Hosting an Event

Group of students in Enfield house

The alumni and family relations office plans events throughout the country every year, and we welcome the help of our alums. Interested in organizing your own alumni event? You can!

Alumni relations is here to help. We'll send electronic invitations, post your event on Hampshire's website and on Facebook, and collect RSVPs. Prior to the event, alumni relations will send you Hampshire College items that will be of help: name tags, pins, pens, decals, and two T-shirts for a raffle, for example. Hampshire will also provide up to $10 per person in funding to offset any costs. Contact for more details.

Ready to start planning an event near you? Here are the steps to follow.

How to Host a Successful Alumni Event

This is a simple outline of common questions and issues that can come up during the planning process. It helps to work with the alumni relations volunteer coordinator, who will provide planning, logistical, and financial guidance to ensure success.

Will the event:

Please consider the following:

1. Attendance

  • How many people do you expect? Attendance at regional alumni events ranges from 5 to 10 percent of the local Hampshire population. Alumni relations can tell you how many that means in your area. Please keep these numbers in mind when thinking about and planning for your event.
  • Who gets an invitation? You can invite all alums, all Hampshire community members (parents, alums, and friends), alums from specific decades, current students, and/or prospective students.
  • Would the event benefit from a faculty or staff presence?

2. Venue

  • Is the site suitable for the activity?
    • Is it close to public transport?
    • Is there adequate parking?
    • Is the space itself conducive to conversation?
  • Will this venue supply any AV need, such as a microphone or projection?
  • What are the costs related to the site?
    • What is the rental fee?
    • Is there an additional charge for tables, chairs, etc.?
    • Are there setup and tear-down charges?
    • Is there a minimum charge for gratuities or food/beverages?
    • Is a deposit required ?
    • Are there parking fees? Meters?
  • Is this location open and welcoming to everyone?
  • Are there accessibility issues?
  • If your event is outdoors, do you have a rain plan?

3. Date and Time

  • Is there a conflict with a previously scheduled alumni event, a holiday, or a major local non-College happening?
  • Does the timing take commuting into consideration?

4. Food and Beverages

  • What is the style of the event, sit-down or reception? This determines the best options for what to serve or provide, but it's also good to know that receptions work best when there's a speaker.
  • Will there be hors d'oeuvres? And passed or at a buffet?
  • When will the venue or caterer need the final counts? Are there minimums?
  • Will alcoholic beverages be served? Paid bar or host bar? Maybe just beer and wine are available.
  • What is the liquor liability in a private residence?
  • Did you make sure nonalcoholic drinks and vegan meal choices are available?

5. Charges

  • If it's a ticketed event (dance performance, museum, for example), do the tickets need to be purchased in advance?
  • Will people be able to pay "at the door "?

6. RSVPs

  • Did you know RSVPs go through the alumni elations office? This will save you a lot of hassle.
  • We can notify you every time someone registers and/or send you a list after the deadline.

7. Publicity

  • Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought? Just turn in a written description of your event and the RSVP date to alumni relations and we'll publish the information on the website and email it to your potential guests.
  • Do you want to use social media? Alumni relations will create a Facebook page and make the event organizer an administrator. A Facebook page helps build community and attendance.
  • Is there something you can do right away? Start making personal phone calls to get the word out and generate enthusiasm.

8. Planning Calendar

  • Do you know what the process entails? Are you concerned you haven't quite thought of everything? When you coordinate with your alumni relations liaison, you will work through a back-planning calendar.

Among recent alumni-organized events were:

Food Bank volunteering
Bar night
Book tour event
Gathering at a home
Reunion planning

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Alumni & Family Relations
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
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Fax: 413.559.6764