Whether it’s an intimate gathering or a large-scale convention, event planners need a skillset of creative thinking abilities and project management proficiencies in order to produce an exceptional event on time and on budget. Recently, a group of 22 students at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida had an opportunity to utilize the creative and managerial skills learned in their Event Management class, as they had to create, plan and produce a live event as their final exam.

Students in Instructor A’Rion Raymond’s Event Management Summer 2012 course had spent six weeks learning and preparing to host a new award banquet known as the Southern Summer Soiree.

The inaugural Soiree, which honored Dr. Deborah Breiter and Dr. Robertico Croes for their contributions to the college’s Department of Tourism, Events and Attractions, was attended by more than 30 faculty and industry professionals.

In preparation of the event, students chose as a team leader to oversee the event’s $1,450 budget and delegated various responsibilities among the rest of the class. Students were responsible for all aspects of the planning and execution of the Soiree, including the creation of event’s concept, room layout and décor, catering and entertainment coordination, hosting and managing the event’s schedule.

“The purpose of this event was to provide my students with hands-on experience in the six stages of event planning, which include: anticipation, arrival, atmosphere, appetite, activities and amenities,” said Raymond. “Despite only having six weeks to put the event together, this class did an amazing job preparing and executing the entire event. They put a lot of hard work into this event and I know they took away a lot from this experience. ”

According to graduating senior Chelsea Bettmann, “throughout this process, we learned all about the business side of events, from pricing and knowing how and where to order things from, to being able to deal with unexpected issues and thinking on your feet. This was a great learning experience for all of us and it was extremely rewarding to see all our hard work come together like it did.”