Since my last journal, I have participated in the prep and execution hosting an event. It is no easy task, that is for sure! The Office of Institutional Advancement hosted the Scholarship Dinner, an event for both donors and student scholarship recipients to be recognized and meet. For preparation, I was in charge of creating name tags for all attending the event. This included name tags for students, faculty, staff and donors. I was in charge of creating the name tag template (since we changed our scholarship logo this year) and making sure there were name tags for everyone that included where they were sitting at the dinner. After creating the name tags, I was in charge of organizing the Place cards and making sure that those names were spelled correctly and in the correct order. The day of the event, I had to make a key and label place cards for those with special dietary requests for the caterers, such as vegetarians or food allergies. During the event, I golf carted donors from the parking garage to Blackwell Ballroom and then back to the parking garage at the end of the dinner.
Through hosting this event, I have learned many things. First, I have learned how hard it is to host an event. It requires so much planning and organization to make it successful. You have to think of the little things, such as making signs to point to the restroom or signs to remind guests to silence their cells phones. Second, I have learned that though you are not given the most glamorous job sometimes, it is still an important job to do and do well because it still makes an impact. And lastly, I have learned how much donors truly love and cherish Longwood, not only through their monetary donations, but their complete awe and interest in new changes and students that was demonstrated during a short ride through campus.
I was challenged this week by having to keep my cool, while everyone around me was stressed and frantic trying to get ready for the dinner. Even when I was feeling stressed, I tried to stay calm so that my work would not be affected and that others around me could also stay calm. I was also challenged when I was golf carting donors back to their cars because it was freezing cold, but I had to stay upbeat and cheery.
This experience has definitely given me a quick glimpse into the world of Event Planning. If that is the career path that I choose to explore, I now have some experience on what went right and what went wrong in order to host a successful event in the future.