It has been six months since I began my first big kid job as the Event Coordinator at Whitman College. Whitman College is a small, liberal arts college nestled between the Blue Mountains and Walla Walla wine country in Southeast Washington. As the Event Coordinator, I work on a plethora of student, staff, faculty alumni and community focused events.
Whitman College is a unique community and I feel very fortunate to work in an environment that fosters education. As part of my work benefits, I am encouraged to take a class each semester (tuition free!). I also have numerous opportunities to attend fascinating lectures and performances around campus – and even plan some of them!
In these past six months, I have worked on 20+ events. That averages to about one a week. There are slow periods when students are off campus and we don’t have much going on. At times, I feel like I am in over my head, and at others, as though I’m searching for something else to do. I think that is all part of being in your first job. At the end of the day, I always feel lucky. And at the beginning of the day, I always look forward to going to work!
Skills I have been able to improve: communication, being a team player, time management, graphic design, creative thinking, taking initiative, hospitality, wine pairing
For the past three years, my favorite event of the summer has been my family’s annual mother-daughter tea party. Once the start of school reaches the horizon, my mother, sister and I gather a guest list of our closest lady friends. The first year, we gave the party an Irish theme to commemorate my semester and my family’s visit to the Emerald Isle. The food consisted of goodies my host mom would bake for special occasions and, of course, a Guinness-chocolate Bundt cake! The second year, we hosted a more laid-back evening tea party with hors-d’oeuvres and a game of croquet. This year was perhaps our most traditional tea party with almond meringue, lemon-berry cake, quaint candies, mimosas and an abundance of flowers.
Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Processed with VSCO with x1 preset
Sometimes private events have an uncomfortable aura about them when the guests feel disengaged. This year’s tea party was perhaps one of the best family parties I have ever hosted. Somehow there was a connection to be made for everyone in the room. Time flew as guests mingled, ate, drank and participated in our terrarium-building craft. For those awkward party moments, I like putting an activity in place for people to participate in if they cannot find a conversation they feel at home with.
The terrarium building was a huge success. Everyone at the party from 8 years old to 60 enjoyed putting together a pretty little living thing to take home. This activity was very easy to accommodate. We purchased small glass containers from goodwill for $1 or less as well as collected our old mason jars. We used rocks and soil from our yard as well as a few plants. We purchased some moss and the remainder of the plants. The total cost came to about $25. That’s $1 per person! And unlike other crafts, this one was completely sustainable. Now that’s something to smile about:
Overall, the tea party was a huge success. Like every event, there is something to learn. I learned that terrariums were an awesome activity which added edge to the tea party; it gave everyone an opportunity to play in the dirt with their Sunday best on! I felt so thankful to be surrounded by such a loving, happy crowd. The end of summer is the perfect time for this event, my friends and I are antsy to see each other once more before we head back to school, and my mom and her friends love catching up over sweets and smiles. Sometimes, timing really is everything. Any theme ideas for next year?
Recently I tagged along on my mother’s work trip to a hidden gem: Spokane, WA! While commonly known for it’s past of red wagon’s and the last world fair, there is still excitement and inspiration to be found in the “Lilac City”.
The logo for the Sokane World Fair is to the right. The fair was titled “The Fair and the Falls: Spokane’s Expo ’74, Transforming an American Environment” and was meant to focus on the need and ambition to take care of our planet. The city of Spokane even released 1,974 trout into the river at the commencement of the fair to show their commitment to a sustainable environment (Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest). I love the green initiative they took for this event and can only dream of what it would be like to plan a world fair.
While this history is exciting in itself, I found myself equally intrigued by the Old Davenport Hotel, a part of the Davenport Hotel Collection. This hotel is the oldest in the collection, having been around for 100 years. The hotel contains renovated event spaces that transport you to a different time (pictures shown above and below). I could only fantasize the splendor of the parties held in this corner of the world and will be anxiously checking for event positions there when I graduate in the fall.