Anna Kessenich presented our most recent webinar focused on Planning Events from A-Z. As an undergraduate, Anna decided to pursue her career in Student Affairs while being involved at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. She then obtained her Master’s of Science degree in College Counseling and Student Development from St. Cloud State University. Since then, she has worked within a variety of institutional settings, specifically focusing on the areas within Student Life. Anna currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student Life at Collin College in Plano, TX.
Her presentation organized event planning into four areas; Why, How, What, and Who. For each primary question she shared strategies and best practices for how to be most effective. She also provided attendees with a detailed handout containing the resources she referenced during the presentation.
“Student learning, leadership development, and campus and community involvement are all enhanced when student activities are understood, designed well, and incorporated into a comprehensive undergraduate program.”
Why: Define your purpose
Anna started with a brief review of how research on student involvement has been linked to greater student satisfaction. Shared important questions for professionals to ask themselves when thinking about the intended outcomes we envision for programs. Asked, how are programs unique to your institution being connected to your core institutional values? Discussed how to choose the right programming model for your campus, why planned assessment is important, how to best engage students through brainstorming, and a few tips on how utilize different social media platforms for research purposes.
How: Navigate logistics
She continued by explaining how programs require two of three variables (Time, Money, or People) to be successful and how she employs this concept with students during the planning process. Logistical things to remember: (1) Always develop a detailed budget and update it often. (2) Create a timeline by working backwards and including every task. (3) Manage students, staff, and volunteers throughout the process. (4) Pay attention to the various needs of students through the idea of universal design. (5) Ensure your marketing and promotions are effective. (6) Establish a detailed communication plan for all involved with the program.
What: Final product
Start early, stay flexible and be accessible were a few of her major points. Even the smallest details can affect the environment of an event.
Who: Contributors and participants
It is important to always give thanks and recognition while celebrating the overall success of the program. Determine if the program accomplished the identified outcomes through participant assessments and program evaluations.
Anna concluded her presentation by providing some important reminders for event planning. She urged professionals to always be like a duck during the day of events: calm on the surface but paddling like mad underneath.
Check out the recorded Webinar
You can also take a look at more upcoming webinars