Hosting 1,200 out-of-town visitors takes a bit of planning

March 10–13 is your chance to see the future of veterinary medicine, as 1,200 students come to campus for the 2010 Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Symposium. They’ll fill sidewalks and laboratories, ride a fleet of Badger Buses between campus and area hotels and Monona Terrace, where they’ll hear an awesome lineup of speakers (including some from our wildlife ecology, animal science and dairy science departments) and have their meals. They’ll tailgate at the Union, hear music at the Overture Center, hold athletic competitions and take out-of-town field trips.

For the visitors, it will be a three-day whirlwind. For the people who managed the logistics, it will be the culmination of two years of meticulous planning.

“We’ve been working on this event since April of 2008. Originally, we were providing registration service and securing facility contracts for this group, but our experience working with large facilities and contracting for other services became an integral part of their planning process,” says Leah Leighty, program manager for CALS Conference Services, hefting a fat binder stuffed with contracts pertaining to this event.

For those of us who sweat planning for a half-dozen guests, the logistics for a hundred dozen is hard to comprehend, especially considering that during March the conference office is also handling visits from ice cream makers, cheese makers, food processors, meat processors and utility line workers. Sometimes the CCS team just handles registration; other times they manage the whole event.

“Whether it’s happening two months or five years down the road, made for butter makers, engineers or embryologists, we work behind the scenes to make an events like the SAVMA Symposium happen,” Leighty says. “One of the great things about this job is that you meet a lot of people dedicated to bringing high quality educational opportunities to the public. It’s never the same day twice.”

To find out more about upcoming educational opportunities or event planning services offered by CALS Conference Services, please see our website at: