The logistics of an event like the Great Debate vary considerably depending on the size of the event, how many people are involved, and the location. We have found it useful to break the event into a variety of schedules and charts outlining responsibilities and tasks.

The Calendar of Tasks is our guiding document in the months leading up to the event. Over time we have identified common tasks that must be completed every semester. It is best to break the task list down by genre of tasks. For instance assigning “Promotion” to one individual rather than reallocating personnel each month will ensure everybody understands which tasks need to be accomplished. Accountability is always important. At regular meetings we frequently move through the task lists to make sure we are on-track and give help where it is needed most.

The Master Schedule, Schedule by Time, and the Event Schedule help to keep us organized on the day of the event. The Master Schedule is a document for in-house use detailing all the presentations and moderators for the whole day. This document is useful for us, but confusing to students. The Schedule by Time is what we post at the event during individual sessions. The Event Schedule is blown up and put on posters at the event to give students an idea of what the can expect and when.

The Map is our quick overview of where events will be held. This map is useful for students trying to understand where they will be going. In general we try and assign staff members to specific locations rather than tasks, so we know where people are and what they are doing.

The Staff Schedule is our detailed breakdown of who does what and where. This essential document keeps us on schedule during the day and aids our volunteers and employees by ensuring they have breaks and adequate support. You will see the schedule is also broken down by person, which allows us to tell people when they should expect to be at the event.

The Supply List seems innocuous, but is one of the most important documents we have. This list tells us what to bring to the event, but it also informs us what we have while we are there. At the end of an event like this everyone is exhausted and ready to go home. This gives us a checklist to make sure we are not leaving laptops or basic supplies behind.

The Sample Program is a version of what an event program can look like. In early incarnations of the Great Debate we printed hundreds of programs for students, community members, and guests. It is a great archive of the event and a promotional tool. As the event has grown we have stopped printing programs for cost/sustainability reasons. If you are starting an event small, we strongly encourage designing and printing a program.

The Budget Overview gives you an idea of what we spend the most money on. For this event we spend most of our money on staff because we require a large number of people for a long time. We do not spend very much money on food because the event is in the middle of our downtown area with myriad food options.