For the past twelve years, the Department of Conference Services has been moving between the Departments of Housing and Residence Life and Event Services. But now, the little-known department has a permanent home at Event Services, which began rebranding in this past July to become Conference and Event Services.
In the past, there has been some confusion about the services the department offers – mainly because of the ambiguous word “conference.” Cimmeron O’Connor, director of Conference Services, said the department defines a conference as “a multi-day, multi-service, multi-venue event.”
The department is already working with academic departments and faculty to host new types of events, including youth camps and research opportunities. O’Connor especially wants to help faculty and departments on campus organize larger events and make the process of organizing events less intimidating.
“I think something that has prohibited people from hosting a conference in the past has been how complicated it is or that they think it’s too expensive, so we’re really trying to dispel that,” O’Connor said. “An individual or department can work with us and we’ll take care of coordinating everything else so they can focus on the curriculum of their program, and we can focus on the logistics.”
The department can also assist with everything from housing for guests coming to campus to integrating the Athens community into the conferences. O’Connor also wants departments to become more familiar with some of the large spaces on campus, including new athletics and academic facilities that can be used for conferences, and how these spaces can be used to make the most out of any event.
“Being creative with spaces on campus is something we’re the experts in, so we can make the campus shine for whatever event they’re interested in hosting,” O’Connor said.
One of the biggest new initiatives Conference Services will be launching this summer is intern housing with no application fees or long-term leases. This program will help anyone completing an internship or research program in Athens who needs convenient and affordable housing options, so interns can focus on their work rather than worrying about securing housing.
While this is the first official year of the program, O’Connor says this is not the first time University and local programs have requested University resources for their interns. Previously, Conference Services offered housing for several local programs, including the Wayne National Forest, that needed summer housing for interns and post-doctorate researchers. Now, the process is becoming formalized with a more streamlined application and lower rates.
Housing will be available from May 15 – August 15 each summer for anyone over 18 years old with an internship in Athens County, and interns only have to stay for a minimum of a week to be eligible for housing. The program is not limited to OHIO students and is open to any students working in the community rather than the University itself.
Stays of three weeks or less will cost $260 per week, and stays longer than a month will cost $800 per month. The short-term living arrangement does not have any application fees or utility bills. Also included in OHIO housing is furniture, Wi-Fi, linens, laundry facilities and maintenance services. Parking permits and bus service are both available for those that require transportation, and for interns working at the University, a centralized location on campus makes their commute easily walkable. Interns will also get a glimpse into the Athens community, with easy access to local shops, restaurants and scenic hiking trials and bike paths during the beautiful summer months.
Sponsoring companies or interns will be responsible for completing the application and will have to agree to University terms and regulations. An application must be submitted by each intern staying at OHIO, regardless of whether or not multiple interns from the same company will be combined onto one contract after the application process.