Amherst College has a variety of support services available to assist with your event. Book them early (usually at least two weeks) by telephone, and always follow up with an e-mail.
The special services area of the facilities department will set up the room based on your needs. Be specific in your requests; telephone 413-542-8137; fax 413-542-8315. Choices of room set-ups can be found at Room Configuration. Set-up charges will be assessed through departmental entry. Consider the room and your goals for interaction, and know the number of participants. If the chairs are movable, determine how they should be arranged referring to the room configurations chart. (How many aisles? Tables set straight and parallel or in a chevron shape? Rectangle, circular or U-shaped tables? How many chairs?) Each of theseconfigurations will facilitate a different type of interaction between the audience and the speaker. (Is it a lecture with no audience participation or a seminar that encourages back and forth rhetoric? Does the speaker need to be elevated? At a separate table? How many chairs at the speaker table? Does the table need to be skirted? Do you need water at the table(s)? Do you need a flag or a reception area? Are the lighting and ventilation correct for your venue?) Be clear on the number of people to be seated and the total number of chairs and tables.
Support services for technology are available on campus by completing a request form; this should be done at the same time the rooms are booked. The department can provide microphones, screens and/or projectors (some rooms already have equipment in place) or they can arrange audio recording and video recording for specific events. An audio recording is a useful tool for a Web site and allows those who were unable to attend to listen to the event. Video recording works better if there is actual action taking place; a video of a speaker who never leaves the podium doesn’t usually incite enthusiasm. Technicians can also be in attendance to assist with the event; again pre-planning with technology is essential. If the speaker will be using our computer system for PowerPoint or access to the Internet, the host faculty member or ADC will have to create a 24-hour VISITOR account so they can log into a classroom computer. If the speaker is bringing his/her laptop, this step is not required.
If you are creating a Web site for the event and follow-up, consider taking a photo of the speaker. The photo will add interest to the site and make it easily identifiable when a participant returns to review the event. A digital image of the poster might be posted to the site as well.
Administrative services are available through the Office of Administrative Services. OAS can make programs, handouts, booklets, posters, etc. and they are also able to collate multi-page projects. Nametags, placecards and printed menus and signs can also be done by OAS on a variety of papers with an assortment of colors. Follow-up mailings can be done through OAS. The charges for copying at OAS are far less than copying on your office copier and the turn-around time is faster than outside printers. Be mindful of copyrights.
Catering Services are available through Valentine Dining Services; call 413-542-2842. (Your department will be charged for the catering). Determine your dining needs for the event and your goals for the event. How many meals will you need for the full event? Will you schedule a dining space in Valentine, or will you be using other campus space? Will it be a sit-down or stand-up affair (each will provide a different interaction)? Will it be a plated or buffet meal? How do you want seating arranged, and how many at a table? Need a head table? A podium or mike? Flowers, linen selection, placecards, candles? Schedule the catering set-up and tear-down at times when it will not distract speaker(s).
For the menu, consider a variety of tastes and include vegan or vegetarian selections. The feedback on the vegan meals by Valentine Catering has been very good.
Don’t forget snack breaks! People should not sit for more than two hours without a break.