Event Management Year in Review FY 2020

FY 2020 has presented its share of challenges, and the Event Management team rose to the occasion, enjoying a triumphant end to a tumultuous year.

July 21, 2020

Fiscal Year 2020 was a year that started and ended with the Columbia Event Management team working to support our community.

During the Fall 2019 semester, the Catering team introduced the Sustainable Living Menu, inspired by work with our colleagues at the Earth Institute. The menu showcases fresh, local fare and seasonal items sourced from vendors located near Columbia University’s Upper Manhattan campus. Our mission is twofold: satisfy guests with healthy, sustainable meals and reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing flavor. The menu was analyzed as part of a student capstone project in the School of Professional Studies’ Master of Science in Sustainability Management program, who found that the Sustainable Living menu produces roughly 63 percent less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than a “baseline menu” comprised of items from Catering’s 10 most popular menus.

In addition to executing 8,541 student events during the Fall semester, Event Management hosted retirement parties for coaches and administrators, holiday parties and over 250 events for the University Seminars program. Our Blue Menu, which donates $5 per guest that Event Management matches, raised $9,780.00 for Columbia Community Service this year.

Event Management started the year off with a bang this past January when we hosted the first annual Winter Solstice luncheon before ramping up for the Spring 2020 semester with Panhellenic events and spring orientations. In February, Event Management helped to host several popular annual events, including Glass House Rocks and Battle of the Dining Halls featuring Chef Robert Irvine. We also welcomed back She Opened the Door, a historic conference which aims to empower Columbia women, as well as new events such as the renaming ceremony for the Audrey Lorde Community Space and the Soul City Fashion Show.

In March, COVID-19 changed the landscape of our campus, city and the country. To mitigate the unforeseen stress placed on the University’s students, faculty and staff, the Event Management team helped to transform many previously booked events into virtual experiences. One example includes the Celiac Conference, an annual event held in early March, which Event Management converted into a hybrid event in just one week’s time. A select group of participants joined us on campus where we observed physical distancing guidelines while the Technical Services team live streamed for participants who were offsite.

As virtual events became standard procedure, the Event Management team adapted in order to best assist the Columbia community. By leveraging new technology, equipment and training, our team closed the year producing exceptional virtual conferences and seminars. We will continue to support our campus in the 2020-2021 Academic Year, both in person and virtually.