Spotlight on College of Engineering's 2015 Alumni Awards Induction Ceremony

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As event planners, we have the opportunity to coordinate a myriad of different events from small to large, and from one-time experiences to annual galas. Each pose their own set of triumphs and challenges, but for the annual event, it is sometimes most difficult to keep it innovative and fresh. LaJauna Ellis, executive assistant to the College of Engineering's Dean Gary May, and committee have experienced the challenge of reinvigorating an event. Since it's inception in 1994, the College has worked to create a new and exciting experience for their honorees and guests. LaJauna shares a few of her lessons learned below for all event planners, executing their first or 41st event.

Create a (to-scale) room diagram

When you're trying to improve an event, you most likely may add in additional elements - audio visual components, entertainment, photo booths, etc. Ensure that your space can accommodate these new features by creating a diagram of all your components. Most venues should have software that can produce a diagram for your needs. In a worst case scenario, you can always measure the area yourself to ensure you have adequate space.

Never make assumptions with vendors

You think your caterer will provide linens, but will they? You thought the hotel said the parking was included in your contract, but is it truly delineated? Ensure all that you have been promised is in writing and included in your BEO as soon as possible before your event date. Make no assumptions that because one venue provides a service at no charge, the other will do the same.

Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead

Did we caution to plan ahead? Something(s) will always happen the day of the event, so any issues/details that can be done ahead of time should be completed before your event. Can awards be wrapped earlier in the week? Can a display be setup overnight? Can nametags be stuffed and prepared? Try not to fall into the fallacy that it can be done tomorrow; chances are, you will be pulled in multiple other directions on event day and won't have an opportunity to complete what could have been done ahead of time.

Reserve Buzz in advance

Buzz is our beloved mascot and he's wonderful, but with so many events requesting his appearance, he can get overbooked. And, while some may wish we could don the yellow jacket costume in a pinch, it's a highly coveted role. To reserve Buzz in advance, visit the Buzz request form.

Read more about the College of Engineering's Alumni Awards Induction Ceremony and view photos from the event.