Posted October 11, 2012 by Missy Burgess 

Living From Event to Event

I’m ready for the semester to begin now. Wait, you mean we’re already seven weeks in? Around our office, we all seem to have different markers for what marks the kickoff of the semester. For me, it’s our Involvement Expo. Life revolves around that event for the days leading up to it, and once it is past, I can begin thinking about the semester. For others, it is sorority recruitment. For our family programs coordinator, it is Family Weekend. This year, after being sick for a couple of weeks and also working to finish a significant project, I finally feel ready to start this semester.

As I thought about this idea and the craziness that is the semester, I realized how much we live from event to event in the student activities world. I advise our campus programming board, which programs every weekend. Before we finish one event, we are already planning for the next. In the height of the (organized) chaos, I often don’t remember to take the time to reflect on what event we have just done and the impact that it had or how it could be done better until I begin to prepare for it again the next year. When working with students, though, it is important to include this reflection time, as this may be their first Involvement Expo or Family Weekend, or they may not be around to be a part of the planning for next year. I am reminded that I need to be more intentional in this area.

How do you avoid the event-to-event tunnel vision? How do you create opportunities for yourself and your students to reflect?

Missy Burgess

Missy Burgess is the Associate Director for Student Involvement at University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh.

Missy supervises student leadership and involvement staff in the Reeve Memorial Union, including volunteer service, student organizations and emerging programs, Reeve Union Board, leadership, diversity and inclusion, and greek life. She holds a bachelor’s from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, a master’s from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota.


Event-to-Event living is a way of life on the facilities/operations side of the house too! We try to do some post-event reflection/lessons each week in staff meetings, and I've found that I need to schedule a little time on my calendar in order to focus on long-range planning or strategic thinking, just to make sure I'm thinking beyond next week.
Jeff Pelletier
Comment posted 10/11/2012 6:06 PM
I agree completely! Even with follow-up meetings after large events, and students completing self-evaluations, I find its difficult to get my students, or myself to give each event its proper reflective analysis. I'd be happy to hear any suggestions folks have for making this process more intentional!
Comment posted 10/11/2012 6:35 PM
I plan all year for 5 weeks during the summer for my Pre College program, so I am not living from event to event but it is wonderful to see the perspective of a professional in the field I aspire to be in.
Comment posted 04/27/2014 11:18 PM
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