The Cor Project Event
In the fall of 2013, I planned a large scale event featuring a prominent speaker at my college campus. Managing a team of several others, I generated and coordinated an unprecedented level of inter-departmental cooperation to raise $5000 in only three weeks. My team and I were able to build the speaking engagement into what was estimated to be the largest student-held event in the history of the university.
Christopher West is a world-renowned popular theologian and inspirational speaker on sexuality and relationships. His talks - called Cor Seminars - are large scale events which have taken place all over the world. While studying at university, I led a team of others in organizing one of his events on our campus.
September through October, 2013
Franciscan University of Steubenville
In early September of 2013, I began the process of bringing popular speaker Christopher West to my university. Managing a team of six others, I took on the project in full knowledge of three major challenges:
First, the schedule of the speaker and the schedule of the university venue permitted for only one date: October 2nd. This date was only three-and-a-half weeks away, meaning a great deal of work had to be done in a very small amount of time.
Second, we calculated that the speaking fee, the transporation cost, and the price of lodging would add up to approximately $5000. Although the speaker agreed to be paid at the time of the talk itself, this still meant that we had only about three weeks to raise the hefty sum.
Third, we had to advertise the event to a highly diverse student body who were generally unfamiliar with the speaker.
To better tackle each of our challenges, I delegated work throughout the team. Certain members were in charge of advertising. Others were tasked with making first contact with donors for fund-raising purposes. Still others were in charge of actively communicating with the university's sound, events, and maitenance teams. I directed every level of the project with others reporting back to me with updates. I also handled the majority of the fundraising, communication with the speaker himself, and all required paperwork.
I accomplished our budgetary needs by seeking donations from several university departments. Of particular help were Missions Director Rhett Young, Evangelization Director Father Dominic Foster, and Youth Conference Coordinator Bobby Aborn. Though these departments had almost never worked together in such a capacity, I had a series of meetings with each department in which we discussed how this particular event would fit well within the role of each.
As the event drew nearer, we developed a series of simple advertisements which directly targeted three major audiences we identified: those who would be interested in the event from a religious perspective; those who would be interested in the event from in an inspirational capacity; and those who would be interested in the event for its entertainment value. Although eight separate posters were developed, a small sample can be seen below:
In addition to the posters, we used to chalk to create large billboard-style advertisements on the sides of walls and academic buidlings. On both the posters and these chalk billboards, we intentionally gave very little information so as to get a mysterious buzz going around campus.
We also reached out to audiences in the immediate town outside campus, appearing at churches around the area to build local interest in the event.
We accomplished all of our goals within the time limit and were able to bring the speaker to campus. We were so successful with our advertising, in fact, that we exceeded our ideal audience number by just over a third. Those in charge of the venue had to set up three more rows of seats during the event and counted approximately 1,200 people. If accurate, this number sets our event apart as the largest student-held event in the university's history.
Photos from the event can be seen below: