Why Did I Only Get Five People At My Program? : A How to On Hosting Performers at BSU

By Casey Mulcare

Coordinator for Student Programming, Office of Student Involvement and Leadership

I’ve been there. You think you did everything right, and you open the doors to your highly anticipated program and…crickets. A room set up for 150, with barely the front row taken. It’s a buzz kill to you, your organization, and your performer or speaker. Sometimes, it was circumstances out of your control (I’ve lost crowds to rain, snow, and sporting events on TV) and you have to chalk it up as a loss. Other times, however, it was a lack of proper planning and prepping, which can be avoided.

I’ve compiled a list that has helped me to greater success with a performer on campus. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to start the process early (at least six weeks out from your desired date) and to seek the advice of others. I’ve learned quickly that what I thought was cool or interesting or timely may not be what my audience wants to see anymore, so I always run ideas by my peers and students to be sure I’m on the right page. Here’s some other helpful hints:

  • Shop around – The one thing about showbiz is, there’s always someone new trying to make a name for themselves. Once you decide what kind of performer you want and what your budget range is, reach out to multiple agencies to see who they would recommend. Need agencies or don’t know where to start? Ask folks who have attended conferences like the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) conference, where they focus on college performer business.
  • Involve others – Get some input from your students or committee members on who they’d like to see from your short list of options. Getting others invested in the decision will only help to build hype for the show. Be sure your performer is keeping up with current trends and is relevant to your target audience.
  • Read your contract/rider – It may seem like the easiest part of hosting a successful event with an act, but you wouldn’t believe how many hiccups can occur that could have been avoided with another glance at the needs of the act. Most good acts will send you their list of needs, or “rider”, when they send you the contract. Be sure to read it and go over their needs ahead of time. The day of the event does not count as ahead of time.
  • Get their contact info – Another simple task, but a crucial one. As we know with our new students, BSU has a lot of their own acronyms and lingo that may not make sense to a performer coming here for the first time or once a year. Get their cell phone or personal email, and give yours to the booking agent (who may be the act). Having a backup contact person is also a good idea.
  • Prep that venue – Be sure to work with your CESO contact ahead of time to book and prepare the venue that is right for the performance and expected attendance. An intimate speaker panel may get lost in the Grand Ballroom. A comedian used to performing in dark comedy clubs won’t hit their jokes as well with bright lighting and an audience seated too far away. Have questions on what setting works best? Talk to the booking agent, they’re usually happy to help you. You’d also be amazed what a small decorations budget can do to transform your venue for the audience.
  • Fill the seats – You’ve been advertising, right? Research has shown that you need to see a marketing message 3 to 5 times minimum for it to really sink in. Make use of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the word out, but don’t rely on it. Print advertising, student and staff announcements, table tents, personal emails to possible interested parties, and tabling in the ECC or RCC are all great ways to get the word out. Don’t be afraid to do something a little out of the box to spread your message (radio stations do a great job at this!). Reaching out to classes that may see this as a great co-curricular experience (a.k.a. extra credit) will also help your numbers.
  • They’re people too – A lot of these performers spend a majority of their year on the road. Having water or a snack ready for them (check that rider) or recommendations for hotels or meals can really make a difference to the performer. Doing that little extra for them will pay out dividends when they take the stage!
  • Follow up – If needed, follow up with the act or agent and give them feedback. I have a number of agencies I can turn to at a moment’s notice in an emergency because I have taken the time to build relationships with them as a business partner.

On multiple campuses and in a variety of settings, these steps have shown success with acts that are just starting out to veterans in their field. Simply being a good host and doing your homework ahead of time can truly make or break your next event.

 

 

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Happy New-Fall-Semester from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions!

boyden_autumn

September is a crazy month for all of the staff here at Bridgewater State University…

Students arriving & returning…Staff greeting…
Students lost…
Staff showing them their way…
Students asking questions…
Staff answering questions…

In the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, it’s very similar – but it’s also a time for us to begin a new recruitment and application season. Well, actually, it started months ago!

