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Regional Node Event Planning

Event Planning Questions

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Trainees discussing while working through activity on computers

See the following for forms and additional resources for planning Regional Node Meetings (RNM) and Regional Node (New Member) Trainings (RNT/NMT). For additional information see the Regional Node Events section of the GEP Handbook.

Regional Node Meetings

  • A Regional Node Meeting is defined as any GEP activity that involves at least two institutions in the Regional Node that includes at least one of the following: 
    • Student presentations (poster or oral)
    • Professional development activity 
    • Speaker gives a seminar on a research- or pedagogy-related topic
    • Training in curriculum or science projects of current GEP faculty
    • When Recruiting: ‘taster’ demos for prospective members (currently unavailable)

Regional Node Trainings*

*While Regional Node Training forms are available, these events are currently not financially supported.

Quick Start

Before the Proposal:
  • Discuss what your Node wants to organize (RNM, RNT, informal)
  • Encourage at least TWO Node members as co-organizers
  • Use ‘Resources’ on the GEP website to help you get started
  • Discuss event timing (make sure several node members can commit, ideally >3 months pre-proposal submission)
  • RNTs: check how your plan adheres to standard training
  • Note proposal deadline (1/6/23)

For the Proposal:
  • Fill out Google Doc of RNM/RNT proposal to prepare responses ahead of time
  • If budget needed, make an estimate using the budget spreadsheet
  • Note detailed schedule/logistics not needed at time of proposal
  • Ask Regional Node Directors if you have any questions
  • 1-2 weeks post-submission, look for email to organizers on approval, needs revision, or not approved
Prepping for the Administrative Planning Session:
  • Fill out calendar poll (sent by Sarah) for when to meet
  • Develop responses for any remaining questions from approval email
  • Look over agenda, particularly the registration form, to facilitate customization to your needs
  • Research hotel/catering ideas with Sarah Crocker-Buta so she can help make arrangements

Administrative Planning Session:
  • Finalize registration form
  • Share plan for registration form deadlines for attendees (should allow enough time for making accommodations as needed)
  • Share planned speakers/trainers, if applicable
  • Share information regarding what you want to be shared on the website or in flyer
  • Resolve questions you might have
  • Work on remaining event prep with your fellow Node organizers
  • Use final registration list from Sarah Crocker-Buta to check in all attendees
  • Disseminate the Post-Event Survey to all attendees during the event
  • Have one organizer fill out the Post-Event Report

How to Hold a Regional Node Event

Events occurring August 15 – February 15 (Fall/Winter), submit proposal by July 12, 2023

Events occurring February 15 – August 15 (Spring/Summer), submit proposal by January 10, 2024 

Conduct Planning Meetings Within Your Node

Document Your Event Planning
The Trello Card at the top of your Regional Node’s Trello List has a link to an Event Planning Google Doc you should use to help plan your event and the unique Event Proposal link to submit and edit your event proposal

Basic Event Details

All Regional Nodes must submit a proposal to the GEP for Regional Node Meetings or Regional Node Trainings. When you are planning, consider the following logistical questions. These are questions that are asked on the proposal form.

Event Type: Regional Node Meeting to build and sustain an inclusive, local community of practice or Regional Node Training to train new GEP faculty.

Organizers: Who is organizing the event for your node? If the meeting is being organized by multiple individuals or a committee within your Node, who will be the point person for communication with the GEP Staff?

Event Date(s): Consider the following when picking a date(s): Is this a holiday? Is there another event in or around the event location that will occupy all of the lodging options and/or make logistics much more expensive and difficult (e.g., Family Weekend, Homecoming, major sporting event, graduation, campuswide Greek Life event)?

Event Location: Does the location have appropriate meeting space and equipment (e.g., computers, projector, charging outlets for laptops); consider whether attendees can eat in the meeting room (If not, how far away will attendees need to go to eat? If it isn’t within a short walking distance, how will attendees get there?); consider whether there are adequate lodging and transportation options nearby; what COVID safety protocols are required by the venue and your Node?

Activities: Types of activities planned, for example:

  • Invited Science or Diversity Speaker
  • Non-GEP Bioinformatics Training
  • Student and/or Faculty talks
  • Hands-on Training
  • Implementation Talks
  • Unstructured hangout time

Number of Anticipated (Goal) Attendees:

  • Numbers of current, new, and/or prospective members, students, and GEP Staff
  • How will the event be publicized?
  • What budget will you be requesting? (See next page for details on the budget request form). Will the meeting organizer(s) be requesting any local funds?
    • Note: Virtual events will likely not require a budget request form.

Grant Aims: How does your event contribute to the Grant Aims? Community Building? CCs & MSI involvement?

Specific to Regional Node Trainings

  • Mentors for Trainees:
    • Consider which current Node members are willing to mentor new recruits.
    • Do you have enough members to mentor the new members? If not, consider this in your planning and discuss alternative mentor options at the administrative meeting.
  • Trainers
    • At least one experienced trainer should assist in the training.
    • Also consider which Node members are willing to serve as a TA for in-person training.
    • If you are planning a virtual training, and do not have an experienced trainer in your Node, then consider observing a central two-week online training or watching the recordings of a training available on the GEP training website.
    • Training logistics should be discussed at the administrative meeting (see Administrative Meeting portion of this workflow for details).

Complete Proposal Form

  • Proposal forms are completed via a Qualtrics link that can be found at the top of each Regional Node’s Trello List.
  • The proposal requires organizers to answer all of the logistical questions listed above in the planning phase.
  • Part 1 of the Google planning document contains all the questions asked in the proposal form.


