As many conference professionals head into the ‘busy season’ of summer, this is a good time to remind you of just how much impact you have on your university and your community.
In the day to day chaos of summer conference season, it is easy to forget the big picture when the focus is on the little details. Below are my top three choices detailing the powerful influence of conference services that go beyond the revenue you generate for the university.
Impact #1: Future enrollment
Chances are there will be some sort of youth camp happening on your campus (or more likely, multiple camps).
These aren’t just campers, these are future students. During their time on campus, they are sleeping in your residence halls, eating in your dining halls and moving about your facilities. They are getting a flavor of what it would be like to be a student.
This can most certainly have an impact on whether they choose to include your campus in their college search or not. It did for me. In high school, I participated in a music festival for three years at the university that ultimately became my alma mater.
Impact #2: Local Economy
It isn’t unusual for someone attending a conference, camp or event to complete some sort of business transaction in your geographical area, even if it is only to fill up on gas before hitting the road again.
Residential groups and especially those with adult participants will venture off-campus at some point and spend money with local businesses. That is money the business would otherwise not be earning if it weren’t for your conference program.
Impact #3: The Educational Mission
The primary purpose of every university is to educate the students.
When you hire student employees to work in your conference program, you are giving them experiential education.
If you have structured your staff to allow for student managers, you are providing them with what is often their first supervisory role. If you ensure their responsibilities are at a minimum, paraprofessional, you are giving them a safe environment for practical application of their classroom learning, while honing their skills.
You are providing them with some of the most meaningful experience to use on their someday-resume.
An Integral Impact
You are more than just scheduling conference rooms or planning pretty events. You plan an integral part in the university's mission and reach. You have the potential to bring recognition and awareness to your campus or venue, impacting more than just your bottom line.
Through the chaos of your busy conference season, know you are playing a part in a bigger picture.
Watch for our second part in this series with tips on how you can track this data.