Middlebury

 

Planning Events

 

Contact: JJ Boggs—x3108

An event is any activity that requires you to make arrangements before the program can actually take place. It may be anything from an introductory meeting or study break to a concert, film, conference, or dramatic performance. But keep in mind that no matter how small or easy an event may seem, some forethought is required.

Pre-planning

The earliest stage of event planning is pre-planning or event development. In this stage you will need to create a vision for what the event will look like. In pre-planning you should:

  • be clear about why you are sponsoring the event (i.e. what is the event’s purpose?)
  • decide who will be involved and assign specific responsibilities to each volunteer
  • consider and contact potential co-sponsors for your event and decide each co-sponsor’s responsibilities
  • know who your intended audience is and determine a realistic expectation of event attendance
  • determine the amount of available funds and the amount you are willing to spend
  • begin developing an effective advertising campaign
  • determine if you are serving food and/or alcohol
  • develop a realistic timeline for beginning and completing the various components of the planning process
  • delegate responsibilities to co-sponsors
  • identify potential locations where the event could be held, including rain locations
  • apply for and be sure to receive a written confirmation that the event spaces you want are available for you to use
  • begin to imagine where things will be located in a specific space
  • determine possible dates and times for your event, while considering religious and College holidays and the scheduling of other campus events by checking the Middlebury Master Calendar.
  • research and select potential entertainers, speakers, facilitators, etc.
  • determine your catering needs

Arrangements

Planning for your event is very important. Do not assume anything. For example, when you think about reserving a room on campus, do not assume that the room will have furniture in it or that a podium and microphone will be there for you. Keep in mind that in the business of event planning, the only thing that will happen for you is what your organization arranges to have happen.

Once you know what you want to do, you can then begin tackling the logistics of making it happen. On the following pages, information is provided to guide you through the event planning process.


 

 

8 Easy Steps to Plan an Event
Step 1: Begin with an idea
Step 2: Proceed to planning 
Step 3: Seek funding to cover expenses (see below) 
Step 4: Schedule the event 
Step 5: Meet with Student Activities (SA) Staff 
Step 6: Organize the program activities 
Step 7: Accomplish the program 
Step 8: Follow up with an evaluation of the program 

Event Contracts and Funding
A program budget must be approved before facilities can be scheduled or contractual arrangements undertaken. The leadership of the student organization must assure that funding is available before members may schedule dates, reserve facilities, or begin contract negotiations.  After funds are approved, the Assistant Director will assist you with scheduling dates and facilities through SA.

 

 

Event Contracts and Funding
A program budget must be approved before facilities can be scheduled or contractual arrangements undertaken. The leadership of the student organization must assure that funding is available before members may schedule dates, reserve facilities, or begin contract negotiations.  After funds are approved, the Assistant Director will assist you with scheduling dates and facilities through SA.

All contractual arrangements must be processed through either the Assistant Director or the Director of Student Activities.  STUDENTS MAY NOT SIGN CONTRACTS.  The Director and Assistant Director are the only authorized administrators to sign contracts on behalf of student organizations. Commons Councils may have contracts signed by Commons Heads. 

Step One:  Program Ideas

SA staff will be happy to assist you in the creation and planning of your event.  A variety of resources on films, speakers, performers, novelties, and more are available through SA.

Step Two:  Planning

 

The following outline can be referred to throughout the planning process.  This checklist is meant to be used as a guide, subject to the conditions of the event.  If you need some suggestions for an event, consult with the Assistant Director.

Six to Eight Weeks Prior to the Event:

 

1. Obtain funding for the event.  (See Step Three)
2. Schedule the event.  (See Step Four)
a. Select date(s) with concurrence of the Assistant Director. 
b. Select the campus facility most suitable for the event.  Please feel free to consult with SA staff to determine the best space.
c. Complete necessary contractual arrangements (i.e., artist contract, or letter of agreement).  Please work with the Assistant Director when you are contracting outside entertainment.

Step Three:  Obtain Funding

 

The most common source of funding for student organizations is the Student Activities Fee –administered by the SGA Finance Committee (SGAFC)..  Before considering any other options, you should plan to apply to the SGAFC for funds.

Consult the Financial Services section of this manual which includes proper procedure, Student Assembly funding codes, and sample budget forms.

For additional information on funding, contact the SGAFC or Assistant Director.

Step Four:   Scheduling an Event

 

Student organizations wishing to sponsor an activity should send an authorized representative to meet with the Assistant Director.

The Assistant Director will then confirm that the student organization has the necessary funds to cover the activity, or has received written co-sponsorship commitments from other groups on campus.

Co-sponsorship commitments need to be confirmed by a program representative of the group and must specify the dollar amounts that they are committing to the project, along with the INDEX from which those funds are to be transferred.

All student groups must next schedule an event through the Administrative Program Coordinator in SA for a date and time that does not conflict with other campus activities.  To check on the availability of a specific date, check the online Master Calendar.

SA may deny a date or facility to any group if the program would significantly interfere with previously scheduled activities.

