Skip to main content
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Co-operative Education

Co-op students standing outside around a sign that says "SFU"

Coming into this Co-op position as an Outreach, Promotion, and Engagement Coordinator for SFU’s School of Communication, I was not expecting to gain any sort of event planning experience. Creating an event for our incoming students for Fall, was a brand-new concept that flourished this semester. I was more than happy to take on this responsibility and ended up acquiring a wealth of knowledge about what goes into the organization and coordination of an event. With this experience under my belt, I would like to share with you 3 event planning tips I picked up in this role.

1. Promotion Geared Towards your Target Audience

This event was mainly targeting grade 12 students who had applied and received an offer of admission to SFU’s Communication program. I knew immediately that social media would be a great outlet to utilize for this specific demographic. The only issue was that most of these students were likely not following our socials. Thus, we decided the most direct way to invite them was through emails and calling campaign. Knowing your audience also means knowing when to contact them. Most high school students are at school until around 3:00pm, so we were sure to start calling after this time. Within my phone conversations and the voicemails I left, I was sure to promote our Instagram page where we had posted the Eventbrite links, as well as our TikTok, where we posted a directional video guiding the students through SFU’s complex Burnaby campus to successfully get to our School of Communication on event day. We also mentioned our Instagram and TikTok in our email invitations. Another promotional strategy we used in the calls and emails was to emphasize the fact that this event was completely free and that we were providing lunch at our new dining hall. Points like these are attractive to any target audience!

2. Be Organized

For this event, I was fortunate enough to have other colleagues involved and helping with preparations. But having help also means having to stay organized and keep track of who is doing what, so it does not turn into a ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ scenario. Staying in constant communication with everyone involved was a helpful way for me to keep up with the tasks getting done. Another great organization tool when event planning is to keep lists. This is something I started but unfortunately was not persistent with. Keeping shared lists will help keep everyone involved informed and up to date, as well as aiding your own peace of mind. It is also important to stay physically organized. Part of the preparations for this event included creating SFU CMNS swag bags for all our attendees. Making sure I had a space to store the bags and lay out all the different items going in them, made assembling the bags and keeping track of how many we had or needed, much more straightforward.

3. Be Flexible

Chances are, your event will not look exactly the way you envisioned it in your first draft. And that is okay! As your event goes from ideas on paper to attendees walking through the door, it will likely undergo numerous changes. It is important not to be too set on your original pitch because unexpected shifts are inevitable and often bring about even better plans. In my case, my original pitch for the itinerary and activities had to be reviewed by my supervisor and other colleagues, leading to many revisions. Once we had an official outline, I began the next step which was beginning to go through each activity on the itinerary and getting things prepared. Through this process, further changes were made due to the availability of people we wanted involved, accessibility to some of the materials or spaces we wanted, etc. We even made last minute changes during the event week! Having 3 event days meant we could see what was working, and what was not, then applying the necessary modifications for the following event day. There were also changes that we had to make on the spot, like taking the students on a different tour route due to weather.

Overall, event planning has definitely kept me on my toes and taught me the importance of being flexible, staying organized, and being aware of who your audience is. Of course, there are many other skills you will pick up along your event planning journey, but keeping these 3 tips in mind should give you a good foundation to start off with. I hope to have sparked a newfound interest in event planning and coordination for you. Good luck navigating the exciting world of events!

SFU Student Undergraduate
Co-operative Education
visibility  199
May 4, 2023

Posts by Author

Emma standing in front of the pond at SFU Burnaby
A Co-op Student’s Guide to Media Relations

Like many Communications students, I came into the School of Communication very interested in media; both studying it and working in it. I found it harder and harder to pinpoint where I could fit into it professionally as I learned more about it. What do you do when you’re interested in media, but not sure you want to work directly in media?

A phone on the home screen where the apps for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be seen
Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing

When promoting events and news on social media on behalf of a club, service, or business, the main goal is to get as many eyes as possible on the content. One of my tasks in my 8-month Co-op position was to post updates on their social media accounts, which includes job postings, upcoming events, and special announcements. Over these months, I was able to find useful strategies and tools to help me manage these profiles effectively and efficiently.

Abu standing next to a screen that says "Limitless"
Why Pursue a Career in Sales

This article is my take on why somebody would pursue a career in sales. I have never done sales in my life, and I like to take on new challenges. Therefore, it allows me to elaborate on the skills I have learned throughout my journey.

You Might Like These... Academic Success, Convocation, Professional Development, Major Decisions, Life Experience, Community

Photo of Aleeze Asif
The Journey from Business to Arts

Aleeze reflects on a major career decision that led her to switch majors from Businesss to SIAT and how that positively affected her life.

Balloons floating in the sky
How my First Co-op Position Inspired me to Dream

As an undergraduate student who decided to switch my degree from Psychology to Communication on a whim, I was very nervous about my future career path, especially since I felt like I was the only person that had no big dreams in life. Therefore, I decided to apply to Co-op to start piecing together my goals and ambitions.

A laptop on a desk with a site containing different scenic images
What did I do to Extinguish my Co-op Nerves?

This was it. I finished writing my resumes, successfully passed the interview process, and accepted the job offer with cheers of joy. I told my mother with a large grin on my face, but in the midst of my excitement, my smile slightly lowered, and a wave of nervousness washed over me.

You Might Like These... Marketing

A table decorated with a book and tablet with a pen hovering over
5 Social Media Branding Design Tips

Unlike designing a magazine cover or a poster that remains on the shelf for a period of time, social media content elevates the brand with a single post and catches the sight of the audience in less than a second. When the design space is just small square, there is only so much you can do, so with that in mind, here are five graphic design tips to make sure your branded social media posts are appealing and maintain a lasting impression about your brand

Photo of Morgan
Taking Initiative: How FHS Co-op Student Morgan Karugaba Strived in his Student Developed Co-op

Morgan Karugaba shares his journey of how he overcame the challenges of uncertainty, by stepping out of his comfort zone.

Girl looking into the screen sobbing
Interview Tips from an Extremely Anxious Cry Baby

I made such great progress throughout the years that Little Nadya would definitely be in awe (and in worry because she’ll need to go through all those interviews). So, how did I do it? It wasn’t easy or comfortable, but that’s how you progress. Here are my tips for overcoming, or at least coping, with extreme interview anxiety.