Post contributed by Savanna Duckworth, Intern, Campus and Community Events
In Campus and Community Events, we take great strides to ensure our events are successful and sustainable. The most important steps to achieve these goals are taken during the planning process. During the planning of the This is Research Faculty Symposium this fall, our office used methods to obtain an accurate head count, maximize space and event flow, and reduce the amount of paper used to ensure that the event was as effective and sustainable as possible.
Having an accurate headcount is important for a variety of reasons. Many events feature food, whether it is hors d’oeuvres or a full meal, and a headcount helps ensure that food is not over-ordered and helps eliminate waste. To acquire an accurate count of attendees, we used an online registration process developed by a member of the event committee through Qualtrics, a survey software which is available to students, faculty, and staff here at Auburn. This form not only makes it easier to determine the food order for an event, but can also help when planning budget and event layouts.
When considering a layout for an event, our goal is to maximize space and event flow. At the This is Research Faculty Symposium, faculty members present posters of their research findings that were usually displayed on easels. This year, we improved the layout by replacing the bulky easels with pipe and drape, hanging each poster from the bar above with small, unobtrusive hooks. Not only did the change make the event more aesthetically pleasing, it allowed us to combine the poster presentation reception with an expo reception, which helped reduce our budget and also eliminate food cost and waste.
We also reduced waste by altering the printed program for the event. The program was once a large booklet, but this year, we moved most of the information online and created a smaller program. Since WiFi is available in the Student Center and handheld devices are so prevalent, the information is still easily accessible to attendees and the smaller program conserved paper. Since most of the information was digitized, it also had the added benefit of being easier to correct or update in the event of any changes.
In Campus and Community Events, we are always trying to improve our event planning process to yield a better event experience. By taking these small steps, we were able to make the This is Research Faculty Symposium more successful and conserve university resources. We will continue to find ways to make each of our events as enjoyable and sustainable as we can.