After first revising the event planning process in May, Cornell’s Event Management Planning team implemented further revisions, including timeline reductions, in response to student concerns.
The EMPT used student feedback to change the event planning process, according to an email sent to the Cornell community last week from Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student & campus life. The team includes representatives from Campus Activities, the Cornell University Police Department, the Dean of Students Office and other on-campus bodies.
One change was a shift in the event planning timeframe. Student organizations planning events were required to submit an Event Registration Form four weeks before the expected event date. Now, some events have been granted a two-week timeline.
Events that qualify for the new two-week requirement usually involve catering and food, money collection, student performers in small venues and outdoor venues with amplified sound.
Lombardi said some groups should submit their planning documents four-weeks in advance. The four-week deadline applies to events that have non-Cornell dignitaries or performing artists, alcohol, home-cooked food, ending times past 11 p.m., a large venue, a government permit or a potential high physical risk.
The University also implemented other changes, hoping to facilitate event planning. For example, the Office of Campus Activities will have student interns to help other students organizing events and a representative from the Student Assembly will now serve on the EMPT, according to Lombardi’s email.
These changes come after the team unveiled new regulations last year, prompting strong criticism from students and administrators. Specifically, recent critiques revolved around the four-week notice required for hosting on-campus events.
According to Lombardi, the policy changes were made in response to student concerns.
“In the months following the [changes last year], we learned that students had concerns and were encountering issues with the new process,” Lombardi wrote.
EMPT is still reviewing other potential changes and said they “anticipated” those would be decided by the end of the semester. EMPT is still contemplating events’ security costs, Cornell-wide technological improvements, training and communication, according to the email.
In terms of technological improvements, the EMPT is set to launch a new software this summer called 25Live, which allows students to schedule events in available venues and complete the event registration forms online.
Earlier this school year, the EMPT suspended security costs for smaller events in response to student concerns about budgeting, The Sun previously reported.
Many student leaders were also energized by the new changes.
“I’m excited that the new guidelines have taken a student-focused approach in regards to the regulations, the student representation, and the student support,” Varun Devatha ’19, Student Assembly president, wrote in an email to The Sun.
Daniel Hirsch ’20 and Michael Jeong ’19, co-presidents of the Student Activities Funding Commission, the funding arm of the Student Assembly, expressed their excitement and said the financials of the new system have not been finalized. They declined to comment on how the changes will affect the SAFC funding process specifically.
“I believe this is a vast improvement over the system that was temporarily rolled out last semester and is significantly more lenient,” they wrote in an email to The Sun. “The new proposal clearly delineates between events that require four weeks for approval and two weeks for approval instead of a blanket four weeks for all events as proposed last semester.”