IMU Event Services’ new role managing UI outdoor space

Former Vice President for Student Life, Tom Rocklin, organized a task force to analyze and evaluate the management and use of outdoor space on the UI campus before he retired. The task force was composed of various campus stakeholders including UI departments, student leaders, and shared governance organizations. 

The goals of the task force were to simplify the process for users and administrators, avoid unnecessary barriers to the use of outdoor space, minimize the risks of injury, damage to property, and disruption of university business, and be consistent with first amendment of the US Constitution and the university’s interest in promoting dialogue among members of the university community. 

The task force met over the summer in 2017 and reviewed practices and procedures before offering recommendations for the 2017-2018 academic year. Three of the recommendations had a large impact on the IMU.

  • Movement of all outdoor campus space reservations to IMU Event Services;
  • Creation of a Campus Events Committee; and
  • Conduct an internal review of IMU Event Services to determine if additional staff are needed.

The recommendations of the task force were approved and IMU Event Services is now the administrative home for outdoor campus reservations and is responsible for assembling and leading the Campus Events Committee. Kristi Finger transitioned from the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership and joined the IMU Event Services team as the Assistant Director for Reservations & Outdoor Space.

“I think the transition and process have gone very well,” says Kristi Finger. “We have a Committee of dedicated campus partners who are invested in the success of the events that are happening on campus. The opportunity to meet and discuss logistics and operations, in terms of the use of campus outdoor space and the impact these events has on the grounds and immediate areas, has been very educational for everyone.  We definitely try to “get to yes” when approving events, but it may mean that the event is better suited to happen in a different space than what was originally requested.”

Vice President Shivers communicated all changes to campus in August of 2017, and the past year has been a transition period. Between Aug. 1, 2017 and July 30, 2018 there have been 868 reservations for the Campus & Outdoor Spaces under the purview of the Campus Events Committee – Pentacrest, Kautz Plaza, T. Anne Cleary Walkway, North Library Plaza, Gibson Square, and Hubbard Park.  These numbers include everything from Information Tables on Kautz Plaza, the BTN Tailgate event on Hubbard Park, to the Free Saturday Night Movies Series on the Pentacrest sponsored by IC Summer of the Arts.

"This spring we found out about a couple of community 5k’s or awareness walks that planned to use the sidewalks on Iowa River Trail between the IMU footbridge and Hancher. I was able to contact the organizer(s) to let them know about the many construction projects happening in that area and worked with them to create a different route that was much safer for their participants. If we hadn’t found out about these and worked with them ahead of their event, the organizer(s) may have not been aware of the issues until a day or two before the event, then would have had little time to modify the route and notify officials and participants,” says Finger.

A website was developed to help student leaders, UI departments, and community members navigate the changes to the outdoor space policies.