When planning events and projects as a GSA, it will be helpful to create a “work plan.” This document will cover details of the planning process and designate responsibility for different tasks. Taking the time to make one at the outset will help your group stay organized and focused. This document will also address issues that your GSA should keep in mind while planning your event.
Here’s what to include on your work plan:
- A brief description of the project/event.
- Dates for the planning period.
- Date(s) for the project/event.
- Goals (broad things you are working toward – this project/event is part of that work).
- Objectives (concrete things that this specific project will accomplish by its end).
- Strategies/steps for planning the project/event. Be detailed and specific!
- Dates for each step of the planning process to be completed by – and stick to them!
- Indication of who is responsible for each step. Delegate and spread leadership.
- List of materials that will be needed for the project/event and who is responsible for them.
- A description of how the project/event will be evaluated and who will conduct and analyze the evaluation results.
Don’t forget to document all of your work (work plan, planning meeting agendas, etc.) and save it in a folder so that future planners can reference it. If you have access to the equipment, you may want to also videotape or tape record the event, not only for future leaders but also for members who couldn’t attend the event.
When advertising for you project/event don!t just announce it to your GSA. Think about other audiences who might be interested in attending. For example, invite other diversity or civil rights groups on your campus. In addition, keep staff, faculty, and administrators in mind. Your project/event may be a great way to educate them.
Joint projects are a great way to develop relationships with other groups and build allies. Approach various groups and see if they want to be involved in putting on a project/event that addresses issues you are both dealing with. Keep in mind that there are several ways for groups or individuals to help co-sponsor your project/event. Money is an obvious method of contribution, but groups may also help with flyering, poster-making, making copies, or volunteering at the event. Above all, make sure to be fair when distributing the credit – be sure to recognize everyone who participated.
This one is important for obvious reasons – you want a space where people will safe attending your project/event. However, you also want to think about whether the location is accessible to various people. Is it in a place that is easy to find? What about wheelchair accessibility?
It is important for us to remember that the LGBT community includes people from all backgrounds and abilities. Do some research on your campus to find out if there is anyone who knows sign language who can volunteer their time. Having a signer at your project/ event is an important way to be inclusive of the deaf community. Depending on the event, you may want to get a manuscript of the performance ahead of time to make it easier on the interpreters.
Language is a common barrier that students face at their school. Make sure your flyers are translated into multiple languages to reach a broader audience. Collaborate with other clubs on campus to help bring in bi-lingual speakers or have bi-lingual students be able to translate at the event. If you are showing a video, make sure it has subtitles in other languages.
There are many things to keep in mind to be sensitive to the socio-economic diversity in your GSA and community. Recognize that people have varying access to resources including money, cars, computers, etc. Make sure that your project/event is accessible through public transportation. In addition, try to coordinate carpooling. When deciding on the cost of your project/event consider a sliding scale. For example, students pay less than adults or you can ask patrons to pay what they can afford. Of course, you can always try to do enough fundraising so the event is free!
It is always a good idea to evaluate your project/event. Not just to see if people enjoyed it, but also as a way to measure the diversity of the issues and communities you address and represent. Take the evaluation seriously. It is a great way to look at the work you are doing and to get input and feedback from your audience. Upon looking at the evaluation results, ask yourself the following questions: How diverse are the projects/events we are hosting? Are we reaching any new audiences? What topics haven!t we explored?
You want to have two versions of an evaluation; one for the presenter(s) and one for the audience. Feel free to duplicate these evaluations or alter them as you see fit. Whenever asking questions about one!s identity, it is always recommended to let the individual fill out the information rather than you assuming an identity for them.
Worksheets available in PDF form.
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