Programming Basics

Why Do We Program?

Student clubs program for a variety of reasons. These reasons range from interest in a topic by the group to a need for a certain type of pro­gram or programs. The needs of each group are unique and necessary to support a comprehensive student activities program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

A comprehensive student activities program requires the cooperation of all members of the activities community – this includes: clubs, gov­ernments, hall associations, programming boards, and professional-affiliated groups. By bringing together all of these diverse groups with their unique interests we stand the chance to provide a variety of programs and events to both the campus community and the greater community.

In order to provide top quality programs to our students and not to duplicate programs or to have multiple programs on the same day/night, all clubs must submit a series of forms to the Office of Student Life. All forms may be picked up in the Office of Student Life.

In order to maintain your “active” status within the Office of Student Life, which is needed in order to program; organizations must adhere to the following:

  • Submit an organization roster by the given date.
  • Turn in necessary paperwork (i.e. room reservation forms, check requests, etc) two weeks in advance.
  • Attend mandatory organization meetings.
  • Turn in an updated constitution every other year.
  • Turn in the Advisor Information Form at the start of every year.
  • Submit an annual budget proposal, adhering to Office of Student Life proposal guidelines, in  the Spring semester

Programming Basics

The steps involved in planning a successful program are similar for a variety of programs. For example, one may approach planning an ath­letic banquet in the same manner that one approaches a leadership dinner. There are similar general components and then there are some specifics to each event. The following guidelines are some suggestions for success.

The program process involves:

  1. Conception of the program.
  2. Discussion of the specifics.
  3. Delegation of tasks and anticipa­tion of the program.
  4. The Program Itself.
  5. Evaluation of the program.


Programs evolve from many beginnings. They may stem from a group discussion of fund raising, an informal discussion about Parent’s Week­end, or from a discussion on how to increase pride at the College. What is specific to programming is that the idea evolves into a planned event, with clear goals and objectives, and with a certain finished project in mind.

The basic building block is the idea, and how does the group come up with the idea? A common technique is called “brainstorming” and your club or organization can apply this technique quite easily. The tools needed are: a piece of paper; a writing utensil; and an open mind. Let’s say for instance, that the group wants to plan a campus wide program for a Fall Weekend.

The first step in the brainstorming process is to appoint a recorder. Then the group lets the ideas flow and the recorder gets it all down on pa­per. When it appears that the group has exhausted all its creative energies, the examination of the ideas begins. The group must like the idea wholeheartedly and believe that it is the best that they can do. Once they reach an agreement, the group can move onto the next phase.

Other ways that a group can get ideas for programs is to review past evaluations of programs and research what other schools are pro­gram­ming.

Steps to Programming

  1. Communications: Solicit ideas from all members of the organization. Discuss programming from a philosophical point of view; relate it to your organization’s purposes and goals.
  2. Select programs: which fit your budget, the needs of your organization and the student body. Select a person or committee who will assume complete responsibility for the programmer’s implementation.
  3. Fit the program to the facilities available. Check the reservations schedule at the Office of Student Life.
  4. Get a commitment: in writing by contract. If you are using student fees, the Student Life Advisor must approve the contract before it can be binding.
  5. Publicity: Use the resources available from Fitness/Rec Center, the Student Newspaper (Equinox), TV3, and the electronic sky board.
  6. Follow through: Review of the details of programs about five days before the event takes place.
  7. Arrange for payment: Coordinate with the Office of Student Life to have payment ready when it is needed. Remember payment for all services must be paid by University check. (The Accounting Office will require three days to process all checks).

Discussion of the Specifics.

Once your group has chosen an event, the group needs to ask itself questions such as:

  • Why are we doing this program?
  • What campus resources can we use (re: facilities, publicity, and data board)?
  • Can our budget handle the cost involved or do we need to petition Student Government for additional funding?
  • Can we meet all the deadlines?

Delegation of Tasks

Lists must be developed that outline every possible aspect of the program and members must volunteer to complete these tasks. The re­spon­si­bility should not fall on one person!! The president/chair needs to remember that their role is to coordinate and delegate, not as­sume total con­trol and responsibility. The chair may delegate and coordinate. However, she/he must remember who is doing what, and what the dead­lines are. The appropriate forms must be completed with the Office of Student Life and if you are unsure of any part of this, the staff is always willing to take some time to answer questions.

Part of the planning process for your event should include your publicity and promotion campaign. We have included an entire section in this manual because this is a critical component to the programming process. Remember to plan your publicity, keep it simple, and be crea­tive.

The Program

On the evening of the event, the group must plan to meet at least one-half hour before the scheduled show/performance time so that any last minute details can be attended to. If there is a set-up to be done, it is recommended that the group arrive at least two hours ahead of the sched­uled program to complete the set-up. It is recommended that a member of the sponsoring club or or­ganization meet with your Student Life Advisor one week before the program so that responsibilities and expectations can be clearly outlined. Details such as start­ing and ending times will be covered.