Yesterday, I came home to eight Facebook invitations to upcoming campus events. I’m by no means special — the majority of us are consistently being inundated with a stream of invites. It’s a symptom of our diverse, always pulsating campus that new events are created and promoted each and every day.
As members of this hyper-involved community, many of us have been responsible for organizing at least one of these events in the past. They’re wide in scope, ranging from charity fundraisers and discussions of controversial issues to Greek-sponsored downtowns and panels of alumni speakers. But the bottom line is that none of them could happen without Penn student planners working hard, keeping the preparation and orchestration on course.
While event planning may seem frivolous, having a knack for executing a successful event is of great value. It will be beneficial in your future career and offers useful experiences to draw upon in job interviews.
There’s something incredibly special about a group of people coming together to plan something — not because they’re graded on it, but because they want to educate, to raise money for a charity or to create a sense of community. However, there’s an added value in the skills that come from these experiences.
In planning events with the Penn Environmental Group, former President and College senior Christiana Dietzen said she learned organizational skills.
“[When] delegating things to people, I learned to follow up with them and make sure they didn’t fall by the wayside,” she said. Sticking to a timeline while still being flexible. Managing a budget. Organizing and delegating responsibilities. Stepping up as a leader. All these components are valuable complements to the typical undergraduate education at Penn.
“We’re dealing with a million different parts at once,” said College junior Jordan Sale, co-director of Social Planning and Events Committee Concerts. She described the wealth of experience that comes from learning to “balance the student body, the administration, Franklin Field, outside vendors and artists” in planning an 8,500-person event like the Spring Fling concert.
Though not everyone is planning events on this same scale, many students are still working to balance a variety of different components. Consequently, we’ve likely had the experience of planning an event where things did not go as expected. We’ve been forced to weather poor attendance, a no-show speaker or a budget that went over.
It’s crucial to be able to think on the fly. When something isn’t going right, it’s about being able to reassess and to figure out what needs to be done to remedy the situation. If you learn to keep a clear head under pressure when your fundraiser goes awry, you’ll be much more likely to keep your cool when you encounter an obstacle in a higher-stakes situation.
As I interviewed for internships and jobs, I noticed that employers often directly inquired about the events I’ve planned throughout my time at Penn. Even when they didn’t, I drew upon these experiences in answering situation-based questions. When asked to describe an instance in which I worked as part of a team, I had a wealth of anecdotes to share. Rather than regurgitating the typical group project experience, I was able to elaborate on organizing College Palooza, a day-long fair that celebrates the College of Arts and Sciences.
At times, I’ve worried that planning campus events takes up too much of the time that I should spend in the library or with friends. But when I stop and think about it, I realize that the skills that come from this involvement are equally beneficial. In the end, these events affect more than just your Facebook inbox.
Sabrina Benun is a College senior from Santa Monica, Calif. Her email address is benun@theDP.com. Last Call appears every Friday.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.