Last year as a freshman I got involved with this organization early on and fell in love with it. Read last year’s blog here. I grew very close to the executive board and members so quickly I really felt like I found my place on campus. In my first year I volunteered at several events including comedy shows, concerts, lectures, movie showings, and pinterest parties. After attending a conference in Kentucky called NACA I knew that I wanted to pursue greater opportunities in Program Board which led me to apply for the 2017 – 2018 Special Events Director position. Sitting here a year later, my time on PB’s executive board is coming to an end and I can’t begin to put this experience into words.
The reason why I wanted to get further involved with Program Board is because I believe that campus involvement is very important for all students and I wanted to help provide involvement opportunities for my fellow students while also getting involved myself. I knew that this organization has developed such a great reputation on campus and has proven to grow successful leaders. I also wanted to take every opportunity possible to gain more experience and knowledge about event management. A position on PB’s executive board would allow me to develop the knowledge and skills I need for my career. My experience as the Special Events Director has allowed me to accomplish all of these things and SO much more!
As the Special Events Director I was responsible for planning and executing special events throughout the academic year. I worked to creatively develop a variety of innovative programs that are currently not offered in Program Board to students on and off campus, and overall add value to CMU students’ college experience. This position took a lot of time, dedication, and hard work, BUT it has been the most rewarding experience so far at CMU. It’s insane to me that I’ve executed 17 events in this position. I can’t thank enough everyone who’s participated, volunteered, and helped along the way. These events included 11 Trivia Nights, 2 Canvas and Coffee’s, 2 Pinterest Parties, 1 Ghost Hunter, and 1 Magician. Altogether Program Board was able to complete 57 events, 30 executive board meetings, 26 member meetings, attract 48 members, engage 6,300+ students, and provide 3000+ volunteer hours. Holy heck we did a lot! I am so fortunate to be a part of an organization that makes this big of an impact. It was a busy, BUSY year and the hard work has paid off.
So what did I gain out of this experience? To start, this position has propelled me so far into the event management world. There was so much that I didn’t know about events, marketing, leadership, and communication going into this journey. Skills that I was able to gain and build upon were:
- When working on any kind of team communication is an essential ingredient for success. Between the 10 directors on our board we have to communicate everyday in order to continue our success. Every week we would have a meeting as an executive board to review past events, discuss upcoming events, and touch on any other updates. We also held weekly meetings with our general members to get them involved with the decision making process. Not only was communication important among executive board directors, I had to keep good communication with our members too. This meant having pre-event meetings with volunteers, getting feedback from venue staff, directors, members, and participants, keeping up with group chats and emails, and conducting other meetings.
- With so many events going on throughout the semester it was crucial to stay organized and keep myself in check. For me, this meant having several different to-do lists, timelines, agendas, spreadsheets, itineraries, and carts, boxes, and tubs full of supplies.
- Time Management
- Sometimes I would have two events in one week and in these periods time management was extremely important to maintain. Prioritizing tasks, settings goals, being proactive, and eliminating distractions helped me to improve my time management skills.
- Problem Solving
- There were many issues that would arise during the planning process. Sometimes issues would occur 3 hours before my event! These situations required me to think critically of solutions and how I could best solve the problem. I learned that no matter how proactive I try to be there could always be a complication at any point. This is a given with events. Knowing how to manage risks and solve problems is something I will take with me forever.
- This is a big one for me. Having a positive attitude and mindset is one of my top three values. When you put so much time and effort into an event you tend to have high expectations, but they all don’t turn out 100% perfect. Sometimes I would have lower attendance than I expected or maybe the talent’s performance didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. In these situations I always made sure I was staying optimistic and reflect that onto my team. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers in attendance, but the important factor is it doesn’t matter how big of a crowd there is as much as if the crowd is having a good time. This makes all the difference!
- It took me a while to understand the importance of delegation. I value the quality of my work to the point where I will dedicate mass amounts of time to make everything perfect. Because of this it’s easy for me to put all of the work on myself. Delegating was an area I lacked in and I quickly realized that no person ever did anything great by themselves. I’m so thankful for those who support me and volunteer at my events, it’s important for me to delegate tasks to them so they can be more involved, learn, and become leaders.
- Being on the executive board I get to work with our amazing members who dedicate so much time to meetings and events each week. My position allowed me to be a leader in this organization and motivate others to “get with the program” as we like to call it. I am extremely proud of next year’s Special Events Director who joined Program Board this year as a member. She has shown true dedication and passion for the work that PB does and I am confident she will continue to shine and leave her mark on this organization.
Aside from the skills I’ve gained with being on Program Board’s executive board, I’ve made the best memories of my life with this organization. One of my favorite memories is when all 55 participants at the last Trivia Night back in March sang along to Bohemian Rhapsody. I am a HUGE fan of Queen and 70’s/80’s songs in general. To see people at my event enjoying themselves and having a great time is such a rewarding feeling. As an event coordinator I put so much blood, sweat, and tears into the events I produce, all of the stress and long hours is definitely worth making an impact in others’ lives. Other memories with Program Board include:
- Getting stuck in between the hotel bed and wall at the 2017 NACA conference, thanks Ben for laughing hysterically and filming me as I screamed for help.
- Taking pictures with a life size Bob Ross cut-out at the spring Canvas and Coffee
- Having a 3 hour long dinner with musicians Collin Hauser and Stevie Jo Rosenbalm and getting way more relationship advice than expected.
- Attempting to tackle the “Big Baller” inflatable at Maroonziee (yes this is what you’re picturing from Wipeout).
- Going on many, many, MANY Biggby Coffee runs. Coffee was probably the most important ingredient that fueled me through this year – RIP to my bank account.
- Meeting Jesse McCartney!!!
- Winning the Golden Goblet award for Homecoming week.
- Winning Cops & Doughnuts’ contest with our famous Maple Pecan Cheesecake donut (created by yours truly).
- Eating sweet corn straight off the stock with PB’s members at our fall social, thank you Papa’s Pumpkin Patch!
- AND SO MANY MORE…
The thing I loved most about my time this year with Program Board is the people. As I’ve said before, people are my passion. My passion drives what I do and why I do it. Program Board has some of the best people I’ve ever met in my entire life. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve grown so close to these people in such a short amount of time I know I’ve found my place on campus. “You meet thousands of people, and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person, and your life is changed forever.” This is true except I met TEN people and it changed my life forever! Thank you to the entire 2017 – 2018 Program Board executive board. This group of people has seriously been the best team I’ve worked with and I will forever cherish the relationships I’ve made this year.