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University and External Events

About MSMU

Getting Started

1. What is the goal of hosting or sponsoring your event?

  • Knowing your goal can also help you avoid unintended growth and expansion of the event.
  • What kind of experience do you want your guests to have?
  • What environment/ambience are you trying to achieve?

2. Who is your audience?

  • Have a clear admissions policy and include this policy on any promotional materials.
  • Be realistic about your anticipated attendance.

3. When is the best time to hold your event?

  • Venue Availability
  • Date Considerations
    It is always a good idea to start by checking what events are already confirmed on the calendar and referencing the academic calendar for a general outline of the fiscal year.

4. Time Considerations

  • Building / Operating Hours
  • Quiet Hours (in and near residence halls)
  • Set-up and Cleanup: Allow adequate time for setup and cleanup when you book a venue.

5. What resources are available to you?

  • Tables, Chairs, Stage, Canopies
  • Media Service Package (projector, laptop, screen, microphones, etc.)
  • Catering and Linens
  • Signage and Graphics
  • Housekeeping
  • Security

6. Staff and Volunteers

  • Always plan for more staff and volunteers than you think you need so that you have coverage in every aspect of your event.

7. Budget and Finances

  • Fees to consider when budgeting and planning:
    • Venue fees or deposits
    • Audio-visual equipment
    • Additional Chairs and tables
    • Decor
    • Promotional materials
    • Speaker fees
    • Security
    • General parking and/or valet parking fees

Event Planner Responsibilities

Event planners must bear specific responsibilities of the event, including but not limited to the following:

  • Be the primary contact for making reservations and arrangements for all space being used for the event, support and equipment services.
  • Be present at all times during the event, and respond to any problems or complications that may arise.
  • Work with the appropriate departments to arrange for needed rooms and support services.
  • Ensure that event participants abide by university policies.
  • Pay the cost of additional equipment and/or staff if required to accommodate the event, including but not limited to security, waste and recycling, linen and cleaning service.
  • Make and communicate parking arrangements with guests, including parking of buses and/or vendor vehicles.
  • Arrange to direct participants to both the facility and specific room when they arrive.
  • Cleanup of the event. Keep in mind that any damage to the facility will likely be the planner’s responsibility, particularly if the responsible individual cannot be identified.


When selecting a venue, you will want to keep in mind:

  • Size and capacity
  • Available resources, like tables, chairs, and audio-visual equipment
  • Venue rules that you will need to follow in addition to campus policies

Safety and Security Plan

Come up with a plan for your event in regards to the following:

  • Officers and security personnel that you think you will need to hire
  • Fire egress
  • Severe weather

Be sure that your plan for the entrance and exit of the event ensures that you won't interrupt classes or other venues.

  • Event set-up and layouts will need to comply with fire codes and allow for proper emergency exits.
  • Properly plan the routes of your guests, speakers and staff.
  • Typically, you will want a room with easy access to the stage to serve as a green room for speakers to include water, snacks and a quiet place to prepare and go over their presentation.
  • If there will be a reception and/or book signing associated with the event (before, during, or after), please provide the relevant information and any implications for management.

Volunteer Management

  • How will you orient your ushers for their duties and event logistics?
  • How will guests be able to identify ushers/volunteers?
  • What are ushers' duties? Provide additional ushers to ensure that aisles are not blocked for big events.
  • What time will doors open and close? Please provide ample time for people to be seated between doors opening and the start of the program.
  • Do you expect a line outside? Why or why not? If there is a line, how will you manage and organize it?
  • Ushers must remain at the doors at all times before and during the event. Even after entry to the event closes, ushers must be available in the event of latecomers or other questions.
  • What is the usher's role with assisting in the exit plan at the end of the event?