I can now add event planning to my repertoire of skills.
Actually, it's more like day-of setup and execution.
Yesterday afternoon I helped with a ribbon-cutting for the New Norris House in Anderson County. It's a neat project by University of Tennessee architecture students to study sustainable living. It's a living lab of sorts.
UT's Media + Internal Relations department where I work was in charge of organizing the ribbon-cutting ceremony. (We're part of the Office of Communications and Marketing.)
It was amazing to have a behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into making an event successful.
As a reporter, I would just show up to cover an affair and expected everything to go well. (And if they didn't, well...)
I now have a new respect for the folks who handle the logistics behind them.
I was like a little grasshopper following Beth, the master event planner in our office.
From chair arrangements and parking to caterer setup and crowd control, every detail was thought out.
(To be honest, when we arrived a couple of hours ahead of the ribbon-cutting, I wondered how and where we would fit the roughly 250 people who eventually showed up to see a 750-square-foot house. The home is on maybe a quarter of an acre, if that, on a narrow city street. Somehow it worked out. Everyone got enough to eat with some left over. Nobody got hurt or collapsed in the hot sun.)
I'm three weeks into this new job at the university and every day has been different. There's something new to learn, someone new to meet. Almost like when I was a newspaper reporter.
The gig is similar to what I did before: writing, interviewing people, using my multimedia skills (I completed my second video for the university this morning before I left for Norris.)
But I'm also picking up new skills and dabbling in many different things.
Challenge definitely keeps you sharp.