“There’s a lot of moving parts,” says Bill Kitchen when asked about event planning for Algonquin. “Every event is different and every audience is different.”
Kitchen is manager of student experience and lounge operations for the Algonquin College Students Association. He works to set up the events that come through here based on what the students of the college are really interested in.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Lots of work goes into gauging the engagement of an audience. The Students’ Association does marketing research, looks into dates, costs and try to look at it from a student’s perspective to give them the best experience.
Most events see the SA partnering with a client and working with them to set a date. In the end it all really depends on three elements: scope, scale and nature. Many events require time for budgeting, management, marketing, tickets and more.
“You sort of almost want to work backwards,” said Kitchen.
He works to plan ahead and set timelines in order to determine how everything is going to work out in anticipation of an event. He also has to provide the best times for students and events and allow for the best opportunity for success.
Having a big event does not always mean success though, and the smaller events are about pertaining to or creating a niche interest. Even then, the success of an event is subjective.
“It can be successful with only 30 people – it’s all about the student enjoyment.”
At the end of the day, Kitchen’s main focus is to “enhance and provide a memorable student life experience. People tend to do their best in a place where they feel supported, and events help with that.”