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Take the Hassle Out of Your Event

Take the Hassle Out of Your Event

Posted: November 9, 2017

When he’s working on an event, Mike Lewis puts his philosophy degree to work.

“I took some business ethics courses that led to my interest in philosophy,” said Lewis, director of Events Management at Buffalo State since July 2016. He landed his first job working on events while a student at UB. “The biggest one was when the Dalai Lama came to UB’s stadium,” he said of the 2006 event that drew more than 30,000 people.

After graduation, he was hired and worked on events for all seven United Students Government organizations at UB as well as professional and academic conferences, eventually focusing on special events. “Events are always high energy,” said Lewis. “There’s a lot of excitement at conferences or big events. Plus I really like coordinating all the logistics.”

When Lewis came to Buffalo State, he found an “amazing staff,” he said. “They really they taught me a lot, which shortened my learning curve.”

Lewis said that Events Management handles both the invisible side of the event—compliance with regulations, cleaning the halls and facilities, arranging parking and UPD presence if appropriate—as well as the most visible side: the guest’s experience.

“We always ask our clients, ‘What do you want your event to look like?’” he said. “For any event, no matter what it is or who hosts it, it’s a Buffalo State event to your guests. So we want to provide a level of quality that presents the college in the best possible light. Everyone who attends an event is or could be a partner, student, donor, community group, or business that works with the college.”

By using Events Management, clients can ensure that guests can find a place to park, locate the event, and enjoy a comfortable space. “We can use signage and plan routes to help people get to your event,” Lewis said. “We can advise you about a competing event, maybe a noisy event, nearby. We can make sure that the heat or AC is on. And we can arrange the catering.”

Events management specialists use algorithms to ensure that the space and its configuration maximize guests’ comfort. They are also experienced in regulations, required by several agencies: New York State Health Department, the Liquor Authority, and SUNY, as well as fire and building codes.

“The sign you see in each room about the maximum number of people allowed may vary if you configure the room differently,” Lewis said. “Bistro tables, sit-down round tables, and the way you arrange them matter. We can help you make the most of the available space while ensuring your guests are comfortable. We’re familiar with hundreds of sites on campus, and some of them may suit your needs better than the one you have in mind.”

Beyond comfort and convenience, Lewis is conscious of the liability and negligence issues involved. For example, serving alcohol when guests exceed a certain number requires a permit, which Events Management staff can handle.

Most events held on campus require a revocable permit as part of the final contract. “It’s not onerous,” said Lewis. “We can help your guests or any outside organization expedite that process if they aren’t already familiar with it.”

In addition to complying with regulations and presenting a good experience, Lewis and his team strive to uphold best practices. “We want to put on a high-quality event that implements best-practices for risk management,” he said. “Do we need UPD? Porta-potties? An ambulance on site?”

“It’s all conditional logic, just like I learned in philosophy,” Lewis said. “If we’re doing this, then we need that. We’re here to offer that service and lighten the host’s load so they can focus on their event and their guests.”

For conference and special event planning at Buffalo State, contact Events Management directly at (716) 878-6114 or eventmgt@buffalostate.edu.

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Jerod Dahlgren
Director, Public Relations
(716) 878-4201
dahlgrjt@buffalostate.edu

Mary A. Durlak
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(716) 878-3517
durlakma@buffalostate.edu

Laurie Kaiser
Staff Writer, Public Relations
(716) 878-3520
kaiserla@buffalostate.edu

Mark Norris
Editor, News and Events
(716) 878-4859
norrisma1@buffalostate.edu

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