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A Planning Guide for Events and Symposia at Old Dominion University

Determining Event Goals

OVERALL GOALS & OBJECTIVES

The first step in planning any event is to think through the reasons for having the event and the outcome you hope to achieve. These questions should help you gain the necessary focus.

  • Is an event the best and most appropriate way to achieve your goal?
    • For example, would a press release or targeted communication be as effective?
  • Should your event be virtual, in-person, or presented in a hybrid format (virtual and in-person)?
  • What are the key goals and objectives of the event?
    • Specifically, what is the desired outcome and what do you want your guests to take away from this experience?
  • What is the long-term value of the activity to the university?
  • How elaborate will this event be? What message do you hope to convey through this format?
  • Do you have funding available?

COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING

  • What is your event's primary message and theme?
    • If you have speakers, who would be the appropriate contact (legislator, administrator, faculty, student, etc.)?
    • If you have multiple speakers, how will their messages be appropriately differentiated and integrated into your program? How will the program be organized?
  • What are the ways this event will be marketed? How can the University leverage outcomes of this event?
    • Have you considered soliciting assistance from Strategic Marketing & Communications to explore further marketing opportunities?
  • Consider how your message will be communicated or reinforced through the following communication vehicles:
    • Invitations; Publications (InsideODU, Monarch Magazine, Community Connections Newsletter, College/Department newsletters); Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.); Advertising (The Virginian-Pilot, Daily Press, Inside Business, flyers, banners, radio advertisements, web-based advertisements); Websites; Listservs; Local/national media outlets
  • Do the collateral materials (both design and copy) clearly reflect and identify the University?
    • Have you followed appropriate branding guidelines? (To include University Branding Standards and Trademark Licensing Policy?) https://www.odu.edu/facultystaff/communication/toolkit
  • How many speakers will you have (if any), and in what order will they speak?
    • Have you followed appropriate campus protocol for speaking order?
    • Speaking Order:
      • Emcee
      • Someone to introduce the President
      • President
      • Provost
      • Vice President
      • Dean
      • Department Head
      • Any of above can introduce the guest of honor
      • Guest of Honor

Event Planning Timeline

1 YEAR TO SIX MONTHS BEFORE EVENT

(1 year for Annual Events, 6 Months for One-Time Events)

  1. Define event purpose and goals
  2. Clear event on all relevant calendars
    • University Master Calendar, required for ALL events
    • President's Calendar, if applicable
    • Program participants' calendar
  3. Reserve space/venue
    • Reserve alternate space for inclement weather, if applicable
  4. Determine target audience
  5. Develop PR/marketing plan, consult University Strategic Communications & Marketing if necessary
  6. Create and mail speaker contract/agreement
  7. Reserve room block at hotel (if applicable)

TWELVE WEEKS BEFORE EVENT

  1. Draft text for invitations and program
    • If using University Publications, start production process
  2. Draft script
  3. Book entertainment
  4. Create guest list and scrub for errors
  5. Make speaker travel arrangements once contract is signed

FIVE WEEKS BEFORE EVENT

  1. If producing invitations in-house, proof, finalize and print
  2. Send printed invitations
  3. Submit work orders and/or email university services
    • Parking Services (form on their website)
    • Webb Media (form on their website)
    • Academic Television Services (email)
    • Moving and Special Events (work order)
    • Housekeeping (work order)
    • Grounds (work order)
    • Photography (form on their website)
    • Public Safety (email)
    • Strategic Communication & Marketing (email)
  4. Order gifts
  5. Determine look of event and order d├ęcor (stage plants, centerpieces, linens, etc.)

FOUR WEEKS BEFORE EVENT

  1. Send electronic invitations
  2. Send setup memo (example provided)
  3. Submit order in Catertrax or contact Catering for custom menu
  4. Submit any payment paperwork required for hotel/travel payment

THREE WEEKS BEFORE EVENT

  1. Send additional invitations, if applicable
  2. Follow up with Strategic Communication & Marketing

TWO WEEKS BEFORE EVENT

  1. If producing programs in-house, proof, finalize and print
  2. Follow up with guests who haven't responded/identify individuals from target audience for personal follow up

