Author: Melissa Wiebe, Event Coordinator, University of Lethbridge
Our summer started out unassuming; we had pushed through a hectic May, and it looked as though we would have some time to catch up from the past month’s activities, and tie up the remaining loose ends from hosting the Canada-Wide Science Fair.
On Friday, June 21st we received a call from the Canadian Red Cross, inquiring if we had rooms available for victims affected by the flood that hit Southern Alberta earlier that month. The entire university pulled together to form an emergency response team that was tasked with ensuring rooms were set up and ready for their arrival, arranging offices for various organizations (such as Alberta Health Services, Canadian Red Cross, Services Canada and Victim Services), arranging access to the University gym and pool, as well as providing access to activity camps for the children. Various departments donated their time to ensure our guests were well taken care of and made our facilities feel like a home of sorts.
As many of you know, summer accommodations is a constant juggling act– or as Paul O’ Driscoll puts it– “a game of Tetris”. This “piece” came at us unexpectedly, but like the game that personifies Conference and Event planning so well, you adapt and play on! The pieces came together and we are still playing strong– balancing communications with various groups on campus, accommodating hundreds of Southern Alberta evacuees– all the while maintaining our summer hotel operations.
This summer has been unexpected, eventful, and flat out crazy. But hey, you never really know what you’re going to get. Adapting when faced with new challenges is just another day in the life of an event planning department, and Conference and Event Services at the University of Lethbridge saw this first-hand this summer. From the Canada-Wide Science Fair and Flood Evacuees to the up-and-coming Youth Retreat and Air Cadet Exchange, you learn new lessons, adapt to changing situations, and apply new skills to ensure that with each new curve ball thrown, you’re more prepared to react and handle the situation at hand.