Guest Post: What My Sorority Taught Me About Event Planning

June 8, 2013

Many sorority women are in the midst of planning formal recruitment. Kaity Nakagoshi reached out to us about her experience as a former Vice President of Membership that we want to share with you. We hope you enjoy her guest post. Cheers! – SEA

Guest Blogger:  Kaity Nakagoshi

Guest Blogger: Kaity Nakagoshi

Kaity Nakagoshi is a Florida native who graduated from the University of South Florida. She is a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity and was a Sigma Chi Sweetheart. She currently works for Zelen Communications in Tampa, Florida and is looking forward to obtaining her MBA from the University of Georgia. Follow Kaity on Twitter @KaityAtZelen.

My business card may not say “Event Planner” on it, but I sure as heck can play a mean party hostess. The reason why…recruitment! Although my college days seem ancient at this point, there are certain memories that seem like they were just yesterday.

One memory in particular that always stirs up a variety of emotions for me is when I served as vice president of recruitment for my sorority. On most campuses, the recruitment process is only about five days long, but the amount of planning and preparation that goes into that one week is tremendous.

When you break it down, each day of recruitment is basically a “party” in itself. In other words, it was my job to plan and coordinate a different themed party for each day, which included everything from décor, attire, song choice, refreshments, and activities. I will openly admit that I basically slept zero hours that week, but it was worth every minute and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I always knew I had a knack for design and organization, but my attention to detail is what really came in handy. It is definitely a necessary trait for anyone interested in hosting an event. During this leadership role, I learned quite a bit about myself, and about event planning as a whole. If you are considering taking on the responsibility of planning your chapter’s formal recruitment, or if you just want to throw a sophisticated party for fun, consider the following:

Budget – If you have a set budget, be sure to stick to it. Get estimates before making final purchases and save all your receipts just in case. Learning how to budget for a big event like sorority recruitment is a great way to get hands on experience about real life budgeting.

Delegate – This is crucial and was difficult for me to grasp but I finally realized that I didn’t have a choice. It is physically impossible for one person to take on every task. If you are a control freak like myself, just be sure to give very thorough directions when you show others how to do something.

Rentals – In order to accommodate for the number of persons attending an event, and to make it aesthetically pleasing, you may need extra materials such as tables, chairs, linens, lighting, fans, and dining ware. There is no need to purchase such items for a one-time use, but fortunately you can pretty much rent anything these days, and at a reasonable cost. Make sure that the linen rental company you choose is not already booked by the other chapters on campus.

Clipboard – It seems cliché for a party planner to walk around with a clipboard, but it is a necessity. These days of course, an iPad or Tablet would suffice just fine. Ultimately, the purpose of the clipboard is to keep everything running smoothly. Write yourself little reminders and cross off things that have been completed. Organization is of the utmost importance!

Composure – As with any situation where someone you might take on a leadership role, it is imperative that you keep your cool. In other words, never let ‘em see you sweat. It is completely normal and expected for a party planner to feel stressed and overwhelmed, but the thing that sets apart the rookies from the pros is the ability to appear calm in the midst of excitement.

Event planning and party hosting are far from easy tasks, but they are manageable. I have yet to take on a project quite like vice president of recruitment of my sorority, but I am confident that when it comes time for me to start planning my own wedding, I will not need to hire a professional.




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