Think Fall! (Fall Semester that is)

It’s time to think about fall semester!

You might think we’re crazy, because looking outside today it’s hard to think that spring will ever really arrive and now we want you to skip right over summer and into fall. No, no, we’re not crazy–we’re just planners who plan ahead. Admittedly, way ahead. The student union is now taking reservations from student organizations for fall meetings and events.

Before you start thinking that we plan too far ahead, think about this: we host more than 5700 events and meetings each year. The student union is a busy place, so you can see why it’s important to secure your space sooner rather than later.

Now that we’ve convinced you to make your reservations, let us help you through the process. There are two ways to make your room request:

  1. Use the Virtual EMS online scheduling tool. It’s really pretty simple to use, just make sure you have your Star ID activated.
  2. Come to the Info Desk in the CMU and fill out a paper form. Info Desk hours are 9am-9pm Monday-Friday, 10am-9pm Saturday, and noon-9pm Sunday.

Whatever you’re planning, we can help! Our event services staff is ready and willing to help you find the right space for your meetings and events. Each staff person is knowledgeable about the building, room set-ups, and event logistics, so even if you aren’t sure where to begin, we can help!

While you’re at it, check out this past post, “10 Things I Wish Students Knew About Event Planning.”

It’s Grand!

Today marks the beginning of the C-Store’s Grand Opening Week–we are so excited about having the space ready for visitors! Be sure to visit the C-Store throughout the week for different daily specials, week-long specials, and to check out the new variety of merchandise.

The C-Store has a wide selection of single-serve meals for students on the go. You can even heat them up using the microwave in the C-Store (plus there is another in the ROC). The C-Store has a variety of healthy snacks, and, of course, the items you might need for an all-night study session!

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the week, be sure to keep an eye out for a few of these red tumblers hidden in the CMU each day!

Last, but not least, be ready to celebrate Dragon Pride Friday in the C-Store this week! We’ve got a few surprises up our sleeves.

Be sure to let us know what you think of the new C-Store in the comments below.

What does the “C” in C-Store stand for?

Hopefully you’ve been following the new C-Store’s progress from the early days when construction was just beginning up until now, when we’re just about ready for the grand opening!

A few students have been asking “What’s the ‘C’ in C-Store stand for?” Some have speculated that is stands for Comstock Store or Corner Store, which are both good guesses (and totally viable options). Really it is a common abbreviation for Convenience Store!

We appreciate your patience during the transition, we know the project has taken a while to complete. As the saying goes, “Good things take time!” We are excited to announce the C-Store’s Grand Opening Week will be March 31-April 4! Be on the look-out for special promotions and give-aways.

Comment below and tell us what you’re most excited to find in the new C-Store, perhaps it’s nachos, 120 flavor combos from the Coke Freestyle machine, popcorn, hot dogs, or an old favorite like Monster Energy Drinks, Naked Juices, and Simply-To-Go items!

Student Union Renovation – The Future Looks Good!

We had the opportunity to bring our project architects back to campus for their second visit. Just like their first visit, it was awesome to have so many students involved in the design process.

During this visit, the architects showed changes made to the plans based on initial feedback from students and staff. While many of the changes are great, we’re not quite to a finished design yet–which is just what is expected! Often the big ideas need some refining so that we end up with a design that will be what we need and want it to be.

One activity the student design committee enjoyed was the “Sticky Note Activity.” The architects brought large floor plans of the renovation and the students had the opportunity to write their ideas/thoughts/reactions on sticky notes, then stick them to the floor plans. The result was a colorful, creative mosaic full of feedback!

From the reactions and feedback, the architects guided discussions about technology integration and the floor plan. Students even got to see changes in real time while Peter (one of the architects) adjusted an AutoCAD drawing of the floor plan to make a fireplace two-sided! We’re excited to see how they take all of the feedback on the sticky notes to make more changes.

 

We continue to be excited about the upcoming renovation and all of the wonderful changes coming to your student union to make it an even more student-centered, innovative facility. What are your thoughts about our upcoming renovation?

P.S. Remember the Character Mapping Activity from the first architect visit? They put all the words, pictures and textures into one big map. Take a look!

