Event Planning students raise funds

Last semester students from La Trobe Business School’s third-year event planning subject organised five fundraiser events for the Heidelberg School Artists Trail and for the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. The students raised over $10,000 along with budget surplus and have donated money to worthy causes 

Hands in a circleIn trying to make the event-planning experience as genuine as possible, Jessica Derham, Course Coordinator and Associate Lecturer in Department of Marketing and Tourism and Hospitality said her students were given ‘a reasonable budget, real clients and the opportunity to host their own events.’ Within the teams, each member was also allocated a specific role to manage including marketing, operations, risk management, finance or sponsorship.

‘The subject has been running successfully for 10 years now but this was the first time that we introduced real clients into the mix and our students really rose to the challenge’ said Miss Derham.

The program garnered praise from students involved with most highlighting the hands-on nature of the subject as a great learning experience

‘The highlight of the subject for me was the practical, real-world experience’ said student Sally Hiller. 

‘You can read a text book and try to apply the theory but the ups and downs, the challenges such as time management, task delegation, team communication and actually having to trust and rely on others, that was what made my experience pure and real.’ 

‘Working with real clients was the biggest challenge…’ student Katarina Sim explained. 

‘They are not always clear and sometimes tell you conflicting things. Through this experience I obtained skills to manage client expectations and ensure cooperation across all involved – a skill I’ll definitely use in the future.’

Whilst both Katarina and Sally emphasise that the subject bares a hefty work-load and requires a lot of time and dedication, they both agree that they are happy they chose event planning. 

‘We didn’t want to give up and now we feel we have really achieved something’ said Sally.

The five events entitled ‘The Elements of Gertrude’, ‘Flashbacks Charity Evening’, ‘Paint the Trail’, ‘Amazing Charity Challenge’ and ‘Walter Withers Walk Extravaganza’ promoted the Heidelberg Artists Trail and the Gertrude Street Projection Festival and raised money for Cancer Council Victoria, Arts Access and the Fitzroy Learning Centre.

Feedback from the organisations who worked with the students has been enormously positive. 

‘It was great to be able to work with and mentor our future event managers.’ said Samantha Walsh, Coordinator of Leisure & Cultural Services at Banyule Council. 

‘Learning on the job is really the best way to learn the roles of event management with all its chaos and deadlines. The students were great to work with and very responsive to a team approach.’

This was a sentiment echoed by Kym Ortenburg, Cofounder and Director of the Gertrude Street Association.

‘The Gertrude Association was very impressed with the event planning students organising our main fundraiser in May. They were cheerful, proactive and professional.’ said Ortenburg.


Katrinka Szuhan
Marketing Officer (Media and Events)
T (03) 9479 6707 E K.Szuhan@latrobe.edu.au