As of today, we have already:

  • Booked over 200 college fairs and visits that will occur between September through December;
  • Met and communicated with more than 3,000 prospective students who are interested in one of the 2017 academic terms;
  • Received over 100 applications for one of the 2017 terms, including those who have requested deferrals;
  • Received test scores from over 700 prospective students who have not yet applied to the university;
  • Hosted over 3,700 prospective students to campus for tours throughout the spring and summer months.

This year we are starting off on a very high note: We are working with Paul Jean and his staff (partnering with “the kor Group”, a graphic design team out of Boston), redesigning our marketing materials, both print and electronic. You can look forward to seeing some really neat stuff in the weeks to come!

In addition, we are moving into our 2nd application season using the Microsoft CRM – Recruit (formerly known as Recruiter).  We have rearranged the application so that it takes an applicant less than 30 minutes to complete and submit online while asking the pertinent information that we need to know, loading directly to BANNER.  If you are working with any prospective students and they are interested in applying, please direct them to our “Apply” page on the website: http://www.bridgew.edu/admissions/undergraduate/apply.  Students will be asked to create an account (if they haven’t already done so) and then they will be taken directly to the application.

Application priority deadlines are as follows:

First-Time Freshman:
Spring 2017: November 1
Fall 2017: Early Action Option – November 15; Regular Decision – February 15

Transfer (Including Mass Transfer applicants):
Spring 2017: November 1
Summer 2017: Depends on the session of choice
Fall 2017: August 1

International Applicants:
Spring 2017: Only available to those who are transferring from another institution within the United States.  You must submit all required documents as soon as possible.
Fall 2017: February 15

After reading this update, I’m sure you are asking yourself:

What can I do to assist in the recruitment efforts of new students for FY17? 

The answer is simple: SMILE.

 

As we continue to welcome students and their families to campus for daily tours, Friday Information Sessions, Saturday tours and Fall Preview Days, we ask that you:

  • Smile & “Welcome” them to campus.
  • Welcome them into your department and office space.
  • Ask them if they need assistance.
  • Ask them if they have any questions.
  • Return their calls if they call you in advance of their visit to schedule a meeting with someone in your department.
  • Send me (Jennifer.Amiccuci@bridgew.edu) an email that we can send to prospective students about your area. Currently, we have messages going out from Student Involvement, Financial Assistance, Career Placement, Academic Deans and a small handful of academic programs.

Our tour schedule for the fall semester is as follows (just so you know when to look out for these visitors!):

Tours will resume on Wednesday, September 21, 2016.

Weekday, Daily Tours depart from the Welcome Center on:
Monday – Thursday: 11am
Monday – Friday: 3pm

 

Friday Information Sessions occur on the following dates and begin at 10am in the Moakley Center:
September 23 & 30
October 7, 14, 21, 28
November 4 & 11
December 2 & 9

 

Saturday tours depart from the Welcome Center at 10am on the following dates:
October 1 & 15
November 19
December 3 &10

 

Fall Preview Days will occur on the following Saturdays (Location/Time TBA):
October 22 (Focus: College of Humanities & Social Sciences)
October 29 (Focus: College of Education & Allied Studies)
November 5 (Focus: Bartlett College of Mathematics & Science/Ricciardi College of Business)

 

Thank you in advance for your support and participation in what we are expecting to be a very busy recruitment season! Your efforts are always appreciated and we hope to continue these types of initiatives as we move into future seasons.

 

~The Office of Undergraduate Admission

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Strengths Spotlight: Responsibility

by Shannon Boulanger – New Student and Family Programs

39c1222When I started my position here at BSU one of the first things I was asked to do was to take the Strengths Quest assessment to find out where I fit in our office “Team Talent Map.” It was not surprising to me that Responsibility was one of my top 5. I feel that this is something that I not only apply professionally but personally as well.

Taking responsibility to me means taking ownership of something or someone. Professionally I am responsible for tasks given to me by the 3 pro-staff members I work with, which at times gets to really add up, personally I am responsible for my family, children, home, and all things that go along with those responsibilities. I know how to make things happen and what steps have to be taken to complete a task. I believe I really applied this talent when we became an office. Collectively all four of my co-workers, including myself came from different backgrounds and different offices.   We had to learn quickly how to work together due to the fact we became an office right as the Orientation season was kicking off. I was then responsible not only for the closing out of our old office but also learning about a whole new program. I had to think on my feet and learn as much as I could about a program that I really knew nothing about in a very short period of time. I continued to apply the things I learned and started to gain a broader understanding and knowledge that was the base of what I currently use today. As a person who sometimes finds themselves alone in the office due to programs and meetings, I feel it is my responsibility to know the answers to any questions that might be asked of me, I try my best to avoid the dreaded “I don’t know,” and strive to be as helpful and resourceful as I can to the person on the other end of the phone. In a blog post by Travis Bennett titled “Being Responsible: Makes Your Life Better” he states that “A responsible person is one who can be trusted to act without needing strict supervision, because they are accountable for their own behavior” this describes me perfectly, I take pride in always knowing what’s going on and knowing how to do my part.

As with every strength, there is usually a negative associated with it. As the responsible person in a situation I try to make sure everything is done to the best of my ability and strive for perfection, which can sometimes add unnecessary stress. Strengths Quest points out that with this particular strength a person may have a “near obsession for doing things right.” In the office and at home, people know that I am organized to the extreme, I notice when pens go missing or if a magnet was put on the wrong side of the refrigerator.   I can’t relax until tasks have been completed or everything is in its place. Something that I tend to struggle with is finding balance in what I’m responsible for. I fully admit to taking on too much, or thinking I can do more than I actually can. In these situations I find it hard to ask for help or admit when I can’t complete everything. This is a constant struggle for me and something I do strive to find a balance with.

In the end being responsible to me is a very noble trait, I enjoy that whether it be at home or at work, or in any other given situation, people know that they can rely on me to get things done and to take full responsibility for these tasks no matter how big or small they might be.

 

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Strengths Spotlight: Restorative

By Jennifer Amiccuci – Director of Undergraduate Admissions Operations

Top 5

    1. HARMONY
    2. ACTIVATOR
    3. CONSISTENCY
    4. RESTORATIVE
    5. COMMUNICATION

Restorative 1

Problem Solver.  Observer.  Need for efficiency.  Educating others.

These are just a few descriptors of someone who has a “Restorative” talent.  The need to make things better and a person who has the ability to always see ways to make improvements…Potentially because they have a need to make things easier for others.

I was hired last year to step in and oversee the operations of the Undergraduate Admissions Office.  A colleague was retiring and while he was taking with him a tremendous amount of knowledge, skills and abilities, I was coming in with a different view, ideas and initiatives!  Luckily, I was able to spend my first month under his wing – he was gracious enough to show me the ropes and I soaked up as much information regarding processes and procedures as possible.  I was set on the idea that I would never make any changes from the get-go because HOW could I change something when I didn’t know the who, what, where, when, why and how?  The best part about my first year at BSU was to be able to observe.

The difficult part about this theme is that sometimes individuals can be seen as over-critical and wanting to fix things that are not broken.  Having these ideals in mind (even before learning that “Restorative” was a theme contained within me) I tried my best to be weary of this and even keep many of my mental notes to myself.  Of course, coming from another university where things are done much differently – I had to be careful to not present any ideas as being “better” than what was done at BSU.  Admittedly, I think it sneaks out every once in a while though!  Blame it on the Activator side of me!  But the Harmony in me allows me to try my best to be conscientious of how I make presentations and remain respectful of different ways of doing things – there is always more than one way to do something and have positive effects.Restorative 2

Overall, as most in our division knows, our office spent approximately 4 months implementing a CRM solution called Microsoft CRM Recruit (a.k.a. Recruiter).  It was an incredible experience for me to step onto BSU’s campus approximately one month into the implementation, keeping in mind that I had implemented this solution at the other school, and learn how to combine my experience with what I needed to learn as a new employee. Having the opportunity to repeat this “exercise” at a completely different place and then think outside the box to implement it for post-enrollment activities was such a great challenge and I can only hope that it has benefited those with whom I’m working alongside.

I am completely amazed at how StrengthQuest assigned these 5 talents to me because they describe my progression through my first year perfectly!

Just remember this when working with someone of the “Restorative” talent: they always have the best intentions of others in mind – specifically regarding efficiency.  They are excited individuals, especially when they have ideas free-flowing in their heads and they know that it will only make things better for others.  Being a strong problem-solver, you can never go wrong with having one of these as part of your team!

Restorative 3

 

 

 

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Strengths Spotlight: Relator

by Dr. Roopa Rawjee, Director – International Student and Scholar Services

Top 5: 13497957_10156994785485150_6802467246397068746_oRelator, Strategic, Learner, Arranger, Restorative

I see myself as a “people person.” I am warm, friendly and easy going and this seems to be the first thing people notice about me. I can make people feel comfortable right away. I am also sensitive and intuitive, so I can read body language, emotions, and between the lines. So my interactions with people are friendly, respectful and insightful.

Prior to coming to BSU I had studied and worked on a large campus in California. I was used to a depersonalized, highly professional work environment where emails were the preferred means of communication and hierarchy and bureaucracy helped to maintain and preserve order. I was not used to having people, especially cabinet members pick up the phone and call me directly. I was taken aback by the warm welcomes I received from some of my new colleagues and it took me a while to adjust to the warmth of a smaller campus. Soon I found that my strength as a relator was an asset. I had used StrengthsQuest on my previous campus, so I understood and was able to see what would facilitate my adjustment. I reached out to colleagues to meet me for a coffee or lunch meeting. I felt comfortable and safe when expressing my questions or concerns to my colleagues. As I continue to grow and work at BSU, I feel comfortable in groups, sometimes I am the person to ease a tense situation, or help a colleague to see a different perspective, or frame a conversation in a non-judgmental, non-threatening context. My colleagues on and off campus tell me that “I tell it like it is” and often reach out to brainstorm or confide in me. The challenge with this is that sometimes I feel that I am perceived as a “social butterfly,” especially by my male colleagues.

As I continue to grow as a professional, an educator and human being, I find that I utilize this talent a lot and in many different ways. I am growing into a valuable mentor for colleagues on and off campus. I have always been a good teacher and am very comfortable with students of all ages both in and outside the classroom. I provide strong co-curricular education and can make effective connections between theory and practice. As a friend, partner, daughter, I am accepting and respectful of the people I care about and I am able to communicate without making the other person defensive, or getting into an argument or fight. I find that I get better results this way and it has become more effortless over time because I have learned to recognize and work with my talent. I have also grown more comfortable with the concept of appearing vulnerable or showing the “softer side of me.”

I offer you peace.
I offer you love.
I offer you friendship.
I see your beauty.
I hear your need.
I feel your feelings.
My wisdom flows from the Highest Source.
I salute that Source in you.
Let us work together for unity and love.

–Mahatma Gandhi

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Strengths Spotlight: Positivity

by Kayla Flaherty, student

It can be no surprise that those who have a strength in Positivity are constantly looking for the silver lining, discovering a bright side and bringing positive ideas out, it seems almost self-explanatory. But in my own experience, the theme of Positivity enables other qualities such as empowerment, inspiration, and perseverance to blossom. In finding the words to describe this talent, I found this wonderful quote: “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create” –Buddha. I feel that this quote is quite fitting for describing what it means to own my strength in Positivity, which perspectives can always be seen with a light of positivity and that attitude is everything.

10645327_854309054599448_2509870613515604393_nWhen this talent is applied, it has enabled me to do much more than I thought possible in my role here at BSU. For example, as a student leader I often found myself needing to find a balance of my different responsibilities; with classes, two jobs, being involved on campus and having a social life—being positive meant everything. On days when it seemed that my plate was too full, all I needed was to remind myself that people believed in me and through reminding myself of the reasons in which I was so passionate in each of my responsibilities helped me push through whatever was put in my way. In group settings, I often find that I am the collaborator of the group. I try to find a way that everyone’s voice is heard and that we all put in the same amount of effort to produce something of meaning or taking a creative approach to our goals.

I feel that this theme can often be misunderstood as either overly idealistic or indecisive. During a class I recently had, one of my peers that I was working on a project with said that my ideas were “not grounded enough” for a class presentation we had to work on. I still feel that this is not entirely correct. I do however believe that once the creativity mindset of a person with positivity is engaged, the sky is the limit and that is not to say, that our heads are in the clouds.

