Lerner: Events, Scheduling Staff Processes 23,000 Bookings Annually

Nate Lerner is an assistant director of university events and scheduling. He helps Wesleyan faculty, staff and students reserve everything from small conference and meeting rooms to large venues like Memorial Chapel and Beckham Hall. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Nate Lerner is an assistant director of university events and scheduling. He helps Wesleyan faculty, staff and students reserve everything from small conference and meeting rooms to large venues like Memorial Chapel and Beckham Hall. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Q: Nate, when did you come to Wesleyan to work as the assistant director of university events and scheduling? What attracted you to the position?

A: I started here this past July. Most of my career has been spent at large, state universities and I was excited at the prospect of working at a smaller, highly selective liberal arts school. The fact that it happens to be my wife’s alma mater (Rachel Lerner ’06) made Wesleyan all the more compelling for me – I’ve been hearing stories about this campus ever since we met!

Q: Where did you attend college, and what did you major in? Where were you working before Wesleyan (if you want to say

A: I studied composition at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, a very traditional European-style conservatory in Cambridge, Mass. that was established by members of the Boston Symphony and modeled after the Paris Conservatoire. Before coming to Wesleyan, I managed the events and operations departments at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student union.

Q: When a Wesleyan faculty, staff member or student needs a space, what do you ask him/her? What types of spaces are available? Which ones are in the most demand?

A: Wesleyan faculty and staff are wonderful in that they typically have a very clear view of their needs and often already have a space in mind when submitting a request; we reserve everything from small conference and meeting rooms to large venues like Beckham Hall and Memorial Chapel. My role is to determine whether the proposed venue is safe and appropriate for the activity taking place and number of attendees, and to coordinate with campus partners in departments such as Physical Plant, Instructional Media Services (IMS), Public Safety, and Bon Appetit catering to ensure that all needs are met. Students needing space should work directly with the office of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD).

Q: How many room reservations is your team responsible for annually?

A: Directly, my team is responsible for processing over 23,000 bookings annually, but we also administer the campus’ EMS scheduling system which is used by other departments such as the Registrar, Center for the Arts, and SALD. The total number of annual bookings in EMS is closer to 80,000.

Q: What is the best way to schedule a space?

A: Faculty and staff should request space through Room Request in their electronic portfolio, and I’m always available for additional help or training). External clients requesting space should contact our office via phone (860-685-2280) or e-mail (events-sched@wesleyan.edu). More information is available on our website.

Q: Is there a cost to rent a space? For Wesleyan staff/fac? Vendors?

A: Our office does not charge rental fees for Wesleyan departments, although additional charges are often incurred for things like setup, custodial services, and a/v support. We do charge rental fees to all external clients, and those fees vary based on the type of space being used. We also offer Wesleyan affiliate rates for faculty and staff who book space on campus for non-university events – we love it when members of the Wes community choose to hold weddings and celebrations here.

Q: You’re also the primary contact for summer conference programs. What’s involved?

A: Groups hosting conferences over the summer generally need not just meeting and event space, but also housing, food, a/v support, and other services. My office aims to be a “one stop shop” for these groups, with all services and logistics, as well as contracts, coordinated through me. I work to be as thorough as possible during the contract negotiation phase to anticipate any and all needs, while also taking a holistic view in evaluating these groups’ impact on campus throughout the summer.

Q: What is a typical day like for you? Are you on the phone, email, in meetings? Do you have a busy season?

A: Every day is different, but generally it’s a healthy mix of email, meetings and answering questions over the phone. I also meet frequently with clients to tour various space on campus. Our office is responsible for an extremely high volume of events, especially relative to the size of our campus, so I’m never bored!

Q: What do you like best about working for University Events and Scheduling, or Wesleyan in general?

A: I love the wide variety of events that we’re involved with and the opportunity to interact with a tremendously diverse array of individuals on any given day. More generally, it’s wonderful to be part of a campus community where students, faculty, and staff are all rigorously engaged, creative and open-minded.

Q: Where are you from, and what town do you live in? What are your hobbies and interests?

A: I grew up in southeastern Massachusetts and left as soon as I could, but it’s nice to be back in New England after many years away. I live in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven and enjoy making wheel-thrown pottery, cooking, and enjoying my far-too-large collection of vinyl LPs, 45s, and 78s from around the world.