10 ways to make your event successful

Story by Kelsey Grapperhaus, Staff writer

Students, faculty members and the Murray State community have noticed a significant drop in attendance at events hosted on campus so far this semester.

Murray State represents almost 11,000 students from 43 states and 57 countries worldwide. So why is attendance at on-campus events decreasing?

Events such as Alpha Sigma Alpha’s Dodgeball Tournament every fall semester had decreasing attendance each year gone by, said Emily Baker, senior from Russellville, Kentucky and philanthropy chairwoman for ASA.

“I believe our previous efforts toward our fall philanthropy suffered like everyone else’s does, or will, at some point,” Baker said. “Basically the event became routine.”

But other events, such as the Todrick Hall Experience “MTV Reality Show,” an interactive event performed in the CFSB Center Sept. 28, had much better attendance than many past country concerts, said Nathan Payne, President of Campus Activities Board.

High attendance starts with stimulating student interest. The first question is: “what makes an event on campus interesting enough for students to want to attend?”

Here are 10 things that students at Murray State think will make your event a success:


Advertising an event was the No. 1 suggestion given by 17 out of the 30 students that were asked what makes an event successful at Murray State.

Freshman from Mascoutah, Illinois, Chiara Johns, said that promoting the event to make students excited to attend is the make-it or break-it.

“Don’t just promote the event,” Johns said. “Make students excited to go. The atmosphere is so much better because the people are happy and want to be there.”


Junior from Carterville, Illinois, McKinley Hawkinson said that she likes attending events that give her a personal boost.

“A good example would be the ‘Why Do Women Do That?’ program, sponsored by the Newman Center,” Hawkinson said. “When I went, I felt confident in myself and got to laugh a little with my friends.”


Dedication is something that all college students understand and go through, junior from St. Louis, Hannah Leonard, said.

“We all know what it’s like to be dedicated to something because we’re all college students,” Leonard said. “If the host doesn’t put in the effort to put on a good event, we’ll all be able to tell. Been there, done that.”


To Chloe Brian, junior from Evansville, Indiana, a successful event includes participation from people from every organization, race or religion.

Murray State is a diverse community that deserves to be recognized by every student on campus, regardless of the color of their skin.

“Murray State is very diverse,” said junior from Luka, Illinois, Caitlin Dunaway. “You have to make sure you target every audience you would like to see attend at the event.”


The event needs to have multiple sectors that can appeal to every group of people, senior from Murray, Julie Boyken, said.

“You need to make it fun for the shy students, not just the social butterflies,” she said.

Taylor Futrell, senior from Murray, said whether your sorority is competing in Alpha Gamma Delta’s Rock-a-thon or your residential college is performing in All Campus Sing, make it an event that’s enjoyable and exciting to participate for an entire group, not just an individual.

“I think a positive attitude is contagious,” said Savannah Haberman, senior from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. “If a whole group of people are excited to be there, working or participating, then that will generate a more enthused audience and create a positive buzz for future events.”


Good decor makes people feel more comfortable, said Janie Elieff, junior from Madisonville, Kentucky.

“Lighting, knick-knacks, linens, whatever,” Elieff said. “If I’m at an event with fluorescent lights and an empty room, it’s totally awkward.”


The word “free” means more to some college students than the word “education” does.

“College kids are broke and will come to almost anything that involves a free meal,” said Gavin Nall, senior from Paducah, Kentucky.


Don’t let the event become routine, Emily Baker said.

“On top of classes, homework, work and other extracurricular activities, it’s hard to have a desire to attend an event that you’ve been to time and time again,” Baker said.

“Sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board to accomplish your ultimate goal,” she said.

An attraction to some students is when an event takes place that doesn’t normally happen.

“Something out of the ordinary will definitely bring more attendance,” said Coy Murphy, senior from Owensboro, Kentucky. “Like the Rodeo Team was roping a calf when advertising the College Rodeo, and Sigma Alpha had a raffle for a purse for their philanthropy. It’s something you don’t see every day.”


The Greek system on campus includes more than 1,000 people and the support the Greek system can provide is tremendous, said Zach Calhoun, junior from Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

“The Greek system as a whole is successful in their mutual effort to support each other’s philanthropic causes on campus,” Calhoun said
“Exposure to the Greeks can definitely help participation in events,” said Patrick Wadlington, freshman from Paducah, Kentucky. “The Greek community is very strong and is easily the best way to get support at an event.”


What is the purpose of the event if no one else participating in the event knows what is going on from the get-go?

“Understanding the purpose and where the money that’s being raised is going to would help so much,” said Maggie McHugh, senior from Webster Groves, Missouri. “It’s so much more enjoyable when I know that my participation and effort is going toward something I care about.”

The attendance issues between students and the events that are hosted on campus can be addressed with these 10 suggestions. What can your event bring to the table to get students involved, educated and wanting to participate more than ever?