Game Starters: Kim Yoder

October 12, 2012  

Kim Yoder

Kim Yoder, event planner in the Office of Special Events. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)
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Although some may be thinking about graduation or summer break when May comes around, Kim Yoder, event planner in the Office of Special Events, already has October's Homecoming celebration on her mind.

This past spring, Yoder and a team of about 40 people from across campus formed the 2012 University-wide Homecoming Committee to develop this year's theme, ideas for stage performances, publicity, signage and family-friendly activities.

"My favorite thing about working on Homecoming is the committee," Yoder says. "Homecoming is truly a University-wide, team effort that wouldn’t happen without the help of Purdue Alumni, Athletics, PSUB, and all of the tent and stage participants and volunteers. It has provided me with the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people all across campus whom I might not have met outside of Homecoming."

How long have you been at Purdue and in what roles?

I started in August 2010 in the Special Events office as an event planner, which was my first job after college.

How did you become an event planner?

I majored in tourism, conventions and event management at IUPUI and graduated in May 2010. I was involved in several internships in college that prepared me for my job at Purdue -- everything from wedding planning and catering to corporate and volunteer events.  My job at Purdue has been an excellent starting point for my career as an event planner.

What are some of the responsibilities of your current role?

Our office plans all development-driven events such as building dedications and groundbreakings, as well as all President’s Council events and University-wide events such as Homecoming and Purdue Day at the Indiana State Fair. I’m responsible for coordinating all details of the events I’m assigned to: sending invitations, tracking registrations, booking vendors, planning decor and menus, and confirming timing of everything for event day. We also coordinate seating assignments and work with schools to facilitate conversations with development staff and their donors. On-site I handle setup, registration and teardown. After the event, we submit the names of who attended the event for stewardship purposes and pay the bills.

How long have you worked on Homecoming?

This will be my third Homecoming. The first year I planned the College of Engineering’s Homecoming activities inside Neil Armstrong Hall, and the past two years I've been involved with planning of the University-wide Homecoming event on Stadium Mall.

Who is involved with the Homecoming Committee?

Ultimately we want as many colleges, schools, units, and regional campuses as possible to be represented at Homecoming.  In April I send a callout for people to join the committee and determine the meeting schedule. We have around 40 people who meet May through October, and they break into four subcommittees that coordinate the major aspects of Homecoming and report back to the full committee. The subcommittees are the Tent & Facilities Team, Stage & Signage Team, Web & Publicity Team and Activities & Volunteers Team.

What is your role on the Homecoming Committee?

This year, I’m working with the Tent & Facilities and Stage & Signage teams. Our biggest responsibilities were to map out where each participating tent will be and to determine the stage lineup.  I’m also in charge of communications to the committee members, which includes sending meeting minutes, proofs, contact information and reminders.

You also are the lead contact for the behind-the-scenes management of "Tent Row" at the Family Friendly Celebration on Stadium Mall. What does that involve?

After collecting all of the participation forms from schools and units across campus, I order the tents and other items needed for Stadium Mall such as tables, chairs and electricity. I also coordinate ordering signage and props and their placement along Stadium Mall and campus as well as coordinate when everything will get installed and removed during Homecoming week.

What do you do on Homecoming game day?

First I make sure each school’s tent has the correct signage, tables, chairs and any other items ordered. Then with the help of our volunteers, we help the food vendors set up, assist the participants with unloading and setup, and make sure everything is set for the Homecoming stage. Once the stage is rolling and everything is set up, I help wherever needed.

It’s great to see everything come together on Homecoming day and to see the thousands of Purdue alumni, friends and students enjoy themselves on Stadium Mall before the football game.

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