Event planning students are learning by doing

According to her students, Dr. Berkita Bradford’s event planning class is like no other. Students say they enjoy her hands-on, real world approach.Bradford, an assistant professor in Grambling State University’s Management and Marketing Department, had her students to plan a Black History program for GSU’s College of Business, an 80th birthday celebration for a client and the COB’s senior reception, the final event planned by the class.


Rodney Johnson, a marketing major from Topeka, Kansas, said, “Everything we did in class was hands-on, not just textbook knowledge. She brought us into the world. We met outside of class at venues with contractors.”


Metria McCall said the class helps with the technical side of planning events. “We learned about troubleshooting how to think on our feet, and how to make smooth transitions. It was hands-on. It was like interning,” she said.


Michael Jackson said it is a very good class and is preparing him by giving him experience.


He said, “She stresses accountability, having a respectful and positive attitude, handling business instead of procrastinating, and making sure things are done correctly and in order.”


The objective of the class is to introduce students to the concept of venue, selection, menu appropriateness and thematic events. Also, she taught students about legal issues in relation to the Meeting, Expositions, Event Convention industry.


Bradford has taught event planning for 5 years. She has worked for hotels in Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Raleigh and Chicago. She planned events while she was a graduate student at Kansas State, worked for the Louisiana Office of Tourism and as a house manager for Alpha Xi Delta sorority.


She said, “I believe event planning is something you have to do, I can teach them everything in the textbook, but until they actually go through the motions, it is hard to understand.”


Bradford said students gain a better understanding when they select a venue, create a menu and help set up and watch the event take place versus just reading the textbook and taking an exam.


“Students seem to work harder when they understand they actually have a client and the end result will represent them (the students),” she said


Graduating senior Mary Olayinka Ademola said the planning was great and the presenters were good. “This was awesome. The presenters were prepared,” she said.


Ademola said Murphy Cheatham talked about his experiences and things he wished he knew before he graduated. Dr. Aaron Witherspoon shared words of wisdom. Ivan J. Daigs told them if they are looking to go somewhere, they have to let go of who they are.