Student Activities - Campus Event Tips

Tips & Guidelines for Holding Events on Campus

Below are some helpful guidelines and resources for holding an event on campus.  The aim of this document is to give you resources to host a awesome well attended event that meets your outcomes.  Ideally you would start your planning no later than a month and a half to a month from the date you plan on holding the event.  This much time is usually required to get everything organized, purchased, reserved, marketed for, etc.  Although for very large events on campus a year in advance is not too early. 

Event Planning tips

  • Event Type: Decide what kind of event you will have

  • What do you want people to experience

    • Are they learning something

    • Is this just social

    • Could anything be drawn from the experience to make it more memorable

  • Who are you inviting

    • If it is everyone; find a specific group and make a special invite to them (e.g. sophomore guys, Math majors, ladies in Burrit, etc.)

  • Where on campus will it be held?

    • Classroom, Outside, Whitlock, Ladue, Conference room, your room, residence hall lounge, Black room

    • Who do you need to reserve the room through; Records office (664.7025), Student Development (664.7121)

    • Have you contacted Campus Safety about the reservation.

    • Do you need audio/visual help or other technical support?  Who services this area on campus?

  • What else is happening at that time on campus

    • Does this conflict with another major event on campus?

  • How many people will attend?

    • 10, 25, 50, 100, 400 - these are some natural breaking points for how your event will be handled, thought about and prepared for.

  • Will food be served?

    • Will Sodexho be involved; who is paying for commuters and those off the meal plan?  Are employees and families invited - how are they paying?

    • Does the Pizza delivery person know where to go

  • Will decorations or “extras” be needed?

    • What will highlight or accentuate the experience to help draw out the outcome?

    • Will there be gifts/favors handed out?

    • Will there be printed materials?

  • What is your budget?

    • where are you getting dollars from?

    • Is there someone on campus that makes sense to partner with?


Okay once you have a plan how do you let people know?

You will want to advertise in at least three different ways although the more the better.

Suggested Event Planning Timeline

Note: Not all items on this list are required for every event. Please keep in mind that events often have specialized needs and this checklist was created only to help in the planning process to ensure a successful event. Please alter the timeline to fit your events individualized needs.


Six Months to One Year in Advance


____ Determine the goal of your event and select the appropriate format for your message

____ Outline a budget estimate and seek appropriate approval

____ Select the date, after review of calendars for key participants, the College, and community

____ Negotiate and sign Venue Contract

____ Complete Talent/Artist/Speaker contracts

____ Discuss roles and responsibilities with other supporting units

____ If requesting the president's participation, contact the President's Office

____ Select and reserve a venue, and obtain agreement in writing

____ Select guest list categories and begin master guest list

____ If dignitaries are to be invited, notify the Campus Activities for assistance

____ Choose a theme

____ Develop a rain plan (if scheduled for an outdoor venue)

____ Select a caterer and hold initial meeting to discuss event

____ Reserve hotel accommodations, if needed

____ Outline décor needs

____ Choose and order favors/give away items

____ Select and order any plaques, awards, etc.

____ Reserve rental equipment needed from external vendors

____ Confirm event speakers, including a master of ceremonies

____ Write copy and design save the date mailing

____ Plan audio/visual presentations and hire necessary audio visual support

____ Develop plan for publicity with your communications director or Marketing Department

____ Discuss parking/transportation needs with Greenville College Business office

____ Develop plan for any online components


Three to Six Months In Advance

____ Write copy and design printed invitations, seek approval before printing

____ Finalize and get approval for guest list

____ Confirm program speaking order, adhering to protocol

____ Determine how invitations will be mailed (through your unit or other entity?)

____ Mail save the date notifications (3-4 months before event)

____ Check in with program participants and

____ Offer suggestions for their remarks

____ Request bio information and photograph/headshot for publicity

____ Add your event to the online college event calendar (available

____ Confirm event entertainment, and obtain agreement in writing

____ Confirm event menu with caterer

____ Select and meet with a florist

____ Develop security plan with Campus Safety or at least give them courtesy of the event

____ Request/hire a photographer through the Marketing Department or other entity

____ Develop a layout of your venue and determine where specific activities will take place

____ Confirm support staffing

____ Request volunteer staffing

____ Continue to update website with event details as needed


Two Months in Advance


____ Submit work order to Facilities Management for set up/logistical needs/materials

____ Complete guest list with addresses and prepare for mailing

____ Send out invitations 4-6 weeks before the event

____ Finalize décor

____ Make hotel accommodations and transportation plans for out-of-town guests/dignitaries

____ Create signage needed for event (banners, directional, etc)

____ Finalize program and send to printer for production

____ Create menu cards if needed

____ Contact the Counseling office for assistance with accommodations for ADA requirements

____ Prepare draft of printed program


Two to Four Weeks in Advance


____ Track RSVPs as they come back to you

____ Prepare registration packets

____ Continue event publicity

____ Send detailed instructional packet to presenters, including directions, parking info, etc.

____ Finalize arrangements with all vendors, including A/V, catering, material suppliers

____ Write speeches and introductions; seek approval

____ Giveaways should be received and prepped for distribution

____ Create table numbers

____ Create seating diagrams of room

____ Visit venue for walk through

____ Receive printed program, pull at least 2 for your file

____ Develop master timeline for event day(s)


One Week in Advance


____ Contact “No Replies” on the RSVP list to avoid unexpected attendees

____ Print guest list in alphabetical order and also by table number for easy reference (when    needed)

____ Create name tags, place cards, and seating chart

____ Provide detailed advance packet to hosts with VIP backgrounds and other pertinent info

____ Collect plaques, awards and other presentation materials

____ Finalize remarks and create master script book for podium (tabbed for each speaker)

____ Send electronic version of script to each presenter for final review

____ Confirm security arrangements with Campus Safety

____ Create table numbers (if need be)

____ Create seating diagrams of room

____ Develop master timeline for event day(s)

____ Send final instructions to volunteers

____ Review responsibilities with event support staff

____ Confirm guest count with catering

____ Prepare event box with needed supplies including two copies of contracts


Event Day


____ Arrive at least 2 hours early

____ Wear comfortable shoes!

____ Bring final copies of all planning documents for reference including contracts

____ Bring vendor forms for entertainment payment

____ Bring script book for podium

____ Greet volunteers and brief them on their responsibilities

____ Examine venue to ensure all details have been covered

____ Set up venue with signage, favors, awards, etc.

____ Perform sound, video and lighting checks

____ Set up registration table at least 60 minutes before event start time


Following the Event


____ Collect all needed invoices and process for payment

____ Make deposits if money was received

____ Send thank you notes to, talent, VIPs, ventors, participants, volunteers and staffers

____ Hold event review to examine successes and points for improvement with key people

____ Conduct survey of attendees to gauge success

____ Make list of notations for the next event

____ Pull tearsheets and media clips for your file

____ Complete file with documents of record

____ Book facility for repeat event