So you want to put on an event. This is your super guide to finding out all the small details you need to remember when planning for any event (yes, really).
This article will be split into different sections: split by step of the planning process as well as by type of event.
If you've already read the article, you might just want quick access to some quick links!
Step 1: Core planning of your event
First things' first, you will need to arrange for the basic details of your event. This involves things like:
- Location (see Step 1.5 for ideas)
- What is the event
These are the first bits of information you will need to know when submitting an event proposal.
It's also useful to think about:
- Who is able to come to your event; students, members, externals, etc.
- Is there interest in running your event? what are the estimated numbers. This especially applies for larger scale events which also have a cost associated to them.
- If you require buttons on your website
- Are there any purchases that will need to be made
- Are there any invoices that will need submitting
- Will you need a card machine for your event
This is all information you will need to know by the time you submit your proposal! So definitely worth thinking about it first.
Step 1.5 Available Locations
We have a range of locations on campus that are available for booking for student groups. Different locations follow different booking processes. We have outlined our most common locations below.
A. Academic Rooms
All presidents and secretaries have access to Resource Booker, the college's room booking system. Here you can book from a selection of Academic Rooms from Monday-Friday between 6-10pm and a select few on weekends from 10-5pm.
These rooms are booked by the committee and the booking reference number must be provided to us in the event proposal form. Once it's been approved your room booking will be approved and you can hold your event there.
You can read more about which rooms are available and policies in the Booking College Rooms article.
B. Outside the SU
As part of a student group we are able to book a space on your behalf outside the SU under the canopy. You will just have to let us know you want this booked in your form and we will do it for you.
C. SU Venues
The SU Venues are available for non-exclusive hires by student groups also. You just need to let us know which venue you are interested in booking (Medicine, Tommy's Lounge, Tommy's Kitchen, etc.) and we can book this for you.
You can also book tables at the Packhorse on this form.
SU Venues are also available for exclusive hire for more private events. We make the bookings for these a term in advance, so if you're interested in hiring out Medicine for a club award ceremony, or the SU Hall for a group dinner, etc. keep your eyes peeled on the deadlines!
D. Sports Centre
If you wish to hire a facility at the Sports Centre facilities just indicate on your form which facility you would like to hire and the proposed date and time and we will go from there! Please note that there are costs associated with the hire of Sport facilities, you can see their prices here. Any student group bookings done directly with sport will be rejected and redirected to us, so please get in touch with us from the first instance.
If you wish to do a cake sale down by the Sports Centre let us know and we can arrange this for you also.
E. Founders Field
Founders field is a bookable space if you wish to make it an exclusive hire. However, if you just want some nice open space, you can just show up and use the space. You might even get some more members to join your group!
If you wish to host a fundraiser in the library atrium this is a space that we are also able to book for you. Please give us at least the required minimum of 2 weeks to sort this for you, as we will also have to get in touch with different teams to arrange for a table.
G. Founder's Dining Hall
Booking Founder's Dining Hall is saved for fancy, elegant events. You can read the full process on booking this space in the Booking Founder's Dining Hall or Picture Gallery article.
You can read about all the locations in the Holding Events on Campus article.
Step 2: Submitting your event proposal
To submit an event proposal for any event, you will do so in the Student Group Admin Form. The great thing about this form is you can submit an event proposal, a button request, a purchase request, an invoice and/or card machine hire all in one go! This is why it's handy to pre-plan, so you can do the submission all in one.
The first part of the event proposal requires some of the basic details, including event type and location. So let's look at some event types and what this would mean.
A. Socials and Other Small Scale Events
These are classed as small scale events. There is little planning involved, no use of equipment nor additional support is required.
This section includes: pubs, regular meetings, sessions relating to core activity, fundraisers, etc.
These are also events that could be classed as recurring events. Recurring events means that an event occurs on a regular basis every specific period of time (every week, every fortnight, etc.).
You can read more info on small scale events in the Socials and Other Small Scale Events article.
B. Day Trips
Day trips are activities which require more planning; including arranging entry fees, transport, etc. You can read about these on the Day Trips article.
C. Guest Speaker
Guest speaker events follow a slightly different process to your usual event proposal. We have a Guest Speaker Policy that you must read and ensure your abide by for any guest speaker event.
We also require 4 weeks' notice for any guest speaker event, no exceptions.
Guest speaker require more planning and might require the liaison with the College and some of their teams, like Security.
You can read the full process in the How to put on a Guest Speaker Event. Here you will also find the guest speaker policy!
Performances, showcases, productions, etc. are all large scale events, and as such they follow different deadlines and require a lot more detailed planning.
Since we have a limited amount of space, we always set a deadline the term before to request space of a production in the following term. So for instance, any production to take place in Term 1 would have had to be submitted in the summer, and so on. So it is of vital importance you keep your eyes peeled on the deadlines as unfortunately if you miss it, we cannot allocate you any space.
You can read the full timeline of the process in the How to put on a Production article. This is very detailed and should give you a good idea on how to prepare for a production.
