Alison HealeyBy Alison Healey, senior
Business- Marketing, and Recreation Management Major

“Recreation… So you’re majoring in playing?”

This is what statement I hear from many people when I tell them I am majoring in recreation. Most people don’t realize the recreation major encompasses many fields, including event planning, parks management, hospitality, and tourism.

veterans logo

Through my Recreation 474 class, Association Operations and Events, I was able to plan an event from start to finish. Throughout the semester my classmates and I helped plan Honoring Our Veterans event, campus event held on November 10, 2012.I am focusing on the event planning side of recreation and have become more passionate about it as I take higher level classes. This is because these courses actually let you get hands-on experience within your field of choice.

This was an event in honor of all veterans, but it focused specifically those that were associated with Chico State or the Chico Community. Chico State has been recognized as a veteran-friendly school by a number of publications, and this year the university wanted to take it a step further by hosting a special day for veterans. This is where my class came in.

displays at the veterans eventMy class was “hired” by Chico State to put on the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event. We were given a budget and a venue that we had to work with. Besides those two points we were on our own.

Throughout the semester, we had to come up with the marketing plan, the menu, the entertainment, the decorations, and the program. I knew event planning was very detail oriented, but I never fully comprehended it until I was in this class. Details such as picking colors for the decorations that wouldn’t offend the veterans and following military protocol were not things we considered in our initial planning.

veterans in attendanceAlthough this was not my first time planning an event, it was beneficial to have my instructor, Polly Crabtree, mentor me through the process. She made us think about what many would consider the basics in event planning in a new way.

For example, inviting the guests seemed like it would be one of the easiest parts of the event. But, we were wrong. Because of the wide age range of our guests,  simple e-mail to everyone would most likely not reach the older population, but a letter in the mail might not reach the younger population. Professor Crabtree guided us through figuring out how to reach our target audience in multiple ways in order to reach everyone.

veteran flags

Student event planners from the Recreation 474 class at the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event on November 10, 2012.

In the end, the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event was a hit among the veterans and community members. As people left the event, I was thanked numerous times for my efforts. At times this class was challenging, but it was all worth it once I saw how happy and honored all the veterans looked after our event.