Sometimes planning chapter events can be a daunting task. There are so many possibilities! How do you narrow them down? How do you know that people are actually going to enjoy the activities you plan? What if you pick the wrong ones? What do you do?
Not to worry! Take some time to analyze your wants, your needs, and your chapter’s past activities, and you’ll be on the right track! When brainstorming, ask yourself these five questions:
1. What Do You Want to Do?
This is your chapter. If something sounds fun to you, give it a try! Have you always wanted to participate in a book exchange? Throw one around the holidays! Is there a book you really want to read and talk about with others? Hold a reading group! Use your imagination; the possibilities are endless!
2. What Has the Chapter Done in the Past?
Sometimes you can gain a lot of inspiration from those who led the chapter before you arrived. If there are chapter traditions that everyone loves, go ahead and keep them up! You can also improve upon old traditions: if that Tuesday evening meeting time hasn’t been working for a lot of people, you can always move it to Wednesday if that works better for everyone.
3. What Can You Do to Get Faculty Involved?
You don’t have to restrict your events to students; getting the faculty to join in on the fun can be great, too! For instance, Alpha Tau Phi (U. of Oregon, Eugene), often holds multiple Faculty Firesides per term, which are events where students spend an hour talking with a featured faculty member about their research, teaching, their life, their favorite TV shows, and whatever else happens to come up. This is a great way for students to get to know their professors outside of class, and it can also build professional relationships with people who can become influential to a student’s future. Faculty love to interact with their students, and if you ask nicely they’d probably love to participate in your events!
4. What Nearby Locations Would Be Great Event Spots?
Why keep all of your events on-campus? If there’s a great literary spot nearby, you can take the opportunity to make a chapter event around that location. For instance, Alpha Tau Phi, in conjunction with the University of Oregon English Undergraduate Organization (EUO), organizes an annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR, every year to see a play together. This partnership has allowed dozens of chapter members to attend wonderful plays such as The Tempest, Pericles, and Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, at no cost. You can also ask your Faculty Sponsor to help you navigate university transportation options—maybe you’ll be able to use the university carpool at a very small cost!
5. Are You Still Having Fun?
Once again, this is YOUR chapter. If that monthly meetup to talk about what everyone has read this month that everyone loved three years ago feels like it has run its course, you can cut it. Traditions can change; the longevity of a once-beloved activity does not justify keeping it on the schedule once it has become more of a chore than a fun event. Ultimately, these events are supposed to be enjoyable for you and your fellow chapter members.
Keep these five steps in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to planning great events throughout the year!
What fun activities has your chapter done?
Resources for Planning Chapter Events
- Chapter Life
- Campus Events
- Field Trips
- Writing and Publishing
- Noteworthy Activities—descriptions of the most noteworthy activities various chapters engaged in and reported in their Chapter Annual Report
Amber M. Rose
Far Western Associate Student Representative, 2015-2017
Alpha Tau Phi Chapter
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR