Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis | Groups

Planning an Event

With events, know the definitive answers to these strategic questions:

  • Who is taking ownership to ensure a successful event?
  • Who is your group’s Olin administration advisor and how should he or she be involved?
  • What other stakeholders should be involved?
  • Who is the target audience for the event?
  • What’s in it for attendees?
  • What are the barriers to attending?
  • What are we trying to accomplish – for our student group, Olin, and the event guests?
  • What do we want attendees to know and do after the event?
  • How do we want them to feel?
  • What are the most effective ways to get the word out about the event?

With events, timing speaks volumes

WU's Office of Student Activities offers tips and resources for planning special events. Organizing a major event, with guest speakers, external guests, and/or registration, requires advance planning. Follow the guidelines below and communicate with the school administration to make the best use of your available resources.

Time Frame

Action Item

12 to 16 weeks out – or more

  • Answer the strategy questions above.
  • Develop guest list, invitation, and registration process.
  • Check calendars and room availability for opportunities and conflicts.
  • Begin design and production of website and print invitations.

10 to 12 weeks out

  • Reserve/confirm your venue(s) and speakers.
  • Plan your transportation, entertainment and menus.

9 weeks out

Develop invitation list.

8 weeks out

Send out save-the-date email and make phone calls to invite key guests.

6 to 8 weeks out

  • Test online registration (if applicable).
  • Send out print invitations (if applicable).

5 weeks out

Email invitation (if applicable).

3 weeks out

Email invitation to non-respondents (eliminate if you have a sufficient number of RSVPs).

1.5 weeks out

Send out last-chance/reminder email.

Reserve your venue well in advance

See details about room reservations above.

Develop registration methods well in advance

There are various ways to collect registrations, dependent upon:

  • the size of the audience/event
  • the audience being invited (internal WUSTL-key holders or external guests)
  • whether the event is FREE or has a registration fee
  • whether event is owned/hosted by a student organization
  • if registeration ils part of an academic/Olin-sponsored conference (available only for faculy and centers)
Additional details under "More Information" below

Invitations and Web Display

Printed invitations can be arranged with advance notice by contacting your M&C Brand Manager

Additional details under "More Information" below

Develop your guest list

Request alumni speakers and mail lists from the Alumni & Development office.

Food and drink are the life of a party

Catering is part of event support at the Knight Center, but if your event is elsewhere on campus, Dining Services Catering can help. For other catering recommendations or suggestions for entertainment, ask your club advisor or program staff.

Event organizers are responsible for adhering to the Policy Governing Alcohol Service at Events Sponsored by Graduate Student Organizations.

More Information

Need more information for promoting your event and/or registration options?
See OlinEvents-PromotionToWebandRegistration.docx