New RSO promotes event planning

Roberto Hodge, Multicultrual Editor

A new Registered Student Organization has started with the goal of teaching students how to properly plan events with professionalism and hospitality.

Darius Francis and Joryn Zeek-Lee, both communication studies majors, created the Student Event Planners Association with the goal of allowing students from all backgrounds to graduate with a professional binder to show future employers.

Francis, the president of the organization, said he and Zeek-Lee had a course together last semester, and she heard of his experience with event planning so she approached him with the idea of creating such an organization.

Francis, not a stranger to event planning, spent a summer in the United Kingdom for an internship aimed at event planning.

“I think we make a really good team,” Francis said.

The Student Event Planners Association is similar to other organizations like The Agency and Public Relations Student Society of America, but Francis said their organization is different in a sense because of their practicalities.

Francis said the students who participate in the organization will have floor plans, designs and market events that can refer to in a binder when they get into the real world of event planning.

“People will be able to practically do it,” Francis said. “To give them a sense of security.”

Members of the organization will learn the do’s and don’ts of event planning, such as listening to what their client wants, not promising anything unless the planner is sure it can be done and to try and capture the clients vision, Francis said.

Francis said members would also be able to manage issues seamlessly during an event as to not hinder the overall operation.

Having planned and managed many different events, Francis said he once had to fix an issue 30 minutes prior to his guests arriving while he was in the United Kingdom. He said a mix-up occurred with some of the silverware at the banquet he was managing, and the bar brought in glasses that were not all the way cleaned. Francis had everyone rinse the glasses and then run them through the dishwasher before bringing them out to the guests right as they were serving dinner, which made it look planned for the overall event.

“Things should be prepared in advance—that was a lesson learned,” Francis said.

Francis said event planning is one of the most stressful jobs in the world, but he said once events have been completed to what the client wants, it is a great feeling. He said some of the things students should take away from the organization are hospitality and a level of professional commanding. Telling workers what needs to be done, but politely, is a skill that would come in handy, he said

Since Francis and Zeek-Lee are both graduating this semester, Francis said he hopes the future of his organization will allow the members to fund and plan their own large event sometime next year. Currently, they are co-sponsoring and assisting with other events, which they will also continue to do next year.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Greenup Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].