Open Source Comes to Campus/Meta-organizing/Organizer

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Organizing an event[edit]

We're excited you want to organize an event! Here are the key details.

Things organizers are responsible for[edit]

Events are best-organized by a team of at least two. Here's a summary of what it takes.

It might sound like a lot of work, so here's a few things to know before we dive in:

  • You'll have a meta-organizer to help you with any of this.
  • You should have a team of at least two organizers!
  • Almost everyone who has organized an event has been interested in organizing another one. An Open Source Comes to Campus event is a rewarding way to bring students together and watch them learn and collaborate.

Before the event[edit]

  • Find mentors.
  • Plan food.
  • Make a sign-up page.

During the event[edit]

  • Deal with logistics issues, like food being late.
  • Make sure mentors are being helpful.
  • Make sure the event stays on time, and adjust the schedule if needed.
  • Make sure attendees are creating a safe space for learning and following the code of conduct, and address violations (like sexist language) if they occur.

More about organizing[edit]

The next few sections cover a variety of concepts about organizing.

The three organizer roles[edit]

(Borrowed from Railsbridge).

There are basically three roles to be filled by organizers, which in theory could be done by one superhuman, but is more realistically split between two people.

First, the pre-event communicator. This includes publicizing the event, works on finding mentors and recruiting women mentors to ensure a healthy balance, and makes sure everyone knows where they're going and what they are required to show up with. This role sends a lot of emails before the workshop, and is most visible to the attendees and mentors before the workshop happens. This requires staying organized in the weeks before the event.

Second, the stage director (or logistics) role. This role includes stuff like planning food, making sure you have physical objects like extension cords and sticky notes for feedback, and getting people signed in. There will probably be volunteers for any one of these tasks, but the stage director puts the volunteer there to do it. This requires staying organized under pressure!

Last, the circus ringmaster/ringmistress, who welcomes everyone to the circus with an entertaining "what are we doing here" intro and sends attendees off to their small groups and helps them be amazed by their own feats of strength. At the end this person inspires people to continue, with study groups and follow-up resources. (Our analogies sometimes break down.) This requires charisma, rather than staying organized.

There are plenty of other things that could go into one person's bucket over the other. The three roles have more and less work at various points, so it might make sense for you to trade off being stage director before and during the event, in addition to your other role.

Mostly, talk to your co-organizers about their strengths, weaknesses, and what they want to do. Figure out how to have the most fun.