University of Central Missouri: UCM Students Team Up With Powell Gardens for Experience Delirium March 24

At the same time Powell Gardens hosts the Orchid Delirium this month, a special evening tailored to young adults will come to fruition thanks to the efforts of a group of University of Central Missouri students in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. Tickets are available online for the Experience Delirium event that takes place from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, March 24, at the Powell Gardens Visitors Center.

Open to individuals age 21 and over, this pop-up, one-night-only, rave-type activity is created around a jungle theme and will include brief access to the Orchid Delirium, along with a cash bar, cocktails, music provided by a DJ, and a dance floor. This fun evening at a popular location within easy driving distance of Kansas City also offers a food truck and plenty of photo opportunities.

The planning and execution of Experience Delirium is being coordinated in cooperation with Powell Gardens by UCM students who are enrolled in the 2022 spring semester Advanced Events Management course taught by Keira Solon, assistant professor in UCM’s School of Business Strategy. Solon plays a vital role in the education of students within the Events Marketing and Management (EMM) major, and also teaches the fall semester course, Introduction to Events Management, as a way to provide students with a real-life experience in their selected field of study. Five students who were part of the fall course laid the initial groundwork for this special evening in western Johnson County, Missouri. All of them are enrolled in Solon’s spring class along with three other students who each have key roles in this program.

Solon’s fall class met with members of Powell Gardens’ Board of Directors and administrative staff in November 2021 to pitch their proposal for this special event, which they believe appeals to college-age patrons.

“Ultimately, this is a fundraiser,” Kaylee Tieman, a senior events marketing and management major, noted after the fall meeting. “We are trying to raise funds for Powell Gardens because they are a non-profit, but even bigger than that, we want to introduce our age demographic – 21 and up – to Powell Gardens.”

“A lot of us – our age – have never been to Powell Gardens,” Tieman added. “We pass it on the highway but we never stop in and check it out. But it’s such a great place. We want to introduce our peers to this place.”

Solon said her students in the spring Advanced Events Management course picked up where the fall class left off. With approval by Powell Gardens’ leadership, the team began to coordinate logistics and specific details for the event this semester. Their work marks the first time in the four years in which Solon has taught the course that students have engaged with a client outside of Warrensburg.

She noted that the group worked with UCM alumna Halie Meiser,’17, during the fall semester while she was serving as events specialist in the development office at Powell Gardens. This spring, students are working directly with Molly Maddox, who handles fundraising. This has given students exposure to different types of communication needs required by their clients, Solon said.

“They have been very gracious as far as giving us the support that we needed,” she said in talking about Powell Gardens and its leadership. “There was some navigation and some learning that we all had to do.”

Seven of the students who are participating in this event are seeking degrees in Events Marketing and Management (EMM). They include students who also participated in the fall course, Shelby Langhorst, who had the original idea for this program and serves as on-site coordinator; Whitney Smith, client liaison; Jake Meeker, budget; Kaylee Tieman, overall coordinator of responsibilities; and Jessica Litschgi, oversees supplies and ordering. Other participants in the spring semester class are Noah Sweeney, fundraising, and Rashyia Shakur, volunteer coordinator, both of whom are seeking bachelor’s degrees in EMM. Also participating is Rachel Schultz, a senior Public Relations major who is handling marketing and communication.

Solon said the program is also benefiting from the generosity of UCM students, including Chris Butler, who has volunteered his services as DJ. Members of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority also are donating their time to assist with the physical set up for Experience Delirium, and several members of the UCM football team are offering their services as event bouncers and security.

Butler, EMM student and the co-founder of High Society Entertainment & Promotions, said he wanted to get involved as a way to show his appreciation for Solon, whom he said “genuinely cares about her students.” As he noted, “Professor Solon has my utmost respect, and volunteering for this event is a way to tell her, ‘Thank you for all that you do.’”

All students who are part of this effort will be able to add events planning to their resumes, and will be better prepared for their professional careers.

“This has shown me and my colleagues what it takes to efficiently plan and execute a successful event,” said Schultz, who also expects to gain additional experience using her communication skills. “It has been a semester full of valuable experience both inside and outside the classroom. We are extremely excited to see the fruit of our labor come to life on March 24th.”

Comments are closed.