The first important step in event planning is to clearly articulate the mission of your organization and the goals of the event. This can be accomplished by holding a brainstorming session with members of your organization. It is important you include as many members of your organization as possible in this process. The people who help generate ideas are far more likely to be willing to assist you in planning the event. Also, listening to others in your group will help everyone refine their ideas. Once a list of potential events is generated, revisit the suggestions the group is most excited about. Assess the feasibility of each event; ask yourselves questions about cost, location, logistics and interest on campus. After doing this assessment, you can prioritize which events your group will pursue.
The next step is to ask for volunteers interested in working on this event. Organization members have the responsibility of conducting research for your proposed event. Contact the Office of Student Activities to discuss the feasibility of the event (technical requirements, location, cost, etc.) and review the event planning timeline to make sure your organization has sufficient time. Consult the University calendar to make sure there is no conflict with other events on campus. Use the internet to learn more about your event or to see if comparable events have been planned on other college campuses. Consult the records of your own organization to determine if similar programs may have been offered in the past.
Virtually every event can be strengthened through collaboration with other organizations on campus. In considering your idea, are there other groups who are likely to have a mutually shared interest in the goals for your event? Are there opportunities for unexpected collaborations that could further strengthen the campus community? Could the content of the event be more fully explored by bringing in groups commonly thought to hold opposing views? As a University, we hope to promote an environment that encourages a free exchange of ideas in a respectful manner. This is often best achieved by bringing in collaborators who can help you refine your own ideas and provide challenging counter points for the audience to consider.
Drew prefers to encourage an atmosphere where our community can respectfully agree to disagree. Drew has a tradition of bringing guests to campus who will intentionally challenge our community in an effort to, “create a distinctive environment for liberal education,” as well as contributing to our ethos of, “respect for individuality and appreciation of diversity,” as cited within the mission of Drew University.
Once it is decided that a speaker/performer and/or the topic which is being presented may be controversial, we will notify the advisors, club presidents, and/or leaders of communities on campus, who may espouse the opposing viewpoint, to allow people time to proactively creating a program, event, protest, or demonstration; in an effort to fight expression with expression.
Students and student organizations are permitted to host a protest or demonstration in response to an event, however, all protest and/or demonstration activity must be coordinated with the Office of Student Activities a minimum of 24 hours prior to the event to ensure designated space is established for safety and security concerns.
The Office of Student Activities also reserves the right to request meetings with student groups when controversial programs are being planned, in an effort to have clear communication with the members of our community as well as ensuring that safety and security measures are coordinated for all members of our community.