Hosting a Successful Event

By March 7, 2013

One effective method of raising awareness about student rights on your campus is to invite a FIRE speaker to come speak at your campus. FIRE staffers regularly visit schools across the country to discuss student and faculty rights on campus and give real-life examples ridiculous and unconstitutional college speech codes. 

Preparation

First, request a FIRE speaker by emailing sean@thefire.org.

Next, make logistical preparations by checking to make sure that you have confirmed all of the important details including date, time, and location for the event, and make sure the rooms are properly reserved. Reserve the room little for a time before and after the event to allow for set-up and clean-up. After these details are confirmed, you may return the signed contract back to FIRE. 

Once you have confirmed the lecture, you should begin preparing for the event. To make sure that the lecture is set up correctly:

  • Confirm that you have secured the necessary A/V equipment and a podium for the speaker.
  • Determine who in your group will be introducing the speaker and have them write out a short introduction using the encloses biography.
  • Assign other students in your group to take pictures of the event and to write press releases to the local media and your school newspaper.

Advertising

A well-planned out advertising campaign is crucial to the success of your event. Be sure to follow all college policies with regards to advertising. If you have a concern that your school’s postering or flyering policy may be unduly restrictive or unconstitutional, submit a case or contact the CFN.

  • First, your event should be listed on your campus calendar.  This can be found in the form of an email newsletter, part of your campus activities office or on another website.  You can also forward them your press release if you have not already done so. If you would like a high quality photo of the speaker to use for advertising, please let us know.
  • Create a Facebook event. A Facebook event for the lecture is a great way to spread the word on campus. If you have a Facebook group or page for your club, you can create a related event; otherwise, create an event that stands alone. Fill out the event information completely, make the event public, and invite all of your friends.  As the date of the event approaches, use the "message guests" option to announce a reminder.  Oftentimes, this little extra effort on your part will make the difference between someone attending or not attending.
  • Send e-mails to friends, professors, presidents of organizations and listservs.  Additionally, if your school allows the sending of all-campus e-mails, send out a few to announce your upcoming lecture.
  • Hang posters or pass out flyers for the event at well-trafficked areas on campus.The CFN can send you customized flyers to print out and hang up around campus. The flyers are only provided to help-you can certainly make your own flyers as well.

Execution

The reality of event planning is that no matter how much effort you put into planning your event, there are bound to be things that go wrong. By thinking ahead and following the tips above, you can avoid many common pitfalls of event planning.

The days before the event should be spent making sure that everyone has completed their assigned tasks and that the event has been properly advertised. On the day of the event, make sure that someone is prepared to give the introduction, take pictures, usher guests, and handle the Q&A session. Keep in mind that a Q&A period can take up to 30 minutes and be prepared to cut it off if it drags on for too long.  Make sure to tell attendees that they can talk to speaker after the event has concluded. 

Follow-up

After the event, be sure to share any articles or news clippings that are published the event with FIRE. If you have taken pictures of the event, please e-mail them to CFNevents@thefire.org and if there was a video recorded, mention that in your e-mail. Be sure to process the honorarium and make any checks payable to "The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education".

If your school newspaper or any media sources covered your event, make sure to contact them to ensure accuracy and that the story gets published.  Send out a thank you to your guests and give them some more information about other FIRE resources available.

Event Checklist

Before 

  • Determine the time, date, and place for the lecture.
  • Reserve the room, including enough time for set-up and Q&A.
  • Return your signed contract to FIRE.
  • Write a press release to alert your campus paper about the event.
  • Post the event on a university calendar.
  • Publicize the speech using Facebook, e-mail listservs, flyers, and posters.

Day of the Speech

  • Check the A/V equipment and podium in your reserved room.
  • Decide who from your group will introduce the speaker and handle Q&A.
  • Assign a member to take pictures/video of the event.

After 

  • Share your pictures, video, and any news generated by the event by sending them to CFNevents@thefire.org
  • Process your honorarium check, payable to "The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education."
  • If your school newspaper or any media sources covered your event, make sure to contact them to ensure accuracy and that the story gets published.
  • Send out a thank you to your guests and give them some more information about other FIRE resources available.

Additional Resources

Customized Flyers

The CFN will provide customized flyers for your event. Although you certainly can and should create your own flyers, these sample flyers can help your ad campaign Although you certainly can and should create your own flyers, these sample flyers can help your ad campaign.

FIRE Materials

There are a number of CFN resources that can be made available to you when hosting an event. Among the resources that we can provide are free copies of FIRE GuidesCampus Freedom Network informational flyers, and FIRE brochures.

Press Releases

To help aid you in writing press releases to local and campus media, the CFN offers sample press releases and tips on crafting a release that will generate the most media exposure possible