I suppose I was always destined to be in Events. Back in the day, when going to University in the True North, Strong and Free, I was somehow elected to the Student Union. In a school with a 25,000+ I remember it like it was yesterday. I had no interest in PoliScience, but I was a business major, and that gave me a competitive edge in running for Treasurer. However, the two people I was running against were very well known politico’s in the school, and being that I didn’t really work very hard during the election phase, just doing the bare minimum in terms of campaigning, and not even showing up to the debate, both those competitors thought it was a two-horse race. Oops. Unfortunately, they underestimated a critical political tool: popularity. You see, living in the school residences, I built up quite a good reputation and was friends with lots of people. Being the only person from Hawaii on campus, as well as being fairly extroverted, you just can’t help but make friends! Long story short, I think a lot of friends voted for me.
I was up in Whistler, snowboarding, the day they counted up the votes. Apparently, it’s tradition that the candidates sit in the room and watch the electorate count the votes. Oops. Didn’t know that. So… I got back home that night around 7pm, with a single voice message on my landline (yes, I DID NOT own a cell phone at that time! Crazy!!). It was our party leader. He said, “I have good news and bad news… the good news is that you and Melissa won. The bad news is that nobody else did.” Ha! I couldn’t believe it! Later on, I found out that as the votes were being counted, I was ahead start to finish. And as the votes continued to be tallied, and it became more and more clear that I was pulling away from the two favorites, they both exclaimed, “Who IS THIS GUY?!?!?” Classic!
I actually ended up doing a really good job (not trying to pat my own back, true story!). Besides managing the Student Union to one of their best financial years ever, I also was in charge of all of their events. Now, I certainly was not as professional as I am today, and looking back there were many things I would have done differently with those events if I knew then what I know now (isn’t it always the way?). But certain events had glimpses and moments of event brilliance. For example, our Hot Tub Party.
A key rule of events is this: Have one element that makes a bold statement; that is the WOW factor of the event.
So… keeping this in mind, early in the Summer after we were all elected, for our very first event, we decided to throw a Cinco de Mayo party (at our school, summer session started early, so we wanted to kick things off with a bang). I came up with the grand idea of having it be a hot tub party. So, there I was, calling around, and finally got a guy to rent us four hot tubs. Then I had to get school facilities to sign off on it, which – by some miracle I still can’t believe today – they did. And not only that, but they allowed us to set it up on Convocation Mall, right in front of the iconic stage where EVERYONE walks up to graduate! Awesome! Yes, we had to have it fenced in, and hire LIFEGUARDS to ensure nobody drowned in the hot tubs (I know, I know, it SOUNDS weird when you say it like that). But lifeguards totally fit the Summertime/Pool Party concept, and it was a total hit! Being that it was summer, there wasn’t as big of a school crowd around campus, but that’s ok, the event was a hit. Complementing the tubs were a fresh sangria bar, burgers and dogs, and a sunbathing area (towels in the sun). But the centerpiece was those hot tubs. I still remember getting a bit giddy watching this one older guy move gigantic empty tubs sideways on a little tiny rolling cart out of the loading dock elevator and pushing it up onto the Convo Mall.
I still have no idea where he dumped the water when we were done…