 

 

Meet Kyle – He’s Got #DragonPride

At MSUM, so many students have Dragon Pride–but there are a few that stand out above the rest! Meet Kyle Sarpong. He works at the Info Desk in the student union and always has a smile on his face! He also won the Residence Hall Association’s (RHA) award for the Most Dragon Pride in the Extreme Home Makeover-Res Hall Edition Competition.

We asked Kyle a few questions about MSUM and his Dragon Pride. Here’s what he had to say.

What made you choose MSUM? I applied to many schools and I was really excited about the Tri-College program that MSUM is part of with NDSU and Concordia. I knew I could get connected with activities like marching band, plus it was close to home and I received a scholarship. So I say, why not, let’s be a Dragon!

What’s your favorite way to show your Dragon Pride? I love going to Dragon Athletics events and being part of the action. I scream my head off cheering and give 100% to be part of the crowd. I even bought red and black overalls to show off my Dragon Pride! 

What do you love about MSUM? I really appreciate the community at MSUM. It’s small enough where I feel like I know a lot of people and still big enough that I get to meet new people all the time. I also really like that I can get to know my professors and they know me.

If you could spend a day with Scorch, what would you do? I would have him come everywhere with me–to all my classes, to Kise, to my residence hall. Then I’d want to play him one-on-one in basketball at the Wellness Center. We’d end the day by going to a Dragon Basketball game!

So next time you stop by the Info Desk and see Kyle working, be sure to say “Go Dragons!”

 

 

Visit the RDC and Find Your Place

[How do I see the Rainbow Dragon Center?]

            To me, the RDC is an all-inclusive space. It is a space that was initially conceptualized to be a safe zone for LGTBQ identified students at MSUM since often that unique social positionality, as any other marginalized identity, can leave you feeling isolated. The RDC is a safe space intended to foster friendship across intersectional identities and welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, as well as our allies. Anyone with an interest in creating strong relationships with their student peers at MSUM will find the RDC to be an inviting and engaging space.  -Jennifer, student director at RDC.

[Where Can I find the Rainbow Dragon Center?]

The RDC is located in the CMU on the second floor. Head up the stairs and walk through the lovely halls until you reach room 218. You should see the RDC’s awesome signage!RDC

[What is in the Rainbow Dragon Center?]

The RDC provides resources for students. There are two spaces making up the RDC. One space is more utilitarian and with a table for socializing, computers, and a kitchenette for those who want to stop in to have lunch.  The second part of the space is a lounge that has comfy seating-quite ideal for studying or resting- especially with midterms coming up!

 

[What Are Students Saying About the Rainbow Dragon Center?]

“What I like is that I can feel safe talking about social issues and about oppression that pertains to me without feeling invalidated.” –Nemo (student volunteer at RDC)

“The people are so warm and charming.” –Austin

“I like the nice space and comfy couches!” –Kayla

[Feeling a little shy?]

Here are a couple of conversational prompts that will help you get to know some of the people frequently at the RDC.

*Ask Sara about that time a deer kissed her.

*Ask Nemo if he has time to do a quick sketch of you! He’s an art/graphic design major and very talented!

*See if Jen will put on a song-she is always up for a “quick dance like no one is watching” party.

 

Guest post by Jen Seviour. Jen is the Student Director of the Rainbow Dragon Center.

10 Things I Wish Students Knew About Event Planning

 

Event planning is tough. And time consuming. And complex.

Don’t get me wrong here, I truly love helping students plan events in our student union. It’s so much fun to see them put in time and effort to make their vision for an event a reality–and watching them succeed is awesome. Students are the reason I love my job.

But remember, event planning isn’t easy. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes thought. I’ve learned plenty about event planning from the years I spent as a student activity board programmer, as a graduate assistant for activities programming, and now in the role I play at MSUM. In those years, I have compiled a list of ten things I wish students knew about event planning.

1. We need all the info you can give us. You can never over-share when you’re event planning. We want to know every idea you’ve got in your head. A presentation is different from a meeting and a meeting is different from a workshop and a workshop is different from a Bingo Night and so on. There is need for different room set-ups based on what you’re planning. The more information you can provide to us about what exactly you’re planning will help us help you more effectively. In the end, your event will be better with the right set up.

