Grinnell College can be a fascinating, dynamic, and diverse place -- if you help make it one. Every speaker, writer, and performer you bring to campus; every meal, concert, and workshop; every club, discussion, and demonstration makes Grinnell the vibrant community it is. This campus thrives on intellectual, social, and cultural stimulation.
This basic guide will help you coordinate a large-scale campus event through Conference Operations and Events. We work closely with Facilities Management, building coordinators, the Audio-Visual Center, Dining Services, and Campus Security to communicate event information so event planners have fewer contacts to make.
If you have questions at any time, contact Conference Operations and Events staff.
Event Planning Tools
Got a big event in the works? Equip yourself with the best tools and information available. The following printer-friendly documents walk you step-by-step through the planning process. They include a basic timeline for tasks and helpful fill-in-the-blank worksheets.
Maybe you aren't quite ready for that level of detail, but just need to know how to get started. The next section, "Planning an Event: The Big Three," is for you.
Planning an Event: The Big Three
1. Book space
- No space, no event. Reserving your event space is the first, and most important, step in planning your event. Not only does it physically secure you a space, but making the reservation guarantees you a schedule spot on the College Calendar.
- Schedule early, schedule often. We welcome you to make a reservation, even if it is somewhat tentative. As long as your event is scheduled, you can update your event details as often as you need to. Reserving your space early-as soon as you begin your planning-will increase your chances of securing your first-choice venue.
- No speaker, no problem. Do not be afraid to book a space, even if you haven't asked your speaker or performer to appear yet. There is no harm in cancelling a reservation if the guest can't make it. If your guest confirms two weeks before the event, and then you start planning, you will be disappointed to find out that your options have narrowed considerably.
2. Know your budget
- Plan expenses. Be certain you know all of the expenses involved with bringing a big event to campus. Think not only about fees, but also travel, lodging, meals, special rental equipment, and more.
- Use campus resources. There are many groups on campus that are excited about funding great events. Many groups have discretionary funds allotted for this purpose, and will be happy to co-sponsor an event.
- Help! While Conference Operations & Events itself cannot fund your project, we are here to help point you in the right direction.
3. Sign contract
- Get it in writing. Once your speaker or performer has agreed to appear at Grinnell College, he or she must provide a contract that spells out the contractual conditions and obligations on both sides. Speaker or performance fees, facilities, required equipment, and the exact schedule will be confirmed in this contract. Use this as a guide when working on your budget and space requirements!
- Students, don't go it alone! Students should never sign contracts, but should work with a Student Affairs representative. (See page 126 in the Student Handbook.) This provision is for the protection of the student. If you sign a contract without a Student Affairs representative, you may be held personally accountable for any breach of contract or other problems that may arise. This representative will help you make sure the contract is carried out and will explain any additional steps you may need to take.
- A Note for Faculty: If a student group approaches you with a contract, it is okay to review it with them. However, please send students to Student Affairs for signatures and final execution of the contract.
Other Things to Consider
Now that the event is booked, funded, and contracted, you will want to consider a plethora of other important factors. Will you need any specific audio-visual equipment? Will you distribute tickets to your event? Are you serving food? The event planning tools can help you plan the details. If you have questions, Conference Operations and Events will direct you to the appropriate College personnel as needed.