Fourty brave students set sail on a week-long adventure of getting to know each other and learning a bit about the world of Event Marketing. Navigating the world of events isn’t easy, but we were lucky enough to hear from seasoned marketing professionals in the industry during Orientation Week.
We started the week off by getting to know the professors and each other. After a brief overview of the week, we participated in a bunch of “getting to know each other” ice breakers and team challenges. I particularly enjoyed The Marshmallow Challenge! We broke off into teams of four to create the tallest free-standing structure out of dry spaghetti noodles (with a marshmallow fixed to the highest point). It was great to see how well everyone worked with their teammates, despite knowing very little about each other. It was also fun learning quirky facts about my classmates. I learned that Christina almost always writes upside down and Emily has a twin sister, but they look nothing alike!
The next day we had the opportunity to visit the Pan Am/ Parapan Games headquarters. I ended up taking the train so I arrived earlier than the bus. While I waited for the bus to arrive, I had the opportunity to relax at the manmade beach beside the Chorus Entertainment building. I had no clue that this beach even existed. Such a little slice of paradise in the big city!
At the Pan Am headquarters, we heard from various speakers who gave us an overview of the games, what it is like to plan all of the sporting events, how to deal with major crises when they arise and what it takes to pull the games together.
After our visit to the Pan Am office we headed to the Luminato Festival office. We heard from various speakers, including Janet Price, CEO of Luminato. She ran us through the story of how the festival came to be, what it stands for and how much they have accomplished since their first festival in 2007. Janice also gave us a good piece of advice, which is to “always take the meeting”. This means that you should never close a door or pass on an opportunity because you feel it has no value to you. You never know where it could lead.
After visiting the Luminato Festival office, we headed to Roy Thomson Hall where we were able to see the building’s transformation for TIFF. We also learned a very important piece of advice: parking always generates a lot of money. Always build a parking lot if you have the space!
On day three we headed to the TrojanOne offices where we learned about experiential marketing, brand activation and their amazing roster of clients. We were also fortunate enough to get great career advice from several staff members at TrojanOne.
On our last day of Orientation Week each group presented their ten-minute presentation on what it takes to succeed in the events industry. Our presentation was a Family Feud trivia-style game that sought to inform our classmates about the skills and personality traits needed to be successful in the events industry. My team ended up winning the “most creative” and “overall choice” awards. Each team member received a Seneca Marketing T-shirt. My favourite part of the whole process was being able to bond with my classmates and getting to know them on an individual basis.
Looking back, I have to say that I enjoyed going to the 2015 Pan Am Games stop the most. I learned a great deal of information about the games, why the games exist and why they are so important. I would love the opportunity to volunteer with them during the school year this year. All in all, Orientation Week was engaging, informative and fun. It certainly has set the bar high for what I expect out of this program.
Overall it was a great start to a great year!