2. You need to plan ahead. This sounds like a no-brainer, I get that. But I’m serious. Let me say it again: you need to plan ahead. Your student union is a busy place! We have over 5700 events in a year, so that means we are juggling many organizations’ wants and needs. If you want to have an event, give yourself enough time to plan for it and come see us as soon as possible to start looking for dates and times. Realistically, you should come to us six months or more before your event so we can help you reserve space.

3. Chairs and tables don’t just set themselves up. What do I mean by this? That there is people power put into every room set-up that we do. A person has to put out every table and chair that you need for your event. So it really helps our staff if you can be realistic about your event attendance–don’t have us place 250 chairs if you honestly believe you’ll only have 150 people at your event. Another part of this point is that it takes time for us to change from one room set-up to another. We can’t magically turn the ballroom from a casino night to a rock concert in the blink of an eye. Please be patient and remember that our staff do the best they can. Also, if you’re willing to help clean up after your event, it’s a tremendous help to our staff!

4. You need to think about sound. (I can hear all of you saying, “huh?” right now.) If you’re planning an event where you will need microphones, speakers, amps, etc., we need to know that from the get-go. The need for sound amplification is something we need to plan for, and knowing what you’ve got in mind will help us put you in the best venue for your needs. Plus, if we need to bring in an outside group to provide additional speakers, sound mixing, etc., we need enough time to help you find the right group and sign a contract.

5. Yes, you do have to use MSUM Dining Services if you want food at your event. This can be frustrating. Believe me, I do understand that. What you need to understand is that this policy is not in place to make you pay more money for food. The policy is really in place for liability reasons. Because of Sodexo’s contract with MSUM, they can be held liable if anyone eats on campus and then becomes ill. If they are in charge of preparing and delivering the food, then they can ensure food safety standards are met. Sometimes they will make exceptions to allow outside food–but you need to ask for permission, not for forgiveness.

6. We want your event to be awesome. Seriously, we do! We want to help you find the best possible venue for your event, the best set-up, the best equipment, and the best timing. In some cases, this means that we’ll make suggestions that you might not initially think are great. We might suggest using the Underground instead of the Ballroom, or booking a theater on campus instead of the Ballroom. We aren’t trying to change your event or get out of doing work. We’re making honest suggestions based on past experiences and our knowledge of what resources are available to you. Trust us, we’re on your side.

7. Event advertising doesn’t just mean “make a poster.” Sure, posters are a form of advertising–but they’re not that exciting. Events don’t advertise themselves. If you want people to come to your event, they need to know not only that it is happening, but also why they should come. Tell them. Use your advertising. Let me help you brainstorm and create a plan to advertise your event–that’s part of why I’m here! Don’t let advertising be an afterthought. You’re putting so much effort into making your event great, so make sure people show up.

8. You can’t plan an event by yourself. Unless you are a direct descendant of Superman or Wonder Woman, you cannot plan a large event all by yourself. You should gather a team of people to work together, share the workload, generate ideas, and help each other. I know delegating is scary. But sometimes you just have to surround yourself with other people who believe in the same idea and trust them to do their part.

9. You’ve got to be a little bit flexible. Sometimes you’ve got to give a little. Sure, you may not like it, but every once in a while, you have to compromise. We want to make your events work, and sometimes that means we’ll have to ask you to start at a slightly different time, use a slightly different set up, use a different room, or pick a different date than you originally wanted. We don’t ask you to be flexible to make you miserable. We ask because it’s necessary. Trust me on this one.

10. We aren’t magicians. Hard to believe, isn’t it? We do, in fact, have some human limitations. Honestly, we want to accommodate your requests and we do so whenever we can. Most things are possible with enough time to prepare and conversations to be on the same page. But last-minute requests and changes are really tough for our staff to make happen. If only we had magic wands…

Bonus! 11.Crazy ideas are possible. Yes, I said it. Dream big! Think of new ideas! Go wild! We want to make your student union the place where you can make your dreams and ideas a reality. So give us your craziest idea and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen. Sometimes it’s fun to do the impossible. (I think a famous person said that, but if not, I’ll take credit.) 

If you want to learn more about event planning, join us at “Take the Lead” on Tuesday, February 25 at 5:30pm in CMU 101. This won’t be your average event planning workshop–come prepared for a fun, interactive evening!

