At the University of Redlands, before the visiting speaker takes the stage, the bride walks down the aisle, or the conference begins, staff in Event Services have already completed hours of preparatory work.
The department is responsible for planning and executing over 4,000 internal and external events on the University’s beautiful campus each year, from social events to corporate meetings, some of which are planned years in advance. “Clients will call us wanting to book the Alumni House for a very special date two years from now,” says Director of Event Services Joseph Remillet. “We usually have 30 to 40 weddings each year.”
Remillet, who has directed the department since April, assumed his role after working in live event production in the hospitality industry. He enjoys the position, even when it involves balancing over 100 external clients and processing refunds for event tickets.
“After working for a hotel, I was looking for a more community-driven job,” he says. “I wanted my work to have an impact, and working with students seemed like a great opportunity.”
In addition to the department’s nine-person staff, Event Services employs 24 student workers during the school year and 12 during the summer. Working designated shifts, the students are responsible for setting up and tearing down event spaces and making sure everything goes smoothly in between.
One of the first decisions Remillet made as director was to segment the department into two specializations: event planners and operational staff. Clients are now able to talk with the same event planner throughout the planning process, and operations staff can work in the field without worrying about missing a call. The reorganization has led to improved customer service, quicker response times, and better workflow within the department.
Event Services doesn’t just set up chairs in rooms, though. Each event is dynamic, and each client needs a dynamic team to match. “Event planning is a people industry in an increasingly digital age,” says Remillet. “There’s an art to meeting in person and communicating face-to-face. When people experience the event and have a great time, that’s when the hard work pays off.”
The department constantly collaborates with Facilities Management to ensure that event spaces are clean and prepared for visitors and students. Event Services also coordinates with Public Safety, media services, food services, the Office of the President, Alumni Relations, and many more departments across campus for different events.
“Every event carries the same level of importance, and no two are the same,” says Remillet. “By building the brand of the University through hosting external clients, Event Services contributes to the University as a whole.”
Learn more about Event Services and how to schedule your next big event at the U of R.