Recently, I supported JHU‘s Connecting Green student group. They aim to raise awareness about green career paths focused on sustainability. For years, their main event was a general green employer panel discussion and networking session.
Both students and staff said this was a perfectly good event.
However, this year they decided to reframe it.
Instead of being a general green employer panel and networking session, they sharpened their focus on employers supporting sustainable food systems in our local communities.
Reframing their good event had numerous positive outcomes. The rest of this post offers 3 reasons to consider reframing a good event using my experience with Connecting Green as an example.
3 Reasons to Consider Reframing a Good Event
1. Opportunity to Address Changing Needs
Sustainability is a topic that is garnering increasing attention. This year at JHU, a number of groups planned green employer-related events. Connecting Green saw an opportunity to address a changing need: While general green jobs programming is increasing on campus, there is still a need for events on niche areas of sustainability.
Reframing the event to focus on sustainable food systems got the attention of employers and students. The focused theme more clearly communicated the goal of the event and got more concrete buy-in from both employers and students.
On the student side, I had many students last semester express interest in sustainable food systems. However, they did not have a grasp of the range of activities that ‘counted’. Connecting Green was able to facilitate answers to this key need.
2. Energizing Team Members
Once the group reimagined the theme of their event, I saw a transformation in the group. While the students were dedicated to their event from the beginning, their reimagining of it energized the team and spurred creativity.
This materialized in a number of ways:
- Increased recruitment of new members
- Securing additional partnerships and sponsors
- The creation of an active Instagram account @jhu.connecting.green
- A presence on LinkedIn to connect with employers
Team members were energized by the opportunity to try out new things and leverage the strengths of individuals in the group.
3. Encouraging Organizational Continuity
Student groups face an interesting challenge: All members are guaranteed to leave the group within 4 years (often less). This constant change in membership is a major challenge and groups who don’t account for this can become defunct.
Creating space to reimagine a perfectly good event helps team members feel that they are making a meaningful and impactful contribution. This type of environment helps organizational continuity because you have a better chance of retaining existing team members and recruiting new ones.
In the case of Connecting Green, changing the theme of the event helped members experiment with new ideas. Members felt their involvement made a direct impact on the vision and execution of the event.
Reframing a good event doesn’t mean throwing out everything you had before.
Connecting Green still kept the structure of their event – panel + networking session – because they felt it worked really well. Instead, they reframed the event’s theme because they saw a changing need and were energized by tackling it. This reimagining helped better engage employers, students, and team members.
If you’re part of a team that routinely puts on a good event, I challenge you to reflect on what elements are working best and create the space to reframe aspects that are considered ‘good’.
Do you have a good event that you might consider reframing? Let me know in the comments.