In a few ways this talent has helped me to mature over the course of my undergraduate career and experience but it most of all has given me the gift of charisma. With Positivity, I find that it is very easy for me to relate to others and that I am quickly able to pick up on the mood of an audience and build off of that to create a positive environment. I find that public speaking has become one of my greatest assets through the development of this strength which has allowed me to shift my tone and manner to reflect upon certain events or present on projects without losing my own voice.

 

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Strengths Spotlight: Maximizer

by Dan McHugh, Director – Conference and Event Services Office (CESO)Dan McHugh

When I first heard Maximizer was my number two theme I thought I was being cast in the next Transformer movie.  Upon further investigation I realized, according to Gallup, that my Maximizer strength can be used as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence and that I seek to transform something strong into something superb.  I interpret this to mean I’m always looking to makes things better or to be the best they can be.  I want to take areas of my life and career to the next level.  Quality is important to me and I seek out ways to ensure both myself and those around me are striving to be the best, or do the best we can.  This drive isn’t about competition, it’s not about being better than someone or something else, but rather about having high expectations and striving to meet those expectations even when the deck may seem stacked against me/us.

Thinking about my role here at BSU as the Director of the Conference and Event Services Office (CESO) I see how I utilize this talent daily.   As Director of CESO I have the privilege of overseeing 13 full-time professional staff, 3 graduate assistants and close to 100 undergraduate students.   We manage over 20,000 event occurrences each year on campus, which include faculty, staff and student programs as well as external client meetings/events and conferences.   I take this responsibility extremely seriously because at the end of the day, every success and failure reflects upon me, our staff, the department, my division and ultimately the University as a whole.  We are in a service-driven role; therefore if either myself or any one of those working with me doesn’t deliver quality, we’ve let those depending on us down (which can result in a poorly executed event and/or lost revenue in the case of an external paying customer).

I don’t usually quote movies other than Caddyshack and Better Off Dead, however, for a person with Strategic and Maximizer as his top two talents and working in the event planning industry, I found H. Jackson Brown Jr’s quote  “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today” from the movie  P.S. I Love You to be spot on (I’ll deny ever having seen this movie if anyone asks).  Preplanning helps lessen the opportunity for issues or failure.  As a department we preach this both within the office and with those clients we work with.

My quest to ensure quality, to train our staff (professional and student) at the highest level is for no reason other than to strive to offer the best possible service and ensure a successful event from beginning to end.  It’s not about competition or bragging rights; it’s simply having higher expectations and expecting the biggest results.  It’s easy to simply go through the motions and just do your job.  It’s more challenging…and rewarding, to expect excellence.  My insistence on constant feedback and assessment helps feed my need to ensure we offer the best possible service.   If I’m not open to both criticism and praise then how do I get better?  If I’m not honest with my employees about their quality and quantity of production, how do they get better?  If I don’t listen to my customers/clients about their experiences, how can we continue to do what we do well and address the areas holding us back?  We can’t be the best if we don’t invest the time into hiring and training and we can’t get better if we don’t continue to assess and adapt.

We continue to adapt to the changing landscape at BSU.  As the University grows, so do expectations.  Because of this we’ll conduct SWOT analysis to help better gauge the departments Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (as well as those as our other service providers).  Over the past eight years we’ve utilized the results of all of our assessment tools to continue to invest in the areas that will ensure our success.  When feedback showed that it was taking too long to process reservations, we revamped our entire process and added staffing to better manage the process.  With an effort to support a growing trend in night and weekend programming, we extended our hours to better staff according to the needs.  We, along with the Registrar’s Office, struggled for years with outdated reservation software.  We fought for and ultimately purchased new event management software that revolutionized how the campus requests space (both academic and otherwise).  These are just a few examples from the past few years where we put the time into ensure we took our service to the next level and it has shown a tremendous return on investment with customer satisfaction.

BSU often utilizes the tagline Expect more, Achieve more.  As a person with Maximizer as his number two talent, those words resonate with me.  If you don’t strive for excellence it’s difficult to achieve it, if we don’t have higher expectations we’ll never be the best.

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