SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Networking events, corporate brand launch parties, ribbon cuttings, media events, professional conferences, award ceremonies — many jobs require some level of event planning experience, and a group of Wofford College students spent their January Interim learning how to plan, organize and produce events in both business and social circles.
"Event planning is important because events are important to us as people. It is a way to entertain and a way to connect," says Cassidy Hicks, a junior accounting major from Hamilton, Ohio. "Events are all about the experience, so you must put in the planning and preparation beforehand to create a positive experience that people will respond well to."
Gary McCraw, associate professor and director of music at Wofford, and Christi Sellars, music instructor, team-teach the "Let Me Entertain You" class. They start the month focusing on resumes, networking, verbal and written communications, and interviewing skills then move to etiquette (both domestic and international), professional attire, decorating, music and dining. By the end of the month, students had planned their own parties — from start to finish — and learned how to navigate professional and social situations. They practiced creativity on a budget, branded themselves and their events, and managed their time and resources to meet their goals and deadlines.
Brett Rodriquez, a sophomore business economics major with an accounting minor from Queensbury, N.Y., took the class because he wants to excel after graduation in a career in business. "I absolutely believe that the skills that I have acquired in the class will help me be successful in reaching my future goals in business as well as in social settings."
Rodriquez says he also can apply the lessons from the class when communicating with professors, alumni and his teammates on the baseball team. "It's all preparing me for my future after graduation."
Interim, Wofford College's January term, frees students and faculty to spend the month focused on a single topic designed to expand the walls of the traditional classroom, explore new and untried topics, take academic risks, observe issues in action, develop capabilities for independent learning and consider different peoples, places and professional options. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Interim at Wofford.