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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

School of Public Health debuts event planning organization

The Student Event Planning Organization, a club in the School of Public Health, had its first callout meeting last Thursday to welcome potential new members.

SEPA is a national professional organization that offers opportunities to students who are interested in the event planning field.

Haley Sorenson, a junior majoring in tourism, hospitality and event management, is the vice president of IU’s chapter of SEPA.

“My main goal is to serve as the point of contact for all of our guest speakers,” Sorenson said. “I work with our chapter officers and our members to select speaking topics and develop specific points for our guests to touch on.”

Nationally, SEPA’s mission is to prepare students for success in the event planning and hospitality industries, Sorenson said.

“In addition to the national mission, we’d like to ease students’ transition into the professional field by bringing networking opportunities directly to our members,” Sorenson said.

“We really want members to be involved and engaged in discovering what is in their future.”

The chapter was started after the Board of Directors reached out to Sorenson and other organization leaders through social media, Sorenson said.

“The School of Public Health has opportunities for students in our major, but we thought this would bring something new and different into the mix,” Sorenson said.

Students have dues of $50 for their first year and pay $35 per year after while they are still in college. Dues include local and national dues as well as a t-shirt.

David Smiley is the adviser for the club and a lecturer in recreation, park and tourism studies.

Smiley worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years and said he managed facilities from golf courses to hotels.

“It was a natural fit when they started the organization to be the adviser, because I teach all of the event planning classes here,” Smiley said.

Students will be able to talk to people in the industry who come in as guest speakers, and SEPA has already developed some internship positions that will be available to members of the organization, Smiley said.

“So far we have scheduled membership meetings twice a month,” Sorenson said. “In addition, we are working on planning optional social events for members. For our members, we will be announcing volunteer, job and internship opportunities throughout the semester at our meetings.“

The club will look at all types of event management and hospitality, Sorenson said.

“We really want members to be involved and engaged in discovering what is in their future,” Sorenson said.

SEPA is open to all students and can be beneficial to those outside of the tourism, hospitality and event management major and minor, Smiley said, especially to those in the Kelley School of Business who will still be involved in planning events throughout their careers.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn some of the ins and outs of the industry,”
Smiley said.

SEPA’s next meeting is Feb. 13.

“We want our new members to learn about the industry,” Sorenson said. “We really want to bridge the gap from
student to professional.”

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Kathrine Schulze
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