ONE WEEK BEFORE EVENT/WEEK OF EVENT

  1. Proof, finalize, and print scripts
  2. Confirm all contracted services and university services
    • Send VIP parking list to Parking Services
    • Send final numbers to Catering
  3. Finalize and print guest list and seating chart
  4. Print nametags
  5. Print menu cards
  6. Print signage
  7. If the President is in attendance, send the final RSVP list to President's Office (If seated dinner, include names of guests seated at table)

DAY OF EVENT

  1. Arrive early, confirm setup is correct - count chairs, rows, tables, etc.
  2. Receive deliveries
  3. Hang signs
  4. Set up registration area

WEEK AFTER EVENT

  1. Return any borrowed items
  2. Submit all financial paperwork for travel, catering, etc.

Event Logistics Checklist

  • What groups should comprise the audience? Who else might benefit from this event beyond the primary attendees? If it's appropriate and feasible within budgetary constraints, consider whether it makes sense to include alumni, donors, community members, legislators, media, students, faculty and staff. Coordinate with the appropriate colleagues who have the primary responsibility for those audiences.
  • What is the appropriate size of the guest list?
  • If you anticipate a role for the President or Executive Office Member, it is critical that their assistant be consulted as far in advance as possible. Be prepared to discuss what their role would be and any implications of including or not including them.
  • Are there opportunities to partner/collaborate across campus units or off-campus entities?
  • What is the best date and location for this event? Why?
  • Have you cleared your event date with all pertinent calendars? (Master University Calendar, Executive Office Calendar, Departmental Calendar, etc.)
  • Have you selected a fair weather and a rain site for your event, if necessary?
  • Where will your guests park?
  • Assigned seating or general admission?
  • How should the room be configured? (What is the seating capacity? How will you manage this?)
  • Is there a podium?
  • Can the room accommodate persons with disabilities?
  • What are your audio/visual and electrical needs and/or concerns?
  • Have you done a set up memo /diagrams?
  • What space is available for catering staging?
  • Have you considered the dietary issues/concerns of your guests? Have you notified catering in case of dietary restrictions?
  • Have you considered entertainment for your event (audio and visual)?
  • Will you need to decorate the room with plants or flowers, stage backdrop, lighting, centerpieces, signs, etc.? Have you cleared the delivery date/time with the venue? Who will receive the items?
  • Have you considered gifts for your VIPs/Speakers?
  • Does your guest speaker need lodging and transportation arrangements?
  • Do you have any banners/signs for your event?
  • Have you notified Support Services about your event (via work management system; work orders; parking forms; Webb Media forms)?
  • Have you notified the University Photographer of your event? Does the event need to be videotaped? If so, have you contracted with Academic Technology Services (ATS)?
  • Have you communicated the attire to your guests?

Event Services Contact List

Catering Services (Monarch Dining Services)
Aramark
https://oducatering.catertrax.com/index.asp
757-683-4691

ODU Webb University Center
Webb Center Services
Shannon Hurt
Assistant Director, Webb University Center
757-683-7141

Webb Media
*Fill out the media services request form at least 2 weeks in advance:
Tom Odom, Casey Kohler or Carson Eaves
757-683-6228
webbmedia@odu.edu

ODU Work Management
Moving & Special Events
(Tables, chairs, staging, pipe and drape, flags, etc.)
Submit a work order to arrange for delivery and pick up.
https://www.odu.edu/life/buildings/md
757-683-4600

ODU Parking Services
Parking & Transportation Services
*Fill out the parking services request form at least 2 weeks in advance:
https://www.odu.edu/life/parking-and-transportation/parking/events-parking
757-683-5649
parking@odu.edu

ODU Photography
University Photography
*Fill out the photography request form at least 2 weeks in advance:
https://www.odu.edu/photography
Chuck Thomas, University Photography
757-683-3124
cthomas@odu.edu

ODU Publication Design
University Publications
*Fill out the request form:
https://www.odu.edu/univpublications
757-683-3114

ODU Strategic Marketing & Communications
Giovanna Genard, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing
757-683-3114
ggenad@odu.edu

Caitlin Chandler, Executive Director
757-683-3580
cchandler@odu.edu

ODU Web and Digital Communications
Ericha Forest, Director of Web & Digital Strategy
757-683-4903
webcomm@odu.edu

Jamila Walker, Social Media Manager
757-683-5514
jtwalker@odu.edu

ODU Academic Technology Services and Video Productions
Miguel Ramlatchan, Assistant Vice President for Technology
757-683-5314
mramlatc@odu.edu

