24 May Recap of April 15 University Events Virtual Forum
The SUNYCUAD University Events Forum was hosted by Christy Doyle, Director of University Events at the University at Albany and Christina Cabral, Director of University Events at Stony Brook University. Nearly 100 SUNY colleagues took part in the presentation of best practices and new ideas for planning academic ceremonies, development/advancement events, annual/institutional events, and campus conferences following social distancing protocols to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Doyle and Cabral encouraged higher education event planners to remain diligent and stay focused now more than ever and to plan for multiple scenarios during this period of uncertainty. While it remains unclear when events may be reinstated, event planners were urged to propose modified plans, alternative timetables, and budget revisions; research and plan for virtual events; check-in with vendors and colleagues for ideas and to share information; design upcoming event invitations and determine invitation lists; develop operations manuals and maintain appropriate web content and contact with campus colleagues who are involved in college and university events. Ultimately, meeting participants were urged to be prepared with contingency plans and multiple options and scenarios for when it is safe to again host events and conferences or to do so in a remote environment.
Ideas for transitioning in-person events to a virtual format were shared with the group as well. Doyle and Cabral also suggested that planners should talk with college multimedia and technology specialists, research necessary technologies, forge relationships with procurement staff and share information on with core stakeholders. Though it may not be possible to make promises about when and how events will be executed in the future, the duo suggested that event planners provide clear direction and important information to alleviate concerns and should stay connected with their many campus communities.
Participants were also invited to join SUNY colleagues in ongoing Zoom meetings and discussions focused on commencement activities throughout the state.