For senior Political Science major, Aubrey Lechuga, a certificate in Special Event Planning is just what she needs to get a jump start in her quest to have a career in that same field.
Lechuga is just one of many students across Fresno State that take advantage of certification courses offered on campus. In addition to offering degrees at the undergraduate level, the Department of Recreation Administration also has four certificate programs that allow students from other majors the opportunity to learn useful career skills to complement their own chosen field.
Lechuga is currently working towards her certificate in Special Event Planning.
“I love event planning and heard of the program to get my certification, so in my last semester here at Fresno State, I decided to get it,” said Lechuga.
Through the RA 117 course, students are able to learn special techniques and requirements for planning large community events, such as street fairs, festivals, corporate events, and fundraisers. Special emphasis is placed on community laws and regulations, advertising and funding. This course offering is just one of the 12 required units students must receive to obtain their certificate.
Lechuga got her first taste for planning a large event with the Make-A-Wish Central California Restaurant Takeover, held on March 24th. Through her internship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lechuga was able to plan the annual fundraising event for the organization from start to finish. Months of planning culminated with the successful event that took place at the trendy Elbow Room in Fig Garden Village. For $50, patrons were treated to a four-course meal, live music, photo booth fun and a silent auction.
Lechuga used the skills she learned in RA 117 and applied it to her event planning efforts, which included a heavy dose of fundraising and public relations. To raise funds, she reached out to local businesses for silent auction items and came up with 21 great items. Lechuga found the road to getting the event in the public eye took a bit more effort.
“We created a simple flyer to post on social media,” said Lechuga. “That flyer and the information on the event was also featured in the Make-A-Wish e-newsletter for two months. When we didn’t really get the feedback we wanted, I started reaching out to the local television and radio stations for a last minute press release. ABC30 featured our event, along with two others in their show on the day of the event.”
Lechuga also did an interview with radio station, Q97, on the Greg and Dre morning show. All of her public relations work, fundraising and event planning paid off. Over $1,000 was raised from that event will all proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish Central California!
“This event taught me a lot,” said Lechuga. “I like the fundraising aspects of events, but it taught me there is a lot to it. There’s getting the items donated for auctions, marketing the event, keeping track of finances, keeping up with emails, and feeling comfortable talking to people I had never met before.”
“It really gave me a reality check of how an event could be in real life. But I loved it! It’s exactly what I want to do after I graduate.”
Lechuga, set to graduate in May, has no doubt that her certificate in Special Event Planning will certainly prepare her in achieving her future career goals.
For more information on the certifications offered through the Department of Recreation Administration, click here.