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Organising events & trips

Events and trips are two of the most rewarding and fun aspects of being in a club or society and can provide you and your members with some amazing experiences. 

Events can range from hosting speakers on campus, to film showings, to fundraising gigs, to a themed cocktail night. Click here to see our guide on organising an event.

Alternatively you could plan a trip for your group somewhere around the UK or internationally, although you should be aware that Students’ Union funding cannot be used within Europe for flights.

The University of Sussex Students’ Union has procedures regarding external speakers in order to enshrine our commitment to freedom of speech while ensuring we act in the best interests of our students and in a socially responsible manner. We are committed to facilitating debate and discussion to further the extra-curricular development of our students and thereby we will support student groups in inviting external speakers to their events to contribute to the dialogue at Sussex. 

A risk assessment, including external speaker details, needs to be submitted for every event your club, society, or campaign holds which involves having a guest speaker. If the form is submitted incomplete or we feel that you have not been through enough, we will send the form back to you to be updated. You need to leave us a minimum of 10 working days to carry out our approval process from the date of submission of a complete and appropriately detailed form, so submitting an inappropriately completed form risks having your event postponed. 

Safety

As an official arm of the Students’ Union, each group (represented by the committee) has a serious duty to take care of the welfare of its members and anyone that may be attending your events.

This means there is a legal obligation to fill in a risk assessment for any events or trips you plan. If your group organises regular events or trips you can keep the same template risk assessment and adapt it each time.

Click here for more information about risk assessments »

Your risk assessment should be submitted well in advance of the event or trip so that we have adequate time to check it over. A member of the Activities Centre team can help you fill in a risk assessment.

If your group regularly engages in risky behaviour you might want to get one of your members to complete a first aid qualification. Contact a member of the Activities Centre team if so.

The Students’ Union has public liability insurance with a limit of £5,000,000 which all societies are covered by. If you’re doing anything out of the ordinary you might need to purchase extra insurance. Come and check with us if you’re not sure.

View example risk assessments »

Download risk assessment »

Trips

You might have a great idea for a trip but, especially if you’ll be going abroad, you must remember to plan carefully and responsibly to ensure all of your members are safe and have a good experience – we won’t be there to help you if things go wrong!

As well as the risk assessment you will need to fill out a Trip Registration form [Word document] which includes an itinerary and details of all the people going on the trip.

Trip checklist

  • Where are you going, how long for and how will you get there?
  • How will you pay for it – will you subsidise your members’ costs or just organise it while passing the full cost on? What is included in the ticket price?
  • Check your members have all necessary passports, visas and immunisations
  • Make sure you know what to do in an emergency
  • You should have at least two designated organisers of the trip but depending on the size of the group you may want more, especially if you intend to split into small groups when away
  • Consider what activities you want to do on your trip and advise members how much spending money they should take to cover extras such as local travel, food, attraction prices
  • Do your research on local customs and laws, think about whether you can deal with any language barriers 
  • When booking accommodation and transport, or generally spending large amounts of money, read the terms and conditions so you know what happens in the event of cancellation or any other unforeseen changes

Events

Remember to contact the Events team for help with events - james.s@sussexstudent.com

  • When planning events you should think about the following steps:
  • Decide what you want the event to achieve, what format it should take and who it will be aimed at
  • Form an organising committee and arrange roles within this
  • Speak to your members – they may have valuable advice to offer and experience you can use
  • Where and when do you want the event to take place and how will you pay for it?
  • Do you need any specialised equipment or professional expertise to run the event?
  • How are you going to advertise and promote the event?
  • Have a follow-up meeting after the event to assess what went well and what you could do differently next time

Selling tickets for events & places on trips

Events are a popular way to raise money for your society. When planning your event it is important to publicise and market your event well in advance to make sure that you make those all important ticket sales.

The Activities Centre staff can set up online ticket sales for you, this is a free service for all societies and there are no booking fees. Selling your tickets with us is a great way to make the whole experience of selling tickets completely hassle free for you and allows students to buy tickets at any time online.

It is important to determine if your ticket price includes or excludes VAT, if you are unsure about this please show a breakdown of your budget to a member of the Activities Centre team.

The money from your ticket sales will be paid directly into your group's account. 

When your tickets are taken off sale, if you have asked for it you will be given a guest list of names and email address of everyone who has purchased tickets for your records. You can view this information easily online if you have access to your society’s website.

We will advertise your events on our Facebook page and Twitter feed where possible. You can also create your own event listings on the Students’ Union website.

 

Money & budgets

Setting a budget is vital if your event or trip is going to cost anything. 

Think hard about what you want to spend money on – for events, venue and publicity are quite often two big costs, but you might also be paying bands or speakers, covering transport costs, hiring equipment or providing catering.

Shop around and ask for quotes from companies – remember we have a number of free venues on campus, sound and staging equipment, and experienced staff members you can call on for advice.

For trips your biggest expenditure will probably be transport and accommodation but again, think about extras like toll road charges, food, petrol, entry prices to attractions and so on.

Look at the cheapest method of transport, it may be easier to drive but you might get a better deal buying group train tickets or using coaches.

Once you know how much money you need you can look at your income. If you’re putting on a ticketed event then you should think about how many tickets you will need to sell to break even – you should not set your break even ticket sales at maximum capacity. 

Your group may need to hold a fundraiser or two to pay for things or you could apply for funding, both from the Union and other sources.

If you’re organising a trip you could think about ordering some branded clothing with the event details on as a memento, if you bulk buy these you can always add an extra charge to pass on to your members and make a little money.

It might be appropriate to seek sponsorship for your event and we can help you approach companies if you’d like. Contact the Marketing & Sponsorship Assistant for advice & support on marketingsponsorship@sussexstudent.com.

Apply for funding »

Making money »

Spending your group's money »