What a year it has been

Yale Conferences & Events Newsletter | December 2020 

What a Year it Has Been

Looking back 12 months ago, we were entering the holiday season full of hope and excitement for 2020. Although 2020 unfolded in a much different way and disrupted our way of life, our spirits have been lifted by the stories of bravery, innovation, and leadership that have come out of this pandemic.

Let us enjoy this holiday season and new year with a renewed sense of gratitude. May we continue to be kind to one another, as we are in this together.

From the entire team at Yale Conferences & Events, we send you our warmest wishes for a healthy and safe holiday season, and happy new year to everyone!
Executive Director

Linda K. Lorimer Award for Distinguished Service

Yale Conferences & Events was honored to have six of our amazing team members recognized with a 2020 Lorimer Award for Distinguished Service: Shannon LeGault, Nathan Lubich, Suzanne Shaw, Kate Vieillard, David Wright, and Jennifer Zuccaro. Donald Filer, our Associate Vice President for Global Strategy, was also recognized with this honor, along with our colleagues at Facilities, Risk Management, Housing & Fleet Management, Yale College, and Student Administrative Services. This award recognized our collaborative efforts to provide on-campus respite housing to frontline workers during the pandemic and manage logistics of moving students’ possessions to and from campus. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Fall Semester 2020: On-Campus Housing in the Time of COVID-19

Move-In, August 2020

Helping students move-in to their on-campus housing is no small task. Doing so during a pandemic is unprecedented! But that is exactly what Yale was faced with this past August as we prepared to welcome a portion of the student body back to campus for the fall semester. Yale Conferences & Events, along with many campus partners, worked around the clock to safely settle over 1,700 students into their on-campus housing. A few of the initiatives completed by our team:

  • Developed a brand-new online student portal to centralize the Yale College housing system, including an intricate workflow that allowed students to efficiently and safely move-in
  • Established and managed temporary overnight housing for students who were unable to move-in within the allotted times
  • Worked with Yale Health to establish isolation housing to provide comfortable and safe housing for students who tested positive during the semester
  • Oversaw the entire customer service operation to assist students and their families with questions and concerns, including case management for student claims for lost or damaged items (stemming from the Summer 2020 move-out)
  • Managed the moving company and trained teams of staff volunteers assisting with the move-in

Move-Out, November 2020

After a successful and safe fall semester, made possible through the concerted efforts of all the students, staff, faculty, and the New Haven community, it was once again time to bid our students farewell as the fall semester came to an end. Having learned a few lessons from the previous move-out and move-in, YC&E and many campus partners worked tirelessly to ensure a safe and smooth move-out experience for our students last month. We put the student portal to good use again by creating a housing check-out process tailored to the need for students to self-checkout without an in-room inspection process. YC&E also established an improved workflow with Yale College and the moving company to ensure proper packing and labeling of all student items being left behind for storage. This included complete sweeps of all residential colleges to inspect rooms for potential issues with belongings. Our team will also continue to serve as the customer service hub for students and their families.
Quoting our Assistant Director of Operations Nathan Lubich: “Faced with a need to collaborate more than ever, and almost entirely over phone or via Zoom, YC&E collaborated with a group of departments too long to list, all with a singular goal: to create and maintain a safe and welcoming campus for our students, faculty, and staff. Long after the pandemic is over, this unity toward a common purpose will remain.”

Keeping People Connected and Moving Yale Initiatives Forward

Meetings and events are crucial to the many initiatives led by our talented university faculty and staff.  Yale Conferences & Events has had the pleasure of providing virtual event support to various departments across the university to ensure an engaging and smooth virtual event, including:
  • African Women as Pillars of Resilience series, offered jointly by Yale University and La Fundación Mujeres por África African Women (7 webinars between June and November)
  • Global Health Conversation Series, offered by the Yale Institute for Global Health, featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci as their first guest speaker (3 webinars between October and December)
  • Multicultural Open House, offered by the Yale College Undergraduate Admissions office (transformed a 1-day on-campus event into 2 weeks of live online events between September and October)
  • Planetary Solutions online symposium, a campus-wide initiative (3-day event in December)
  • Just for fun: YC&E also hosted our Yale Global Division Holiday Party (120 guests in attendance, included a mixology workshop with special gift, trivia segment, and holiday décor contest)

Knowledge Sharing: Now More Important Than Ever

The meetings and events industry, like so many others, has been hit hard by the on-going pandemic. Faced with unprecedented challenges, planners and vendors had to find innovative new ways to bring people together, safely. Yale Conferences & Events has been busy not only supporting the university’s extraordinary response to COVID-19, but also mastering the art of planning and executing virtual events so that we can continue to provide our clients with stellar service. We feel a professional and personal obligation to share our newfound knowledge with our peers and colleagues in the hopes that it will help them work through some of the challenges currently at hand. 
Recently, YC&E Program Managers Maddison Capobianco and Megan Palluzzi had the opportunity to present during the ACCED-I Event Management Educational Forum, which brings together collegiate conference and events professionals for a full day of engaging educational modules. Maddison and Megan’s presentation was centered around “Engaging a Virtual Community” and touched on general advice on using Zoom’s platform and offered tips on different “out of the box” engagement ideas to keep your audience interested. Watch the full presentation here.
Our Executive Director Suzanne Shaw also had the honored of presenting during the StarRez Digital Conference Connect conference, which brings together users of the StarRez student resident and property management platform to share ideas and network.  Yale University was the featured customer at this year’s conference and Suzanne presented on how Yale Conferences & Events has evolved over the years, thanks in part to the StarRez technology, and what we have learned and implemented since the start of the pandemic. Watch the full presentation here.

Stay in Touch

We would love to hear how you are doing and what you thought about our last newsletter of 2020. What would you like to see in our newsletters in the new year? Send us a message.
For the most up-to-date information, be sure to follow our social media accounts. We will be sharing important University updates, helpful information on hosting virtual meetings, and the latest on Connecticut’s COVID-19 response.
Look for our next newsletter in your inbox in February. Until then, stay healthy and safe!