Posts Tagged ‘University of Lethbridge’

From a Student’s Perspective

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by Michael Lepage No Comments

Author: Jena Lewis, Student, University of Lethbridge (Melissa Wiebe, Conference and Event Services,  University of Lethbridge)

From an outside student perspective, everything at a university seems to run like a well-oiled machine. It is only once you get behind the scenes that you can see how much time and effort (and occasionally panic) it takes to ensure that every event runs smoothly, and every hotel guest leaves happy.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that not all panic and stress is bad, but rather it can help create quick “on-your-feet” skills. Not only are these skills useful when empathizing with customers over lost keys or when they can’t find a specific classroom, but they also come in handy when giving a presentation in class, or when you are being peppered with questions.

Another skill I have been learning, albeit slowly, is time-management. This is crucial when planning any kind of event, especially when multiple university departments are involved. Time-management is a necessity when it comes to blocking off study time for finals, or finishing that crucial term paper while still maintaining a social life, and juggling other course work and commitments.

Ultimately the most important skill I’ve acquired is effective communication. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received that helps work through problems in my work and my life is to always repeat a question back to the person asking it. This not only allows you time to think of a quick response, but also shows the customer that you understand exactly what it is that they are asking about.

All-in-all the experiences I have had while working for the Conference & Event Services department have helped me develop skills necessary for school, as well as other skills that will translate to life after school. The high-stress daily activity of this field may come as a surprise to those new to the field, but eventually most students (or other new staff) adapt to the work-pace and are able to deftly accomplish complicated tasks, both at work and beyond.

Jena Lewis, Student, University of Lethbridge

Melissa Wiebe, Conference and Event Services, University of Lethbridge
Email: melissa.wiebe@uleth.ca
Telephone: (403) 329-2650

The Road to Recognition

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by Michael Lepage No Comments

Author: Erin Crane, Manager, Conferences,  University of Lethbridge

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
Abraham Lincoln

Let’s face it, if you seek recognition and want to be praised for a job well done conference planning and hotel management are not the jobs for you!

Our efforts are focused behind the scenes, making sure everything is happening when and how it should.  We plan, we implement, we troubleshoot and then we pick up the pieces and put it all back together again when things don’t go as anticipated.  It takes a special kind of person to do this job and with that comes the need for enough confidence and self-awareness to know that it could not be done without you.

That being said, we cannot lose sight of how important recognition is to us and to the people who work in our departments.  My team has been lucky enough this year to receive numerous accolades for our successful conference and hotel season.  It has reminded me how inspiring and motivating it is when your efforts are recognized and praised.

Recognition is not only a great motivator for staff but it can also be a great marketing tool.  What better way to advertise your business than in an article where they talk about how your facilities and how your efforts made a difference and an impact on an event.  It is the best testimonial you can have.

There are many ways to show recognition so I’ve listed a few for you to consider:

  1. Seek out city wide awards for tourism and customer service.  Attached is a link to our local awards.  http://www.exploresouthwestalberta.ca/blog-detail.asp?ID=674.  Check with your Destination Marketing Organization or Chamber of Commerce to see what your city offers.
  2. Create your own in-house awards.  Our student team developed a recognition award last year that was awarded at our monthly meeting.  Each staff member had to write down an outstanding effort made by someone else on the team.  Each one was read aloud and the person who had the most, won the recognition award.  This was a great system as everyone who had done something outstanding was recognized even if they didn’t walk away with a prize.
  3. Nominate yourself or someone on your team for your internal University awards.  Even if you don’t win it is nice to be nominated.
  4. Don’t forget that CUCCOA has awards that are presented at the National Conference. Please nominate someone and pass on the recognition.

Erin Crane, Manager, Conferences,  University of Lethbridge
Telephone: 403-329-2417
Email: erin.crane@uleth.ca

Being Prepared for Curve Balls

Posted on: July 29th, 2013 by Michael Lepage No Comments

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.

Melissa Wiebe, University of Lethbridge
Telephone:(403) 329-2650
Email: melissa.wiebe@uleth.ca

CWSF – A Campus Wide Event!

Posted on: May 6th, 2013 by Michael Lepage No Comments

Author: Erin Crane, University of Lethbridge

Less than one week until the University of Lethbridge welcomes approximately 1,500 participants coming for the Canada Wide Science Fair.  It’s been a lot of work but so much fun.   I live for campus wide events. There’s something about a community coming together, throwing open its doors, showing off its best features and ensuring everyone has a good time, that reminds me why I love my job so much.  In my opinion this is community engagement at its finest.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with two different groups on this event. The local host committee, made up of some of our finest staff members, and a group University stakeholders involved in the event. Both of these groups have taken on extra work to make this event happen and are committed to its success.

As you all know, whether or not you are the host of an event or just the venue, if an event doesn’t run smoothly, it reflects poorly on the University.  Providing help to the host committee with members of our own team and assisting with organization was necessary for this large scale event. Last week, we hosted a University stakeholder meeting with 34 people representing 20 departments that are all involved in the fair.  In my opinion, this is what we do best, working together to bring potential students onto campus from all over the country.

For those of you who have hosted a CWSF in the past please share your comments on this event! Thanks to CUCCOA, in 2011 at the National Convention in St. John,  I was able to meet with some of our colleagues who were past hosts of the fair.  They were kind enough to share their insights on the event and gave helpful advice and suggestions on what to expect.

What would my advice be for someone hosting this event?  Get involved early and encourage members of your campus community to get involved as well.  This will make for a successful Canada Wide Science Fair and will be good for your University.  Isn’t that why we are all here?

If any of you have questions about the event, I will be at National in Calgary so seek me out and ask away!

Erin Crane, Manager of Conference & Event Services
University of Lethbridge
Email:  erin.crane@uleth.ca
Telephone: 403-329-2417

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