I’m in the process of proposing a new mass comm course. It requires a great deal of planning, research and paperwork, but the demand for this course seems to be fairly strong. What class is this? It’s event planning, a mass comm elective that PR and ad majors may want to consider.
We had our first event planning course in fall 2008 (CMMN A494 Strategic Event Planning and Management), and now everyone’s asking when we’ll offer it again. Well, the Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise (literally), we’re going to put it on the schedule for fall 2009 (and many falls to come, hopefully).
A lot of people think an event planning course in a city built on conferences and conventions is a no-brainer. After all, New Orleans knows how to throw an event. We’ve seen everything from Super Bowls to national political conventions. Those of us who were here for Mardi Gras 2006 know that no hurricane can stop an event that’s meant to be. (Take that, Presidential Debate Commission!) We host 6 million (or more) visitors a year, and all those visitors spend money. The New Orleans Bowl brings in $20 million. The 2008 NBA All-Star game had a projected $90 million impact.
And it’s not just this city that needs event planners. Information from Belmont University states that almost $100 billion is spent annually planning meetings; that includes conferences, trade shows, and special events sponsored by corporations, businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. According to projections, the need for meeting and convention planners is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations (20 percent between now and 2016).
Many mass majors wind up handling event planning as part of their jobs – or as their WHOLE jobs. And other majors are finding out that an educational foundation of the strategic skills associated with event planning are a good thing, as Martha Stewart might say. As I get back to the seemingly miles of pages of required information to put this course on the books, I know that it’ll be worth it in the long range. So BOLO (be on the lookout) for Strategic Event Planning and Management, coming to a mass comm class near you this fall…if I can get the paperwork done!