Newnham June Event – How It Went!

The run-up days to the June Event, between my last update about it, and the event taking place (last Tuesday) were very, very busy; while every other student in Cambridge celebrated having finished their exams, I was in meetings or answering emails or solving last-minute problems which had arisen, basically every minute of every day (with the exception of a few extra choir rehearsals that had been scheduled for our tours to Sheffield (17th-20th June) and Ireland (11th-15th July)). On the day before the event, we started at 9am (a little earlier than I like but I survived!) and finished around 11pm, and the day of the event was even longer: the event was set to last from 7pm to 2.30am, and we started with a 7.45am meeting on Tuesday morning and left for bed around 4.30am on Wednesday morning, to be back for 10am to supervise the end of the clear up.

The experience was a little stressful, and one thing I am intending to put in my handover notes for the next treasurer is a recommendation to supervise how committee members are running their budgets more closely than I did. I decided that as long as people were within their budget, they could be responsible for division of their own budgets, and just send me invoices as these came in. This works to some extent, in that the responsibility for deciding how to spend money within sub budgets should be the relevant committee member’s! However, I was never sure how many invoices I had left to pay for each sub budget, and I was occasionally sent through an email saying “Hey Emily, can you pay this by today”, which can be a little bit concerning if the bank’s fraud checks take longer than normal and suddenly you’re risking having people not paid on time and it’s all very stressful… Essentially, there is a line to tread between micromanagement (bad) and lack of awareness of what is happening (very bad). I veered a little close to the latter, and will recommend to my successor that they lean to the micromanagement side.

Another thing I will recommend, both to myself and to the Treasurer of the next Newnham June Event (2018) is to have two separate contingency budgets: one for human error/oversights, and one for possible post event expenses (e.g. loss or damage to any hired equipment). This may seem a little excessive, but it will make pre-event stress, when you don’t know if anything large will be damaged and if therefore you will end up over budget much less significant. In the end, we didn’t use all our contingency budget, because we caused incredibly little damage to anything we rented (the only things we need to replace is four headsets from the thousand we rented for the silent disco, and we were expecting to have to replace rather more than that – apparently the average number which need replacing after an event like ours is usually closer to 50…) but I was very concerned, after we used up a fair bit of it on human errors (which are unavoidable, of course) that we might have a problem. Luckily, we didn’t, but I think the safety blanket would be a good idea in future.

There were a few things I would now do differently, which I’m very lucky to have been able to learn about, but on the whole, the preparation for the event, while stressful and intense went relatively smoothly I’m incredibly proud of myself and the other committee members for the fantastic event we got together. Everyone we spoke to really enjoyed the event (which was why we were doing it in the first place!!) and was impressed by the attention to detail, and the overall vibe matching up with the theme so well. I still have final invoices to pay and committee members to reimburse (in fact, I’ve spent today going through receipts to work out committee reimbursment) but the event is more or less over, and I’m really glad to have had the experience I had, learning about treasuring on a much, much bigger budget than I’d ever have been able to learn to manage in student theatre. (I also learned a lot about student balls – I was so much more appreciative of how much effort had gone into the ball I attended at a different college!)

I hope you enjoyed this small insight into how the June Event went – if you want to see some pictures, you can check out the June Event’s instagram and facebook page (where the post-event video will also be published!).

I’ll be back to my normal routine of event updates on Fridays and advice blogs on Mondays as of Friday (where you’ll hear all about my next project, which is going to the Edinburgh fringe). And, just in case you missed it, this week’s advice post actually went up on Friday, you can go check that out here.

See you on Friday!

Emily xxx

P.S. To any of my colleagues on the committee, if you’re reading this – you’re wonderful, thanks for making working with you much less stressful than it could have been!

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