Q & A with Office of Conference Services

Q & A with Office of Conference Services

The Student Housing Village's picturesque 2,600-square-foot Multi-Use Pavilion is large enough to host a variety of events and can also be sub-divided to host more intimate gatherings. The Pavilion’s rooftop terrace also serves as an event venue in and of itself.
By Mike Piacentino

The Student Housing Village's picturesque 2,600-square-foot Multi-Use Pavilion is large enough to host a variety of events and can also be sub-divided to host more intimate gatherings. The Pavilion’s rooftop terrace also serves as an event venue in and of itself.

Q & A with Office of Conference Services

By Mike Piacentino
The newly created Office of Conference Services will serve as a one-stop-shop solution for primarily external groups interested in hosting a conference, camp or event at the University.

Jacqueline A. Travisano, UM’s executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer, recently sent a letter to the University community announcing the creation of the enterprise-wide Office of Conference Services (OCS). As referenced in the letter, this new office will serve as a one-stop-shop solution for primarily external groups interested in hosting a conference, camp or event at the University.

More information will be made available as the office continues to ramp up its operation; however, answers to commonly asked questions are provided below. Please contact Richard Kenney at rjkenney@miami.edu or 305-284-5742 for additional information.

Why was the Office of Conference Services created? Why now?

Too many times, external - or even internal - groups are faced with the “Miami Shuffle” when attempting to plan a conference or event at the University of Miami. OCS was established to bridge the gaps between the many campus units involved in event and meeting planning and help to fully integrate our strengths, thus putting UM’s best foot forward.

Many other institutions have centralized conference service offices that provide external clients with one-stop experiences for their events and conferences. The soon-to-be introduced Event & Conference Management Software suite (ECMS) in addition to the modernization of our on-campus housing have generated the need for a centralized conference service office at UM. We, as a University, have an opportunity to grow and continue forward in our progression, and OCS is a logical step in the growth and success of the University.

My job is to plan events/conferences for my unit. How will the Office of Conference Services (OCS) effect my daily work?

From space reservations to registration management and housing accommodations to catering needs, the Office of Conference Services can assist event planners with the many logistical components of an event. While some of the more seasoned event planners on campus may not need to interact with the office on a daily basis, OCS will continually be marketing the many beautiful spaces on all of UM’s campuses and will provide leads to space managers for future events.

My unit has a conference/meeting planned for Summer or Fall 2018. What should we do now?

Keep planning your event, but feel free to call OCS if you need help! Event and conference planning can be a daunting task and if you do not always do it, some things could be forgotten.

Do you have linens for the tables? Butter for the mashed potatoes? A vegan option on the menu? OCS can assist with the logistics and connect you with a range of campus resources, so you can focus on the content of your program and your participants.

What is ECMS?

ECMS will be the behind-the-scenes tool that populates the University’s new events master calendar. Comprised of EMS (event scheduling and management), Attend (registration/shopping cart), Social Tables (room diagramming), and 7 Point Solutions (financial tie-in to Nelnet and Workday), the ECMS suite covers all the needs of event and conference coordinators across UM’s many venues.

With user-acceptance sessions occurring now, it is the intention of UMIT and OCS to have a smooth roll out of the first phase of users. Phase II user implementation will begin shortly after the launch of the first group of users and will continue to move forward to have as many departments utilizing the ECMS suite as possible.

I have thought about bringing an event/meeting/conference/camp to UM. How do I get started?

UM’s world-class researchers, faculty, and staff along with our wide range of venues present many opportunities to bring new conferences and events to all three of UM’s main campuses. OCS was created specifically to assist UM units or individual members of the UM community in accomplishing their event goals and making it easy to do so. Visit the Office of Conference Services website to learn more about the resources they provide.

As a new office on campus, OCS will continually seek input from both users and service providers. The Office will continue to refine and expand services as it continues to meet the needs of the campus community. For answers to additional questions or to provide any feedback, please contact Richard Kenney at rjkenney@miami.edu or 305-284-5742.