
Step 3: Select a Date & Reserve a Venue

Refer to the campus calendar in OrgSync to ensure there are no conflicting events on campus before you select your date.

  • Log into EMS room reservation system to select your venue. Be sure to select a venue that appropriately accommodates your audience and have alternative dates in case yours is taken. Note: if the event is outside, reserve an alternative inside location in case of bad weather. All classrooms will be finalized after the add/drop date each semester.
  • Venue & Audio/Visual Needs- Arrange the required setup (table, chairs, etc.), along with, any technical support with the Events Office. If you need to rent a soundsytem or other A/V equipment, include it on your reservation.
  • Set up a program planning meeting with Tonya Dawson, Assistant Director of Programming, at 804-289-8505 at least four weeks before your event.
Step 4: Event Details

Before your event, check the University’s policy and procedures around food at events and meetings. For more information, contact Angela Moseley Scott, Purchasing Coordinator, at 804-289-1746.

If you need to contract a performer lecturer, DJ, etc. please set up a meeting with Tonya Dawson, Assistant Director of Programming, at least 4 weeks before your event.

Step 5: Create a Marketing Plan

The best-planned event will not be a success if you can't get people in the door to enjoy it. Marketing your program in event is a vital component to the planning process. Think through what marketing outlets you want to use for your event:

Step 6: Event Management

 During the event:

  • Be sure to pay attention to your attendees. If your goal is to gain new members, how are your current members interacting with potential members?
  • Take note on things that are going well or that could be improved for the next event
  • Have Fun! You worked for this moment, don’t forget to enjoy it!
Step 7: Assessment Your Event

As an organization, be sure to assess the event. Try to do this within a week of the event while it is still fresh. Refer back to your goals to see what was accomplished and what would have been done to make the event even better next time.