Dates & Venues
Considering the date(s) and location(s) for your event.
Event Reservations must be completed a minimum of two weeks in advance of the event, although you are encouraged to reserve a location as early as possible in your planning process. All reservations are considered tentative until an Event Registration Form (ERF) is filed with the Student Programs Event Coordinator. Making a room request with the Conference and Events Offices does not guarantee a reservation - requests are processed and you will receive a tentative confirmation if your space is available. Your event becomes confirmed only after your ERF is filed.
Make sure you have secured your date(s) and location(s) before making any commitments to entertainers, caterers, or other contracted services (note: all services require an MHC contract which can only be signed by a professional MHC staff person).
Most campus venues can be tentatively reserved for student events one semester in advance, and it is sometimes possible to tentatively hold 2 or 3 dates while you refine your plans. Large scale events may need an even longer lead time (1 year) - consult with Student Programs about this. (Please note - you MUST cancel any un-needed holds or reservations as soon as you know you that they are no longer needed. Campus venues are in high demand.)
Choosing the best date and time
In choosing a date and time for your event, it is wise to consider not only the availability of a performer or service, but also the impact of other 5 college events, the season, the day of the week, and personal schedules of key org members. As a student, it is important also to consider the predictable cycles of academic demands. Are you programming your event during a religious or traditional holiday that may create a conflict for a significant number of people?
Thankfully we have a 5 college consortium jam packed with academic and social/cultural offerings, but that does make it impossible to avoid all conflicts with concurrent events (especially those that might get planned after yours!) - advanced research of potential conflicts will help to reduce the chances of competition.
When considering what time to host events you will want to think about typical class schedules, common meal times, athletic events, and the differing demographic patterns on our campus. If you would like staff to attend your event you need to research their schedules - many staffers start their day early in the morning and work through to early afternoon (others are on night shifts). Many staff and faculty live outside of the South Hadley area and are less likely to come back for events on Saturdays and Sundays, but might be apt to stay for weeknight programming that starts earlier in the evening. Again - you can never accommodate all aspects of the busy schedule in our community, but do ask for information and advice to make the best choices.
NOTE: The earlier your event is planned, and registered the sooner it appears on the campus master calendar and others can see to plan around your event.
Best spaces for your Event: Lights, Sound, Furniture, etc.
It is good practice to think of your room selections as an empty space with four walls. From that starting point, make a list of what you will need in that space to present your event. Don't make assumptions about what will be there the day/night you get into your space. Often equipment and furnishings you may assume to be a permanent part of a given room are actually moved around the campus as needs demand. Sketch out a layout of your preferred set-up. Think about furniture, floor surfaces, lighting, sound equipment, media equipment, trash barrels, electrical outlets, and how you will move the equipment you need into a given space (by way of elevators, stairwells, etc.). These needs will in part determine which campus spaces are best for your event and should be discussed before a room is chosen.
Some additional important things to think about:
- Is there any chance that your event will be too popular for the capacity of the space you have chosen?
- Is the location of your event wheelchair accessible?
- Have you checked in with the “neighbors” who will be in the vicinity of the event? Will they in any way be put out? They might appreciate knowing about/being invited to your event in advance.
- If planning an outdoor event, don't forget to reserve a rain site or rain date! Read more info about our reservable outdoor campus spaces.
Most of our campus spaces are accessible to folks using wheelchairs, crutches and the like, but some are better than others. We encourage you to discuss this topic with the Conference and Events Services Coordinator, x2153 when making your room reservations, and with the Student Programs professional staff when thinking about your event design and publicity. Some event plans might need to also consider special parking and access accommodations. An access map and additional information is available from the Office of the Associate Dean of the College/Disability Services Office.
Other Special Needs Accommodations
Advertising that requests for accommodations can be met if audience members contact the event sponsors can reduce last minute requests that can be difficult or awkward to mange. Providing a point of contact is especially important if you are not working with a professional box office that would otherwise field these calls. Individual accommodations typically requested for programs, conferences, and events include accessible seating, assisted listening devices, sign language interpreters, and modified formats of printed materials. Some of these, like scheduling a sign language interpreter, can take a week or two to arrange, and will have costs associated with doing so, but the accommodations are important, respectful, and in some cases required by law. Professional staff in the Disability Services Office and in Student Programs will assist event planners with these arrangements.
Prior to your reservation requests, the Student Programs Event Coordinator can brainstorm with you about the most appropriate campus spaces for your event.
Making your Reservation
With only a few exceptions (Kendall, Eliot House, McCulloch Aud, and Rooke Theater) all campus space reservations are made through the Conference and Event Services Office. Behind the Conference and Events Services Office does the actual room bookings, and maintains the campus calendar for us. Assuming you are already a Registered Student Organization (RSO), you can use the on-line request form once you have a reasonably clear idea of your first and second choices for the dates and spaces you would like.
Campus Space Reservations need to happen BEFORE you can complete your Event Registration Forms (ERF) which have a 14 day deadline.
If you would like assistance at any stage of your planning the Student Programs staff can help you even before you contact the reservations office.