  1. Requests for calendar dates will be approved only if they do not result in two events drawing on the same probable audience in the same time period.  SA will try to resolve conflicts and help coordinate all the details for student events.  Advance planning and early scheduling of events are the best ways to ensure that you get the dates you want.
  2. Annually, towards the end of the spring semester, there are many student performances, public lectures, and exhibitions that represent the culmination of a term or more of course work.
  3. Events or programs will not be scheduled after the reading period has begun.  This is the first day after the last day of classes at the end of each semester.
  4. In all instances, use of College facilities will be denied if the sponsoring organization or individual places restrictions on the audience or participants that conflict with Title IX and the equal opportunity policies of the College.

After appropriate information has been received and the budget reviewed to ensure proper financial backing, the Director of Student Activities or designee will review any contracts with organization representatives.  The Director and Assistant Director are the only individuals authorized to sign a contract on behalf of a Middlebury College student organization.  A student or adviser may not, under any circumstances, sign a contract.

If campus facilities are required (Facilities set-ups, food service, security, etc.) the person in charge of the event or the designated proxy will be directed to meet with SA to finalize arrangements at least two weeks before the event.

Special, risk-oriented group events such as a bike race, 5-K run, etc., must first be by SA prior to final approval.

Partisan Political Events
As a tax-exempt institution, Middlebury College must conform to the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.  Simply stated, these provisions forbid partisan political activity by the College, but allow political activity by members of the campus community.  College facilities and funds may be used by political groups on campus so long as this is done in an evenhanded manner, not favoring one political party over another. Student organization funds may not be used to financially contribute to a political campaign or other exempt fund or organization.  The following is excerpted from a publication by the American Council on Education based on the Internal Revenue Code [Section 501 (c) (3)]: The Internal Revenue Code absolutely proscribes participation in or intervention by an exempt institution in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

Parties and Events with Alcohol 
If beer or wine is to be sold or admission charged, a temporary beer/wine license is required.  Contact the Assistant Director at least thirty (21) business days prior to the event to determine if a license is required and to get application forms for a temporary beer or wine permit, if applicable.  Only the State of Vermont can authorize the temporary sale of beer/wine.  Please refer to the Planning Partiessection of this manual which is available at the for detailed information about planning events with alcohol.

If beer or wine is to be sold or admission charged, a temporary beer/wine license is required.  Contact the Assistant Director at least thirty (21) business days prior to the event to determine if a license is required and to get application forms for a temporary beer or wine permit, if applicable.  Only the State of Vermont can authorize the temporary sale of beer/wine.  Please refer to the Planning Partiessection of this manual which is available at the for detailed information about planning events with alcohol.

Step Five: Meet with the SAO
The purpose of these meetings is to facilitate the planning of events sponsored by student organizations.  A representative from the organization is required to meet with a SA staff member at least two to three weeks prior to a scheduled activity.

The purpose of these meetings is to facilitate the planning of events sponsored by student organizations.  A representative from the organization is required to meet with a SA staff member at least two to three weeks prior to a scheduled activity.

Step Six:   Organize the Program Activities

Three to Five Weeks Prior to the Event:

  1. Organize and establish committees with persons in charge of major activities.
  2. Make publicity arrangements.
  3. Make arrangements for special equipment such as stage, sound, lights, audio visual services, tables, chairs, trash cans, etc.  These items can usually be secured through SA when scheduling your event.
  4. Obtain special permits, licenses or insurance if necessary
  5. Arrange for security if needed.
  6. Complete hospitality arrangements.  Please give Dining Events plenty of time, they often have many events they are catering in one evening.
  7. Confirm set-up and clean-up times and crews.

Two to Three Weeks Prior to Event:

  1. Meet with the Student Activities staff member.
  2. All campus support and notifications must be finalized in advance (audio visual, security, physical plant, custodial, food service, housing, contracts, transportation, etc.)
  3. Arrange for payment checks if applicable.  A W-9, tax ID number or Social Security Number is required of the organization/person being paid. You need at least two weeks prior to the event in order to have a check ready on the day of your event.  If contracts are involved, please see the Assistant Director to ensure payment can be available at the conclusion of your event.
  4. Establish work details.  Recruit people for all jobs.  Encourage volunteer help.  Identify by name those people to be paid and request checks for payment.

Step Seven:   Accomplish the Program

One Day Before the Event:

  1. Make final check-up on the facility, seating, refreshments, equipment.
  2. Provide an update to organizational membership and adviser.

Day of the Event:

  1. Ensure that all committee assignments are carried out and details are underway.
  2. Pick up payment checks from the Cashier’s Office (the weekday before if it is a weekend).

Immediately after the Event:

  1. Be sure to clean up.
  2. Be sure to track all your expenses.  If you need to submit receipts for reimbursement, you must submit a reimbursement request and all original receipts to the Assistant Director.
  3. Return borrowed or rented equipment.
  4. Send notes of thanks, as desired.
  5. Remove all publicity materials (flyers, posters, banners, etc.).Step Eight:  Evaluate the Program

Step Eight:  Evaluate the Program
Think about what when right and what could be improved about the programs.  All organizations that receive funding through the SGAFC are expected to complete an evaluation of events at the end of the year.