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Recap: Event Planning During COVID-19

Last week, student leaders from across the country attended virtual collaboration meetings to learn about event planning during COVID-19.  Resources that were mentioned on the call & the PowerPoint slides are linked below:

Below is a recap of the material that was presented during the meeting:

Virtual Events – When planning a virtual event, consider which aspects of your event will be public (viewable by anyone on the internet) or private (exclusively available to registered participants).  Many Dance Marathon traditions are quite meaningful to participants, but they might not mean the same to a non-student who is viewing your public livestream.  Identifying the audience for each portion of your event will help you develop a program that is engaging and enjoyable from start to finish.

In-Person Events – If your campus guidelines allow for in-person activities to be held, there are still several considerations in play.  First and foremost, can you do this safely?  How many participants do you hope to accommodate during an in-person activity?  Are people truly interested in coming?  What will the experience be for those who are not able to attend?  There are many options for outdoor ‘drive-by’ events that allow for adequate social distancing.  If you are planning an indoor event of some kind, consider assigning attendees to ‘pods’ and take steps to minimize interaction between pods.

Streaming Tips – You don’t want your Dance Marathon to be the first day you try to use a livestream.  Seek out an experienced streamer to help you set up and broadcast your Dance Marathon.  You’ll need to have a high-powered computer and a very strong internet connection.  Test it out multiple times ahead of your event and have a backup plan ready to go in case something goes wrong at the last minute.  Make sure that your event schedule is planned to the exact minute and keep additional content on standby in case you need to fill a gap in your stream.  Remember, a live audience is watching, so you want to keep them engaged during the entirety of your event. (Read more from LoboTHON’s virtual marathon on our blog!)

Creating an Engaging Virtual Event – To keep your audience engaged, be present with them!  Message them in the chat, shout them out onscreen, and provide opportunities for them to interact with the stream other than just watching.  This year, it is imperative that you reimagine your Dance Marathon all the way from opening ceremonies to the Circle of Hope and adapt to a new timeline and format.  Consider what will resonate most with your student body and develop your event timeline to fit your campus.