Many offices across campus plan events but often need some help. University Ceremonies and Events within the Office of Alumni Relations has experts who have gathered a variety of resources designed to guide you through the process of planning your event. Below you will find a helpful step-by-step list of action items and additional resources for more in-depth event planning assistance.
Planning an Accessible Event at UNH
The Office of Outreach and Engagement, Student Accessibility Services, and the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity recently completed an online, self-paced module in Canvas to support those looking to foster more accessibility and inclusion at events. Planning an Accessible Event walks the participants through important considerations in the pre-planning stages of an event including: considering food intolerances, use of pronouns, assistive technology, and accommodations. This is the foundational program which will continue to evolve and build to incorporate other aspects of designing and delivering inclusive events across campus.
UNH Event Planning Considerations
For successful event planning, it is wise to start no later than twelve weeks in advance. Starting early will give you enough time to contract with the university services and outside vendors you may require. You can find a list of common vendors at the bottom of the page. The event planning guide and toolkit are downloadable resources that dive a little deeper into event planning than the step-by-step guide below.
Good event planning begins with knowing what you are trying to accomplish. Clearly define your goal as it will be invaluable as you move through the planning process. What kind of experience do you want for your guests? What environment/ambiance is needed? Having a clearly defined goal can also help you avoid unintended growth and expansion of the event.
- Create an invitation list based on your identification of the audience. Review the invitation list with designated host/stakeholders and/or supervisor to ensure no one is excluded or unnecessarily included.
- Set deadlines for mail date and RSVP date. (We recommend invitations be mailed 6 - 8 weeks before the event.)
- Design invitation including the who, what, where, when and how. (Remember parking information and directions). Include RSVP contact information and deadline. Contact UNH Printing Services for guidance, if needed. Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) may be available to help with the design work of an invitation. They also provide many DIY resources on their website.
- Set up your registration page. There are several resources available for registration systems. eVENTS and Eventbrite are common options. Save the Date Landing Page Template
- It is also important to consider what services may be required to ensure everyone is able to participate e.g. accessibility needs, or American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.
- Don’t forget to utilize all marketing channels to broadcast your event. Social media and more traditional marketing channels are great options for marketing on a college campus. Marketing Resources
- Be sure to have a clear understanding of your budget.
- Do you know how much to estimate for each aspect of your event? i.e. Venue, audio-visual equipment, chairs, tables, promotional materials, staff, security, etc.
- Make arrangements to establish encumbrance numbers through your BSC contact or discuss using your P-Card for off-campus purchases.
- If funding is tight, consider seeking a co-sponsor to provide additional collaboration and funding. This will require clear expectations and open communication between you and your potential co-sponsor.
- Budget Template
- Review UNH Venues to determine which space best meets the needs of your event.
- Classrooms, academic lecture halls, and auditoriums can be reserved through the Registrar's Office.
- Spaces in the MUB can be reserved through the a MUB scheduling office.
- Outdoor events on the UNH campus are required to go through the Event Permitting Process. This can be done through WildcatLink. This is the only way to reserve an outdoor space and alerts all of the proper departments (such as police, fire, and facilities) of your event. It is also important to take into consideration tent set up and breakdown for outdoor events when reserving outdoor space. Facilities will determine if a Dig Safe needs to be done prior to tent installation.
- Contact UNH Conferences and Catering to book your event and to provide catering services.
- Order registration tables, chairs, custodial cleaning, audio-visual needs and other equipment by contacting UNH Facilities.
- Prepare a Request for Service (Request for Service Template) for all campus partners and vendors to be sent 1-2 weeks prior to event to confirm services and provide contact information and event setup/breakdown details.
Depending on the size of your event, you may need additional volunteers to help ensure your event goes smoothly. Check within your department for volunteers as well as with volunteer-based student organizations on campus.
- Generate program content: Identify keynote/main speakers, clarify message and assign responsibility for program delivery among speakers. Likewise, clarify students’ role, and keep key administrators "in the loop" through systematic updates and communication.
- Consider whether a printed program will be required for the event. Contact UNH Printing Services for guidance if needed.
- Determine if you will need name tags for the audience and create. Name Tag Template
- Determine if you will need table cards for seating arrangements, if you are having assigned seating.
- Define physical space: Configure seating arrangement and assignments, provide signage for reserved seating, request service from audio/visual department if technical support needed, confirm parking availability, order greenery and flowers if necessary.
- Determine how to conclude the event: What do you want your audience to walk away with? Information? A keepsake of the event? (Most events begin with a presentation and end with a reception.)
- It can be helpful to develop an “Event Flow”. This document breaks down your program by the minute so that all parties, hosts, speakers, etc are on the same page. Event Flow Template
- Remember to send a "thank you" to the people who helped you with the event – especially the speakers in your program.
- If this is going to be a recurring event, be sure to hold debrief meeting after to discuss what went well and what could be improved upon for next year.
- Registration List Template
- Event Bag Checklist
UNH Conferences and Catering
Looking for more assistance planning your event? UNH Conferences and Catering provides event planning support to both UNH and non-UNH constituents. For a small fee, services provided by UNH Conferences and Catering include:
- Venue Rental
- Menu Selections
- Registration and Nametags
- Audiovisual Specifications
- Email Communications
- Additional Accommodations Available
Request information from UNH Conferences and Catering.
University Ceremonies and Events
Should your event include a complex programmatic component, such as attendance by dignitaries (i.e. President Dean, political figures, USNH Trustees, President's Cabinet members, celebrities, etc.) or is very large in scale, the experts within University Ceremonies and Events are here to help. The event proposal form is a tool utilized to support and partner with colleagues across the university for events such as these. Please submit all proposals at least 16 weeks prior to the event date. A member of the team will contact you once the event has been reviewed.
Event Resources on Campus
|Questions/Request for Service
603 area code
|Invitation & Program Design
|Communications and Public Affairs (CPA)
|Printing and Mail Services
|Printing and Mail Services
|AV Equipment (mic, sound, video, etc.)
|Set-up (tables, chairs, podium)
|Conferences and Catering
|Hanging Banners or Signs
|Tent Rental Services
Additional questions? Please contact Megan Brunelle '10, '11G at email@example.com or (603) 862-0021.