PARTY! Five simple letters thrown together creates the reason for laughter and fun. This is a pretty important part of Resident Life when living in an apartment complex, and one of the primary reasons the “complex” turns into a community. I’ve read all kinds of suggestions for the kind of events and parties apartment Community Managers should host for their residents. However, I feel it doesn’t matter what the heck kind of party you host, you should Just Do It.
From this time LAST YEAR when I arrived to take over the South Bend Region, I have looked forward to developing a team that actually enjoys hosting and planning Resident Events and Parties. In fact, this is one of the considerations I use in evaluating whether or not a potential candidate is offered a position on the team. I want the happy person who is truly a social butterfly.
I didn’t imagine though that the Leasing team would have such diverse ideas about how to go about planning a Pool Party. As it turns out, in the Student Housing market, summer is NOT the time to actually plan events. It is just too hectic and busy to spend extra moments figuring out all the little details that make for a successful event. Or, is it?
Let me tell you, a successful event can take off pretty easily as long as you have food, music, and prizes. The South Bend Region hosted its first party that only took a few days to pull off – and it was extremely successful! Although, truth be told, we had talked about this event several months ago, and when it came right down to it, with 300 move-ins in a two week period, there really wasn’t a lot of time to put in a lot of details like handmade invitations, we were able to get the word out through emails and posted flyers and little reminders taped to the apartment doors. We planned a lot of easy prepared foods rather than all the homemade fare we originally planned, plus our Maintenance Supervisor agreed to grill hot dogs (surprisingly there are a lot of people who like burnt dogs!) and no one went away hungry, not even the vegetarians. Called a friend who is a professional DJ and paid him way more than he asked for, but way under the going rate. Plus, we used ALL of our CORT Points to purchase prizes like a TV, headphones and Fitbits. We did have sandwich coupons donated from a local Penn Station to also pass out (because like kindergarteners, everyone wants to leave a party with some kind of Goodie!) Another vendor provided beach balls which we blew up in less than thirty minutes.
It was crazy – there were the early arrivals and the late arrivals; there were professors and their families, the “Cool Kids”, International student residents (some with families, too) and a lot of Singles mingling around and getting introduced. We posted pictures on Facebook and asked all in attendance to “Like” our pages, follow us on Instagram and Twitter and if they could give an honest review, please do so, too.
It wasn’t a lot of work and the pay-off was big. We had way more people show up than we expected (I was hoping for a mere 10, but there were many, many, many more than that. I had said if we got at least 50, then I would consider it a coup. Afterwards I considered it wildly successful.) When your result is so fantastic, it definitely motivates you to plan more events!
So sometimes you just have to throw your idea of perfection out the window and open the door to RELAXED expectations. To top it off, I received several Thank You emails from those who attended. Worth every minute spent putting it together.