The pandemic caused organizations to get creative with their events, whether that meant going completely virtual, hybrid or grouping occasions together. The University of Chicago Law School approached us looking to host two sets of class reunions for 2021. The reunion programs for 2020 and 2021 were postponed and then combined into one larger, virtual reunion program. Jonathan Zani, a Technical Producer at BlackOak, shares how we produced this historically in-person event as an engaging virtual event.
Q&A with Jonathan Zani, Producer
WHAT IS THE EVENT THAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT TODAY?
The University of Chicago’s Law School virtual reunion. We were referred internally by the special events team and worked directly with the law school Dean and planning committee for the event.
WHAT WERE THE FEARS THE CLIENT HAD AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS PROJECT?
The initial fears were, how can we make this run smoothly? How can we facilitate an engaging event while having this in a virtual format? This was the focus as we went into our planning and strategy meeting, which we do at the top of every event.
THAT MAKES SENSE. WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE DURING THE PLANNING PROCESS?
The biggest challenge going into this event was the same as our fear — how to create an engaging event in a virtual setting. The client knew the alumni and their families would be looking for fun content and activities, so it was our goal to execute above expectations. Another challenge was integrating the registration platform used by the University of Chicago into the custom platform. We worked closely with multiple teams within the university to integrate the registration functionality fully and seamlessly into the platform.
THAT DOES SOUND LIKE QUITE THE CHALLENGE. TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS CUSTOM PLATFORM.
The central hub of this event was the custom platform we specifically developed for this client which hosted programming, networking, audience engagement, and registration. Once the guests were on the platform, they had an on-brand, highly polished digital experience during the event watching presentations, filling out a custom New York Times crossword puzzle, and networking with their classmates.
WHAT OTHER SERVICES DID YOU PROVIDE?
We produced a video tour of the law school facilities narrated by the Dean and streamed it during their event. We also provided a full analytics package post-event that you wouldn’t necessarily get from an in-person event, such as specifics into who accessed the platform, how much time they spent on it, and what country they were logging in from.
THAT’S AWESOME. HOW DID THE CLIENT FEEL AFTER THE EVENT WAS OVER?
The client was pleased with the event turnout and enjoyed digging into the analytics afterwards. Our ability to produce a platform with dedicated virtual space for each returning graduation class. The robust analytics of the full event platform allowed them to feel confident all their hard work paid off in an engaging and well attended virtual reunion.
Whether you are planning an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, BlackOak Technical Productions is here to help. Contact us to plan a stress-free event for both you and your guests.
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