The Sticky Note Story

I am a visual person so when I began working on the inaugural Imagine RIT Festival I was thrilled to see that the School of Print Media had created a large campus map for the planning committee. In my first committee meeting (two months prior to the event day) there were discussions on parking, shuttles, information stations, food and a host of other topics.

To keep everything straight in my head, when I got back to my office I started to take different colored sticky notes, label them and place them on this large map. Each time I placed a note on the map, the image of what the festival would look like on May 3, 2008 became more and more clear. Not only that, with a 1,300 acre campus it is easy to have different mental pictures of space so when others looked at the map it made sure we all were really taking about the same locations for things.

Imagine RIT Planning Map

Imagine RIT Planning Map

Interested in more of the story behind the sticky notes? Check out the series of map photos on the Imagine RIT Flickr page and read on:

With the assistance of Reese in the Parking Office I started by labeling each parking lot and noting how many spaces each lot contains. Next I tried to determine the best locations for information booths. Kerry from Orientation was helpful with this task. It turns out RIT owns five nice kiosks, but the rest would have to be tables and chairs with information signs. Ryan Giglia, the chair of the Logistics Committee, and I identified stage locations for outdoor entertainment and also blocked off space in the event we had to move the stages inside due to rain.

RIT’s Food Service Department determined that they would have all of their locations open extended hours for the day (with the exception of the SAU Cafeteria because it was the rain location for one of the outdoor stages). We then had to determine the best locations for Food Tents. After a walk around campus with Gary Gasper from Food Service, we landed on three spots. Then I marked all the food locations on the map. By this time we were nearing the deadline for our print program so I begin placing some outdoor exhibits on the map using pink sticky notes to get an idea of flow from one area of campus to the next. With over 230 buildings on campus and only 25 of them scheduled to have exhibits in – this was no easy task!

I can’t forget the “People Movers” – our fancy word for the golf carts used to shuttle people around campus. It wasn’t until a few weeks before the event that we landed on our final plan. We decided that carts would run along a defined path around the perimeter of the main buildings. Close enough to the buildings, but not down the center of the quarter mile where we our volunteers could run over our guests. We identified twelve locations where the carts would stop and pick up festival goers and I marked those on the map as well.

Parking, parking, parking. I got more questions about parking than anything else when preparing for the inaugural event. Off site parking was secured at Monroe Community College and Rick from Parking & Transportation rented buses to get visitors to and from RIT. A group of us met one rainy April morning in D-lot to determine where the busses would drop visitors off, where the Welcome Center tent would be located and just how big this tent would need to be. We were able to develop a plan that only took a few parking spaces offline, allowed for emergency access and still have enough space for a 100 x 40 foot tent. One of the most significant takeaways from the first event was that we needed multiple Welcome Centers.

When planning for the second annual event we started from scratch. We took the sticky notes off the map, read all the visitor surveys, got feedback from the committee members and with all the ideas generated we started to post the sticky notes on the map  again.

We probably won’t start from scratch with the sticky notes this year, but we are always thinking of ways we can improve the visitor experience so feel free to share your ideas!


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