I would like to take this opportunity to discuss changes and challenges that affect the student event booking process. The campus environment is changing and Student Center & Event Services is trying to meet student event needs by balancing operational resources with the growing demand. Key factors:
- Student organization numbers have gone up dramatically over the past 5 years. We now have over 650 student organizations.
- The number of events being booked has more than doubled in the last 5 years.
- The scope of events, approvals required, and the services needed to support the event have become more complex.
- Course-coded class activities are occurring more and more after 5 pm Monday – Friday.
- Staffing, venue space, and other support services are not increasing proportionately with demand.
As a result, wait times for walk-in appointments reached two hours during peak times. In many cases, students’ wait time exceeded their availability, forcing them to return, only to wait again. With increased competition for space, the demand is exceeding the supply during peak periods.
After careful review and collaboration, two alternatives for booking events are being piloted.
- Students can make appointments via a system modeled after the Apple Genius Bar.
- Call 949.824.5252 to set an appointment to book a simple event/meeting.
- The student reservation team verifies the signer’s status when making the appointments.
- Students no longer wait in line or get turned away because they do not have signature status.
- Students no longer need to make a trip to the office just to complete some paperwork. Instead, students simply go online and make a request. Incorporating an online component has reduced the number of one-hour appointments with a planner from 4 to 2, on average.
- Special event requests are submitted at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/eventplannerequest.
- Students are receiving responses within 24-48 business hours, and appointments are set to review the more complex events.
More and more campuses are utilizing technology to meet increased demands while also providing the flexibility of 24/7 hour access to services in a way that best fits students’ schedules. For example, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Riverside only accept online event requests from their students.
However, the Student Center staff is always open to ways to improve the overall process and make your event experience the best it can be. The Student Center Board will continue to review the current process. In the coming months, these representatives will reach out to students to form a student focus group concentrating on the special challenges in meeting increasing demands.
The Student Center Board meets bi-weekly. All students are welcome to participate and provide ideas for improvement in all areas of the Student Center. Please visit the Student Center website for more information.
Stacey Murren and Student Center Team
Stacey Murren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.