Jerry Harrell, Video Production Manager, Video & Production Services
757-683-3171
jharrell@odu.edu

Awards & Plaques
G&W by Allogram South
www.gwawards.com
757-461-7676
sales@gwawards.com

Floral Arrangements
Greenbrier Florist
http://greenbrierflorist.com
757-420-8000

Jeff's Flowers
https://www.jeffsflowers.com/

Page Kremp
page@jeffsflowers.hrcoxmail.com
757-827-5333

The New Leaf (under new management)
Dina Reynolds
http://newleafghent.com
757-627-6028
design@newleafghent.com

Staging Plant Rentals
Jeff's Flowers
Page Kremp
page@jeffsflowers.hrcoxmail.com
757-827-5333

The New Leaf
Dina Reynolds (under new management)
http://newleafghent.com
757-627-6028
design@newleafghent.com

Hotel
Marriott SpringHill Suites - Old Dominion University
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/orfod-springhill-suites-norfolk-old-dominion-university/
4500 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk VA 23508
757-423-4100

Event Rentals: Linen & Tent Etc.
*Tents require a tent permit through Facilities Management*

Special Events Virginia
http://www.virginiaspecialevents.com
Tammy Hicks
757-485-1212
tammy@virginiaspecialevents.com

Distinctive Event Rentals
http://distinctiveeventrentals.com
Lisa Albert
757-420-7000
lisa@distinctiveeventrentals.com

reservations@acclaimedevents.com

Sample Set Up Memo

TO: Shannon Sauerwald, Webb Center
Janet McLaughlin, Aramark
Connie Pate, Aramark
Sandy Boone, Monarch Catering
Special Event Parking
Webb Media Services

FROM: Name, Department

DATE: April 11, 2016

RE: Board of Visitors Luncheon - April 21, 2016

On Thursday, April 21, President Broderick will be hosting a luncheon for the Board of Visitors in the President's Dining Room at Webb Center from 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

If your area will incur any expenses due to this event, please e-mail me with the specifics on the expected charges. As with all events, we need cost estimates prior to the function. Please use budget code TBD Budget Code.

Webb Center Housekeeping

  • Please be set by 11:00 a.m.
  • Please provide (1) pop up table in front of the President's Dining Room for registration
  • Please set (7) 5' rounds with (8) chairs at each table (final table/chair count TBD)

Monarch Catering

  • Set by 11:30 a.m. (Lunch will begin at 11:45 a.m.)
  • Please provide blue and white linen (No white napkins, please)
  • Centerpieces will be provided by Greenbrier Florist
  • Please provide a linen for the registration table outside of the room

Parking Services:

  • I am sure you already have the requirements from Donna for the board. However, I do have few special guests to be included in the parking list who will be attending from campus
  • There are no off campus guests for this event

Please call or email me if you have questions at xXXXX or name@odu.edu. As always, thank you for all you do!

Space Reservations

Indoor Space Reservations (subject to addition/change)

Academic Classrooms, Scheduling@odu.edu

Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Gallery, Arts and Letters Scheduling

Barry Art Museum, lcagneyh@odu.edu

Peninsula Higher Education Center, phecrental@odu.edu

Strome Entrepreneurial Center, ent@odu.edu

Student Recreation Center, Recreation & Wellness use ODU EMS Scheduling

Tri-Cities Higher Education Center, TCRooms@odu.edu

Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, VBRooms@odu.edu

Webb Center, Leadership & Student Involvement, LSIScheduling@odu.edu

Outdoor Space Reservations

Leadership and Student Involvement Scheduling (use ODU EMS Scheduling)

Kaufman Mall

Quarantine Trail

Recreation and Wellness Scheduling (use ODU EMS Scheduling)

Bolling Square

Dominion House Lawn

Engineering/ Perry Library Lawn

Parking Lots 1, 42, and 43 (Exception Athletic tailgating)

Powhatan Pavilion

Runte Quad

Sidewalk/Road Closures

Student Recreation Center Field

Whitehurst Beach

Whitehurst Field

Williamsburg Lawn

Arts & Letters Scheduling

Brock Commons

Virtual Event Guide

With both in-person and virtual events, you need to effectively promote the event, engage your attendees, create memorable moments for attendees, and prove event success. By thinking of virtual events not as small one-off presentations, but as value-added, engagement-driven experiences, you can create an impactful event that extends well beyond a computer screen.

Click here to download the guide.