Student Pack Jam: Planning Checklist

Are you planning to host Student Pack Jam at your college or university?

Top 16 things to do when planning a successful Pack Jam

Provided by UW Stout student Brandon Hokanson

  1. Choose a date. This should be done by the end of the fall term, at least 14-16 months before you host.
    • For example, if you are hosting in Spring 2024 you should have your dates and theme picked by December 2022. Try to avoid scheduling the event during other schools' spring breaks. Spring break dates can be found on each school’s academic calendars.
    • Be sure to notify IoPP of the event dates so their team can assist with registration and event promotions!
  2. Choose a theme. The theme should be general enough so it does not restrict your speaker selection and relevant enough to current topics/issues related to the packaging industry
  3. Book a location. Conference centers at your school may book up early, so it is important to reserve a venue location at least one year in advance. Remember that in many cases, the location will dictate the maximum number of attendees.
  4. Determine how to collect money for sponsors and registration. Donations need to be IRS tax legal, so it might be a good idea to talk to your school’s financial department for more information. If you go through your school, be sure that you know how to access the money for purchasing items. You may need to fill out a payment request form.
  5. Develop a budget goal and rough budget. Aim high when creating your goal, but be realistic. Create a rough estimate of all event costs (catering, supplies and materials, printing fees, speaker fees, entertainment, event center rental costs, technology costs, etc.).  
  6. Create a rough agenda. Determine what type of fun activities - such as a packaging design competition - you’d like to have in addition to speaker presentations.
  7. Create sponsor levels. Create a tiered sponsor structure with perks for each. For example:
    • Diamond: $$$$$ (Headline sponsor who receives the most benefits)
    • Platinum: $$$$
    • Gold: $$$ (Often you'll get more sponsors at this level!)
    • Silver: $$
    • Bronze: $ (Small companies or national organizations tend to sponsor at this level)
      • Remember: companies are more likely to sponsor an event if they can see details about they are sponsoring, such  as a dinner, design competition, tabletop trade show, etc. Make sure to plan on providing at least one free ticket to sponsoring companies so they can send a representative to the event.
  8. Compile a company and school contact list.  You’ll need to send many emails over the next year, so it's a good idea to create a excel spreadsheet of contacts!
  9. Create an informative flyer/letter. Send this letter out to companies and organizations, letting them know about the upcoming event.  
  10. Create an event website. Work with your school to establish a landing page with event information. Be sure to notify IoPP of the event dates so their team can assist with event promotions!
  11. Notify other schools/universities/companies. The earlier you can notify all potential participants with details of the event, the better. December should be the latest time to notify people!
  12. Market the jamboree as much as possible. Put posters up around your school about 2-3 months in advance so current students know to attend and represent!
  13. Recruit help in planning the jamboree. You don't have to do this alone! Establish sub-committees to handle the various aspects of the jamboree, such as the marketing, onsite organization, parking, technology/presentations, communication, and outreach, and treasury/ purchasing. And if you plan to have the event onsite at your school, be sure to include those key contacts in the planning process. 
  14. Create props and decorations. A great and inexpensive way to do this is by using your school's packaging lab. In past events, Stout created a large corrugated 'S' to represent their packaging program and Clemson created a giant corrugated tiger paw - these props were a big hit for photo opportunities! 
  15. Find a photographer. It's always nice to have photos from the event! If your budget allows, you can hire someone, but if not, ask a volunteer who knows their way around a camera. Make sure to set aside time for a group photo on the first or second event day, as attendance will likely drop by the last day of the event. 
  16. Don't stress. Your event will be great! Be sure to have fun as a planning group every now and then and don't forget to relax!