Complete Budget Form – Typically Only for In-person Events*

*It is anticipated that only in-person events will necessitate a budget request. However, if a virtual event requires a budget allowance please complete the budget form.

Budget forms are completed via a Google Sheet. The numbers inserted in the initial budget are only predictions and subject to change after plans are finalized.

Budget Allowances: Meeting organizers should attempt to adhere to the following total budgets when planning their events:

  • Regional Node Meeting: $4,000
  • Regional Node Training: $11,000
  • Speaker and Trainer Budgets are not included in these budget totals and are paid via a separate line item

Budget Form Requirements:

  • Activity Name & Date(s)
  • Expected Hotel Rate/person (if applicable)
  • # of Attendees
  • # of Attendees requiring overnight stay
  • # of Attendees using ground transportation
  • # of Attendees using air transportation
  • # GEP staff to assist in training
  • # of Guest Speakers
  • # of trainers and speaker requiring airfare
  • # of days/nights

This meeting will serve to answer any logistical questions on behalf of the meeting organizers. Topics to be discussed can include sharing information with GEP staff and leadership regarding lodging, food, and travel arrangements, event schedule, and training arrangements (in the case of a Regional Node Training). SCHEDULE THIS MEETING WELL IN ADVANCE OF YOUR EVENT! As soon as you receive an approval notice by the RN Directors.

  • Stakeholders Needed at Meeting:
    • GEP Staff: Sarah Crocker-Buta (and Katie Sandlin when available)
    • Meeting organizer(s) and all other Node members involved in planning the meeting
    • Regional Node Directors
    • For Regional Node Trainings – Catherine Reinke should attend the meeting


  • Meeting attendees should NOT be submitting individual receipts for reimbursement. This means that meeting organizers should make arrangements for group catering or arrange a group rate (per person cost) at a local restaurant for meals. Each meal should therefore only need one receipt. KEEP BUDGET IN MIND.
  • When possible, meeting organizers should forward vendor information to the GEP Program Assistant so that she can directly communicate with the vendor to coordinate payment. KEEP ADMINISTRATIVE LOAD IN MIND.


  • For meetings requiring an overnight stay, meeting organizers should send their top 2-3 hotel choices to the GEP Program Assistant, who will then negotiate the best room rates on behalf of the meeting organizers.
  • Meeting attendees will be booked as double occupancy. However, the registration form gives attendees the option to have a single room booked if the attendee is willing to pay the difference in rate between a single room and double room
Develop a Recruitment Strategy: If you are inviting non-GEP members to your event, develop an event specific recruitment strategy. This recruitment can include, but is not limited to, the electronic distribution of flyers, emails to local stakeholders, and/or emails to Deans, Chairs, or Faculty of local Community Colleges and Minority Serving Institutions. If Nodes want to create an event specific recruitment flyer, the meeting point person should contact Katie Sandlin to help with creating the flyer. Send Meeting Schedule & Registration Link to ALL Invited Attendees
  • Access to Registration Form:
    • Registration for meeting attendees is completed via Qualtrics Form
    • The GEP Program Assistant will work with the event organizers to finalize the registration form and then add the link to the Regional Node Trello card for that event.
    • Katie can create a webpage for the event if needed.
  • Registration forms should be sent to all invited attendees (faculty & students), meeting organizers, invited speaker, and trainer(s).
    • The registration form serves to:
      • Register Attendees
      • Collect the necessary demographic data for the grants
      • Collects travel information for any attendee that requires transportation arrangements

Make Travel Arrangements for Meeting Attendees – Including Invited Speakers & Trainer(s)

Airfare and lodging is taken care of directly by the GEP Program Assistant (Sarah Crocker-Buta), NOT the meeting organizers. This information is collected in the registration form such that the necessary information is forwarded directly to the GEP Program Assistant.

Air Transportation: Generally, airfare is only required for invited science or diversity speakers (RNM and RNT) and trainers (RNT). If an invited speaker or trainer needs reimbursed, this information is collected on the registration form. Travel arrangements will be made and paid for by the GEP Program Assistant.

Ground Transportation to/from the Meeting: As these are regional meetings, most attendees will be using ground transportation to get to the meeting, mileage on personal vehicles can be reimbursed by the GEP with proper documentation. Ground transportation costs exceeding $75 can be submitted for reimbursement (e.g., the cost of a rental car). Ground transportation costs should not exceed $1,000 per event.

Ground Transportation During the Meeting: Ground transportation during the meeting (e.g., vans and shuttles from the hotel to the meeting location) should be arranged by the GEP Program Assistant. Meeting organizers will recommend vendors.

Lodging/Hotel Accommodations: The registration form collects information from attendees. The information collected is utilized by the GEP Program Assistant to make reservations. Event organizers will recommend locations to the GEP Program Assistant.

Payments: The GEP Program Assistant should arrange payments directly with vendors. Any receipts from local meal and ground transportation vendors should be sent to the GEP Program Assistant for payment processing. These receipts must be itemized or the University of Alabama won’t approve GEP to reimburse them.

Complete Post-Event Evaluation Survey During the Event: Work with Sarah Crocker-Buta to complete a finalized list of all attendees including their email, institution, and position (e.g., faculty, undergraduate). Sarah will distribute the Post-Event Evaluation survey (aggregated results will be sent to the meeting organizers once the survey closes).

Complete Post-Event Reporting Survey: The form is completed via Qualtrics after your event. A Google Doc of the questions is available for your reference. Note: This is not the same Qualtrics link you use to originally submit your event proposal.