Generate your idea
The first important step in event planning is to articulate clearly the goals and objectives of your event. In many instances, this is accomplished in a "brainstorming" session with members of your organization. It is important you include as many members of your organization in this process as possible. 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.
Research your topic
The next step is to ask for volunteers interested in working on this event. Students should be charged with the responsibility of conducting research for your proposed event. Consult University calendars (including academic calendars and Point) and other planning sources on campus, conduct Google research to learn more about your proposed event, see if similar events have been planned elsewhere (particularly at other colleges) and consult the records of your own organization to determine if similar programs may have been offered in the past.
Find opportunities for collaboration
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.
Download this general event checklist (.doc) as a good first step toward planning your event. Visit the Checklist tab for more detailed lists to help you plan outdoor events, study breaks, concerts, or events with speakers or DJs.