 

Post by Annie Wood. Annie is the Assistant Director for Communications and Student Engagement in the Comstock Memorial Union at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She works with student organizations to help them turn their ideas into events.

Five Event Planning Tips

Here in the student union, we had more than 5700 events and meetings last year–is that crazy or what? Thankfully, having so many events in the CMU pretty much makes us event planning experts and we thought, “Why not share the love?” Here are a few event planning tips for you!

1. Give yourself enough time. In short, this means plan ahead! Your student union is a busy place (5700+ events last year, remember!?), and we do our best to accommodate all the student groups who want to host events here. However, we do have a finite amount of space and a finite number of days in the semester–which unfortunately means that someone else might have booked the space you want on the date you want. Think ahead, plan ahead and reserve early!

2. Share the responsibilities. We know our students are phenomenal, but you also aren’t an island. Be sure to divvy up the event planning responsibilities among members of your organization. Support one another and hold each other accountable for tasks.

3. Advertise. This might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m serious–you need to advertise your event if you want people to come. And by “advertise” I don’t mean “put up posters and make a digital sign.” Think about your advertising and strategize for the audience(s) you want to reach. Are there other student organizations to invite? Are there classes that might have an interest in your event? How can you leverage your personal networks to boost attendance? Don’t just tell people what the event is, but also why they should want to come.

4. Don’t just do what you’ve always done. The only limitation to your creativity is you. So dream up something great and awesome that people will want to be part of. Just remember, great ideas often take time and some work, so refer to number one.

5. Think it through. A crucial part of a successful event lies in logistics–and you need a plan for success. How the room is set up. What time the food will be delivered. How the program is structured. Who will be doing the talking. Who will be behind the scenes making sure everything is running smoothly.

There you have it–five things that will help you in event planning. Remember that your student union staff members are here to help to plan successful events, and we’re pretty great resources! Stop by the CMU Admin Office any time with questions or for help scheduling your events.

If you want even more event planning info, come to Take the Lead on Tuesday, February 25 at 5:30pm in CMU 101. The CMU’s own Annie Wood is presenting a session on Event Planning for Student Organizations.

C-Store Pictures

Just thought we’d post a few pictures of progress in the C-Store. It’s coming together piece by piece. Shelving is ordered. Tile is on its way. This week, we’ve had painters giving a few areas a nice Dragon-y touch (aka red paint!)

The new C-Store is slated to open after spring break, so now you have even more of a reason to look forward to March! Watch for more information about the Grand Opening in the future.

The Renovation Conversation: Architect Visit #1

Whew–what a whirlwind! The architects for the student union renovation project visited us on Monday and Tuesday this week, and we’ve just got to say: it was awesome! So many great ideas, conversations, and suggestions were shared during the two days jam-packed with conversations among students and staff in the Comstock Memorial Union.

First, we want to thank all the students that participated in meetings with our architects (especially those that came to the 8am session!). We want the redesign and remodel process to be student-centered, after all, it is your student union! We know that the thoughts and ideas you shared will make the future CMU the best it can be for all students and we loved the variety of perspectives that were represented. We hope you enjoyed the sneak peek at what the future holds!

One really fantastic experience during the architect visit was watching our students participate in an exercise called “Character Mapping.” The character mapping process was so cool to watch as students were able to have great discussions about what the student union means to them and what they hope it will mean to others in the future. The first step used words to describe what they wanted in a student union. Here the students made sure to include the words words such as “comfortable, natural, bright, sustainable, and Dragon Pride.”

In the second step of the character mapping process, we added pictures into the mix. This time around, the students examined pictures and described how the picture related to the student union in some way. The architects were extremely impressed by the communication between our Dragons who went through the process, giving everyone the chance to speak. (Apparently, sometimes the character mapping process is more like barely controlled chaos–but not with our courteous, inclusive Dragons!)

The finals step in the character mapping process gave the students an opportunity to explore materials that could be used in the new building. Here they were really able to express what their student union feels like and looks like in tangible ways. They looked at carpet, tile, glass, flooring, fabrics and more–we can’t wait to see the swatch boards the architects put together from this exercise!

We are so excited to continue progress on the CMU Renovation. This first visit was a wonderful presentation of ideas collected during the initial predesign by the architects and reactions by students and staff. The future of your student union is bright and we hope you’ll continue to join the renovation conversation!