Event Planning Guide

Event Planning Guide

  1. What is your goal in sponsoring the event?
    • What kind of experience do you want your guests to have?
    • What environment/ambience are you trying to achieve?

      Knowing your goal can also help you avoid unintended growth and expansion of the event.
  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?
    1. Venue Availability
    2. Date Considerations
      It is always a good idea to start by consulting the university's and surrounding communities' calendars, including religious calendars, for scheduling conflicts
    • You should also keep the following major events in mind:
    1. Time Considerations
      • Building Hours
      • Quiet Hours (in and near residence halls)
      • Setup and Cleanup
        • Allow adequate time for setup and cleanup when you book venue space.
  4. What resources are available to you?
    1. Staff and Volunteers
      How many volunteers are you likely to have at your event ?
    2. Budget and Finances
      Fees can include:
      • Venue fees or deposits
      • Audio-visual equipment
      • Chairs, tables and decor
      • Promotional materials
      • Security
        You'll need to know your budget in advance. If you do not have the funding for any of the above fees, you should consider a smaller event.
      Co-sponsors
      Find another group or organization on campus that shares your same goal and team up. They can help you with the event planning responsibility and funding for the budget.

As you begin this process, please keep in mind that you and your group are responsible for all aspects of your event. The first step is to fill out and event request form in the Campus Event Planning System.


Make sure that you have planned ahead. Depending on the size and type of your event, additional steps may be required on your part, and additional review may be required by the EMC.

  1. Level 1 Events
    General meetings do not require activity authorization unless vendors are involved.
  1. Level 2 Events
    The event has one or more of the following criteria:
  • 50 or fewer people
  • Attendance: Auburn University staff, faculty, and/or students
  • No food or beverages unless self-catered
  • No facility or grounds setup (use room or grounds "as is")
  • Standard, in-room audio/visual equipment used
  • No use of utilities (electric, water, etc.) needed for outside event
  • No special or additional parking needed

    Level 2 events include but are not limited to the following types:
  • Informational, organizational, or educational meetings or events
  • Displays

    All level 2 events will need authorization at least 20 business days before the event.
  1. Level 3 Events
    The event has one or more of the following criteria:
  • Up to 150 people
  • Attendance: includes off-campus guests
  • Costs to attend
  • Requires catering
  • Serves alcohol
  • Requires room setup
  • Requires AV equipment other than standard in the room
  • Requires use of utilities (electric, water, etc.) for outside event
  • Requires tents, displays, or other structures on campus grounds
  • Plans include recreational events or events with physical activities
  • Events held after 10 p.m. or before 5 a.m.
  • No special or additional parking needed

    Level 3 events include but are not limited to the following:
  • Recreational events
  • Fundraisers
  • Small conferences
  • Small fairs

    Level 3 events will need authorization at least 30 business days before the event.
  1. Level 4 Events

    The event has one or more of the following criteria:
  • More than 150 people
  • Attendance includes off-campus guests
  • Costs to attend
  • Requires catering
  • Serves alcohol
  • Requires room setup
  • Requires AV equipment other than standard in the room
  • Event advertised off campus or expected to bring a large number of people from off campus
  • Attendance includes youth under 19
  • Plans include contracted bands or performers
  • Plans include inflatables/bounce houses
  • Plans include fireworks
  • Plans include recreational events or events with physical activities
  • Events held after 10 p.m. or before 5 a.m.
  • Requires use of utilities (electric, water, etc.) for outside event
  • Requires use of tents, displays, or other structures on campus grounds
  • May be city noise-ordinance issues
  • Large numbers of parking spots needed

    Level 4 events include but are not limited to the following:
  • Concerts/dances
  • Rallies/speeches
  • Road races
  • Parades
  • Overnight events,
  • Large fairs

    Level 4 events will need authorization at least 50 business days before the event.

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

  • Be present at all times during the event, and respond to any problems or complications that may arise.
  • Be the primary contact for making reservations and arrangements for all space being used for the event, support, and equipment services.
  • Work with the appropriate departments to arrange for needed rooms.
  • Ensure that event participants abide by university policies
  • Pay the cost of additional equipment and/or staff if required to accommodate the event, including waste and recycling
  • 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.

Venue
When selecting a venue, you will want to research:

  • 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

Other Logistical & Security Aspects

  • Be sure that your plan for the entrance and exit of the event ensures that you won't interrupt classes or other venues.
  • Will you use tables at the entrance of the event? If so, how? Ensure that they will not cause fire-egress concerns.
  • What will be the speaker's route into the building?
  • For large venues and/or controversial speakers, no large bags or backpacks are allowed in or near the venue (i.e., don't have them lying in the hall.) For large venues and/or controversial speakers, promotional materials need to read "no bags or backpacks allowed."
  • Typically, you will want a room with easy access to the stage to serve as a green room. Some speakers or performers may require certain items to be placed in their green room (food, water, towels, etc.). This list is typically provided by the speaker or his/her agent and is called a rider.
  • If there will be a reception, book signing, etc. associated with the event (before, during, or after), please provide the relevant information and any implications for management

Usher and 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?

For campus entities only: The first step in promoting your event should be to post your event on the university's event calendar.

The university also provides additional ways of advertising your event:

  • Auburn Daily e-newsletter
  • The Auburn Plainsman newspaper
  • Auburn Report
  • This Week at AU e-newsletter
  • E-Commons e-newsletter
  • Lists of media outlets

Campus entities can submit news releases to the Office of Communications and Marketing for distribution to media. Auburn University identification is required to log in, and dean or vice presidential approval is needed before submitting.

Signage and Publicity Regulations

The university recognizes and supports the rights of students, employees of all categories, and visitors to promote and advertise in a lawful manner in designated areas of campus.

Auburn reserves the reasonable right to limit such activities with regard to time, place, and manner in order to:

  • Maintain campus safety, security, and order
  • Ensure appropriate scheduling and use of facilities
  • Preclude conflicts with academic and co-curricular activities

View the university's policy on advertising and distribution.

In addition:

  • All publicity materials should clearly identify the sponsor.
  • Advertising may not occur until the location for the event has been confirmed and the event has been approved.
  • Materials may not promote alcohol or drunkenness as the focus of the event.
  • Posters may be placed only on bulletin boards or other spaces provided for that purpose.
  • No materials may be posted on top of another. Materials that have clearly expired may be removed. Otherwise, the removal of any valid advertising materials by anyone other than an authorized university personnel is prohibited.
  • Posters may not be attached to doors, walls, window, gates, sidewalks, benches, or other places not designated for poster-placement.
  • Groups may not chalk or paint university property (including sidewalks)

After your event, we encourage you to take some time to evaluate how it went, even if you just take a moment to jot down a few things you would do differently in the future.

If you know the event will be held again, organize a binder with all the relevant information. Here are some things you should include in your binder:

  • Final budget
  • Invoices for any expenses
  • Script or production notes
  • Comps of promotional materials, like posters or flyers
  • Meeting notes and important emails
  • Event layouts
  • Completed checklist
  • Security plan
  • Day-of notes and materials
  • After-action notes
Last updated: 11/11/2016