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Publisher's Letter

By Michele Nichols


When it comes to emergencies, it’s only human to think of the worst-case scenario. It’s why we have anxiety about emergency rooms, purchase emergency insurance coverage and even prepare emergency toolkits with our families for when severe weather hits. As a planner you know you can’t always plan for things like natural disasters and health outbreaks, but sometimes—in the best-case scenarios—leaders come forward who are quickly able to think of a Plan B to find the happy ending in the midst of chaos.

That’s exactly what we discovered in our cover story, “In Case of Emergency,” which details the stories of how three campuses dealt with the unexpected and provided shelter and safety for visiting conference groups. From handling the Boston Marathon bombing (should this be a lower case B?) to a tornado in normally quiet Arizona and a norovirus outbreak on the East Coast, each staff pooled their resources together and went above and beyond to make sure their guests felt safe, reassured and could find some semblance of order to complete the mission they had set out to accomplish when booking their meetings and events.

Really, it should come as no surprise that colleges and universities tend to be more than equipped to deal with any of these incidents. They are responsible for housing, feeding and caring for thousands of students on a daily basis, which means they have developed successful communications, security and disaster preparedness plans just “in case.” Campuses have clinics and infirmaries on-site; the university my son attends employs a larger police force than the town he grew up in. Because of this, none of what happened in any of these scenarios threw anyone for a loop. They all dealt with it calmly, quickly, professionally and, dare we say, heroically.

While there are many inherent bonuses to booking with colleges and universities, perhaps this is one of the most important. Knowing your attendees are safe is paramount, and it’s one less thing you will have to worry about when you have a strong, cutting-edge team behind you with well-tested plans to deal with absolutely anything. In this day and age you can never be too prepared—these campuses have taught us just that.

Michele Nichols, Founder
Unique Venues