Whether you are looking to join a competition or tournament, or host a friendly fixture, these are all under the same section of the event proposal.
For competitions, it's important that if you have to pay an entry fee you also attach a purchase request with the relevant details.
You can read more about specific details in the Representing Royal Holloway: Competition Basics
These are some of our most detailed events, and they require a hefty amount of planning. As such, we require that when you submit a trip proposal, it is at least 2 months before the trip. Anything under this time we will not approve as there is not enough time to ensure all payments and administrative processes are sorted before their deadlines. We will also require a meeting with the committee to go through the process. Since there will have to be payments involved, we can help you organize your buttons and requirements.
If you're not sure what the difference between a tour and a trip is, or whether you should be coming through the SU, what timelines you should expect to abide to, the steps, etc. you can read a detailed process in the Trips and Tours: Where do I start? article. Here you will also find an event planner template.
G. Other Large Scale Events
This is a generic grouping we have for anything that encompasses events like a ball, a formal dinner, a boat party, etc. These also require a lot of planning. It also involves talking to multiple parties to organize everything perfectly, so we require at least 6 weeks' notice for these type of events.
These are also events that you will likely have to book with plenty of advance to ensure you can get your bookings in, so it's worth submitting them early on in the year to get your desired day.
We don't have a specific article for all large scale events (but let us know if you would like one!).
The process for the event proposal follows the same as the rest, and depending on the options you select you will be prompted further checkboxes. For example, if you choose to do something in Founder's Dining Hall you will be shown a booking guide with more information.
So if you have any questions drop us an email or come to our drop ins!
H. Featuring SU Nights
Similar to productions and exclusive hires, these nights are booked a term in advance. So if you have missed the deadline, you will have to wait until the next term to arrange your booking.
You can read the outlined process and timeline in the Featuring on a Function Night article.
Step 2.1: Risk Assessments
As part of your event proposal you will also be required to submit a risk assessment. If you're not sure about what a risk assessment is you can read it on our Guidance for Risk Assessments on the Risk Assessments: What, How, When and Why.
You may be submitting an event that is related to your core activity; e.g. if you are part of a Sports Club and you're requesting to host an internal club friendly fixture, this would be covered by your General Risk Assessment, so you would not need to submit a specific event risk assessment. If you're not sure what a GRA is you can read all about them here.
If your event is separate to your core activity and not covered in your GRA, you will need to submit a risk assessment. We have recently changed our process so you no longer need to fill in a word document and attached it for submission. We have now incorporated the risk assessment within the actual event proposal form. We have added some example risks that you can choose from, but you can also add risks specific to your event. Please ensure you are detailed and thorough in your risk assessment.
If you want to know more about risk assessments you can read this article on what they are, why they are important and how to fill them in.
Step 2.2: Purchase requests and Invoices
As mentioned previously, our new Student Group Admin Form allows you to submit multiple forms at once in any combination you desire! This means that if you have an invoice associated with your event proposal or want some purchases to be made for it, you can do this at the time of submitting your proposal.
If you are submitting an invoice please make sure that the invoice has all the required information on it and that your group has enough money to cover the purchase. If it does not have all the required information it will get sent back and it will only delay payment. You can read in full about what we require from an invoice in the Invoices: Paying for Goods and Services article.
If you are wanting to submit a purchase request the main thing you need to check is if your group has enough money, as if you don't we won't process the purchase for you. You can read about our process for purchases in the Purchase Requests: How to Spend Money from your Group Account article.
Step 2.3: Button and Tickets
You can also choose to add some buttons from the Student Group Admin Form if you need to set up tickets for your event, if you need to collect money, set up a donation button, etc. the possibilities are endless!
You can read more about buttons here.
Step 2.4: Card Machine Hire
The last option that may be of interest to you when doing an event proposal is needing a card machine for your event. Whether it's to sell cakes, sell tickets on the door, etc. card machines are available for hire.
You must fill in an event proposal to access a card machine, otherwise your request will be denied. You should also only use card machines provided by the SU. Your group may have a card machine in its possession, but we cannot guarantee where that money is going to, nor can we help you retrieve it, so please ensure to only use our machines!
You can read more about card machines here.
Step 3: Approval
Now that you've submitted your required documents it is time to wait for somebody from the Student Opportunities team to get back to you. Depending on the time of year, we may take longer to reply to you, so please be patient.
Please note, that submitting an event proposal is not an automatic approval of an event. So please wait until it has been approved to do any marketing around it, or confirming with 3rd party providers. Remember you should also not be signing any contracts on behalf of your group as it makes you (individual) liable for any issues and costings; this means we will also not be able to help you if something goes wrong. You can read more about this here.
We may still require further information or changes from you, including but not limited to details of the event, modifications to the risk assessment, query on dates, query on the activity, etc.
Once your event has been approved you will also get confirmation of any space you requested to book. In cases where you have requested a card machine we will also forward your form onwards to the relevant team to get this booked in for you.
So as you can see, the most important part is to submit your form with as accurate information as possible, and then we will get back you!
If you have any further questions or feel like something is missing from the article just let us know!