For argument’s sake, we’re going to assume that you, dear reader, are one of two things:
- The new social and events chair for your fraternity
- A general brother who’s getting to run with the ball for the first time
With that said, we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies, because this one’s going to hurt. Sure, all of us have gone to successful events before. We’ll leave after a well-orchestrated night of food, drinks, and entertainment and think to ourselves, “Meh.” But the unseen reality is often a logistical nightmare requiring weeks of planning to put on an event that may last just a few hours. Therefore, whenever you attend an event, trust us when we say that the sheer coordination of creating it, crafting a budget, planning the logistics, marketing it, advertising it, and running it is an incredible feat. Look no further than the latest Oscars gaffe and you’ll see that even the biggest events of the year can fall apart in an instant.
So to you, dear reader, so fresh-faced and naïve, we’re here to learn you something and give you a little hard-earned wisdom to make your first fraternity event a success.
For your benefit, OmegaFi is here to break down what to expect when Running Your First Fraternity Event: A Minute-By-Minute of Pure Chaos.
This is OmegaFi and we’re here to make your Greek experience a little less complicated.
Event: Co-Ed Mixer
Attendants: Chapter brothers and Sorority guests
Expected capacity: 50
Amenities: Food and Drink
The day of…
12:00pm: Call student activities office. Be informed that a piece of vital paperwork wasn’t turned in, and your event will be cancelled without it.
12:15pm: Scramble to find a brother (who isn’t in class) who can run to the library, print up the form and turn it in to the student activities office.
12:30pm: Contact the party supply company and be told that the white tablecloths you requested and were meant to be finished by 12:00pm haven’t finished drying, yet and they’ll call you when the order is ready for pick up. This delays you indefinitely.
1:00pm: Text your way through class reminding brothers to arrive at the venue an hour before the event starts. They’ll arrive 15 minutes late and give you the stink-eye for making them do it.
3:00pm: Hear back from the party supplies store that your order is ready. However, there was an issue with two of the tablecloths, so you’ll be two short. They give you their most sincere apologies. It doesn’t help.
3:15pm: Google several party supplies stores, call them, and realize that finding a replacement two table cloths will put you over budget due to the lack of advanced notice.
3:30pm: Make plans to go to the dollar store and pick up two plastic tablecloths. You’ll make sure that brothers sit in these two tables whether they like it or not.
4:00pm: Call the catering company for final confirmation that the food is done, ready and will be delivered on time. It will not. Cautious by nature, you decide to purchase some finger food platters just in case of delay. This puts you over budget by 200 dollars.
4:30pm: Head home to get ready for the event. You will not have enough time.
5:00pm: Arrive to the event hall with the understanding that you will have the full support of your brothers to show up early as well and help you set up. They will not, and for the first 30 minutes of the prep time, you will be moving chairs and setting tables by yourself.
5:30pm: Your brothers will arrive, and if you’re lucky, some of them will be fully dressed. More than half the work of setting up the room will be done by then, but you’ll appreciate the help all the same.
5:45pm: You successfully conduct a mic check and go over your opening remarks for the event.
6:00pm: Showtime. Your doors are officially open, and a handful of guests begin to stream in early.
6:15pm: In your opening address to your half-filled audience, the mic is mysteriously disconnected, prompting an awkward five-minute break as the student activities coordinator is forced to briefly interrupt the event in order to fix it. The embarrassment and stress of this causes you to forget your opening lines and stumble over your words a bit. This sets an anxious tone for the rest of the night.
6:30pm: Your caterer finally arrives and begins setting up in the back hall of the venue. She informs you that the food will be heated and ready to serve at 7:00pm. You decide to play background musical awkwardly.
7:15pm: Food is now being served to your attendants who have grown irritable and dissatisfied in their hunger. You can only pray the emergence of food will influence their overall opinion of the event significantly. It won’t. Regardless of how good the food is they will only remember it taking too long and being hungry.
8:00pm: Now fed, your guests are beginning to relax and enjoy themselves. The ambient music in the background is pleasant. Your guests are enjoying themselves, and so are your brothers. This is going pretty well…
8:45pm: The student activities coordinator informs you that you need to start breaking your equipment down in order to be out by 9:00pm. Any potential feeling of appreciation and a time well spent is immediately dashed. As you make your closing remarks, the close of the event feels sudden and rushed. Your guests feel put out.
This isn’t good.
9:00pm: With the final impression made, you begin to break down the venue with your brothers, or at least, the handful that have decided to hang back.
9:45pm: Head home and get ready to start studying for all the tests, quizzes, and homework you put off in the planning of this event.
Running your first fraternity event isn’t easy. In fact, there’s a good chance it won’t be as successful as you initially plan.
And that’s okay.
Why? Because experience is both a difficult and unparalleled teacher. It just takes a will to tackle failure and weaken its effects in order to learn from that experience and ultimately succeed.
If you enjoyed our general vision of how running your first fraternity event might go, let us know in the comments below.