Emory Report
September 14, 2009
Volume 62, Number 3

Events Exchange
More than 150 people already have signed up for Events Exchange, a free educational forum and social network for Emory staff, faculty and students who plan, provide services for, or are affected by campus events.

Spots are still available for people who want to attend the first session on Sept. 17, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Winship Ballroom. Key topics for that day’s panel discussions are “event accessibility” and incorporating “entertainment in its many forms” at the events.

Register here.



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September 14, 2009
Planning for all occasions


When His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama visits campus, Michael Kloss and his staff of university event planners sweat every detail, down to the piping hot water in the spiritual leader’s glass. “It is my job to know that the Dalai Lama drinks extremely hot, plain water,” says Kloss, executive director of the Office of University Events. “If he is comfortable, he’s more likely to receive Emory’s message and share that with the rest of the world.”

This month the Office of University Events is launching new efforts to extend that same level of hospitality to guests of all stripes, from prospective students to donors, department heads to heads of state.

Its Web site will offer protocol and tips for faculty, staff and service providers called on to put on campus events. A comprehensive venue guide will feature CAD-accurate 3D renderings of popular event venues in limitless configurations, allowing planners to test virtual room configurations down to specific table linens.

The Office of University Events also is introducing Events Exchange, a program to give planners from across Emory the opportunity to share ideas and learn best practices by participating in free educational sessions to take place throughout the academic year.

The two-hour sessions will cover an array of topics, from the latest in décor and culinary trends to ways to incorporate environmentally sensitive practices such as the proper use of electronic invitations.

Planners also will be able to discuss how to pool resources and come up with other cost-cutting strategies. An Event Recycler program within the Exchange network will allow planners to save money by reusing flowers, décor and other items for multiple events.

“It is not about spending more money. It is about strategically using the resources we have and to keep the focus on the guest experience,” Kloss says.

Kloss created the Office of University Events in 2005 and today is ultimately responsible for more than 100 campus events annually, including Commencement and events at Lullwater House, the president’s residence.

Earlier this month, the office joined the Office of the Vice President and Secretary of the University to centralize its role on campus. It previously reported to the Development and Alumni Relations office.

On Sept. 1, Kloss also assumed the responsibility and title of chief of protocol, a position requiring that he know the rules of proper etiquette as well when to break them.

“For example, few people know that it is a technical protocol no-no to address Jimmy Carter as President Carter when speaking or writing to him. Only one person at a time can hold the title ‘president,’ so Governor Carter reflects his highest title retained after office,” says Kloss. “That said, the media has made it so commonplace to refer to former U.S. presidents as ‘President’ that very few people — myself included — would dare not to. It’s important, I believe, to know which rules you are breaking, and do it intentionally.”
There’s a lot at stake in getting such things right.

“Every time a guest attends someone’s event, they form an impression of the university,” Kloss says. “The results impact everything from how they rank Emory in their philanthropic priorities to whether they encourage their neighbor or coworker’s child to apply to Emory. Details count.”