“A Friendly E-mail to My Successor,” by Alex Colvin

Feb 1st, 2017 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Hi there,

This is Fredrick Small, and I heard that you’ll be taking over my position as the Event Coordinator at Shaffe University of Merrittville! Congratulations! I’m off to bigger and better things (well, a smaller and fiscally mismanaged University in Nebraska! But I like to think of it as bigger and better!) and I wanted to pass on a few tips I learned on the job:

  1. No matter how bad an event is, always immediately declare it a total and unparalleled success. This is surprisingly easy to get away with, as a) none of the frosh students were there last year to know how much better all the events were managed and b) frosh week events are so inherently forgettable that upper-year students will struggle to contest your claims anyway. Enjoy your success!
  1. Always time your events to happen immediately after Student Activities Council meetings. Since the council only meets every two weeks, a huge mistake or disastrous event run very early in the council’s hiatus can easily be swept under the rug before the next meeting comes around. Your coworkers may supremely fuck up after you do, and you can stretch to make that your primary focus for the next meeting.
  1. Any and all shortcomings of your program can be blamed on budget cuts. For a bloated and unaudited budget can make up for a profound lack of creativity, and in an era of budget cuts, event coordinators with accounting degrees are being forced to make creative decisions. These decisions almost always end up going badly. So avoid being creative at all costs: just do expensive things for free. For example, our famous and acclaimed “popcorn and movie night” events can be downgraded to projecting an illegally downloaded movie onto a bed-sheet on a projector borrowed from a public library. Also, be sure to tell students to bring their own popcorn. Still, the effect is essentially the same, but free! Oh, make sure you download the movie at a McDonalds or something. The university is trying to cut back on bandwidth usage.
  1. However much your superiors may stress that completing paperwork is essential, it isn’t. Everything gets reset in September, so don’t stress!
  1. Budgeting events should roughly correspond to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, with things like food, water, and shelter being the first items to be factored into the budget; things like glow-snap bracelets and tie-dye socks can come second, or even third. You may think this is an obvious piece of advice, but the year I started in this position I elected not to provide food to students on the first day of frosh week in order to afford extra face paint and bouncy castles for the new students. Everything went swimmingly at first, but they got hungry from all the jumping around on bouncy castles, and then they found out there was no food available within ten miles of campus. Oh, and it might have been Labor Day Monday, so all the stores and shops were closed too. So my inaugural welcome speech was delivered to a sea of mutinous faces who rioted and demolished their residence, screaming for food, and arguing they paid thousands and thousands of dollars to be sheltered and fed. So always make sure you feed the entitled little shits.
  1. If you don’t want to promote a boring and worthless event, pass the buck to your underlings and make them do it. And when they mirror your unenthusiastic stance, ream them out for not doing their jobs properly, rinse and repeat.
  1. Remember there can always be a HUGE difference in how big you say an event is going to be, and how it actually turns out. If you promote a “free concert with one of Canada’s top bands,” don’t back down when it turns out all you could hire was a 00’s nu-metal band that’s running the college circuit in a constant state of self-loathing out of financial obligation. And if they didn’t have mortgages and desperate need of capital, we’d have had to book a Vanilla Ice tribute band or something, so students can always count their blessings.

So good luck, and have fun! It’s a fantastic job, and after the first month all the student groups get so fed up with the University that they take over and do your job for you! It’s written into their group funding agreements that all events have to be approved with the University, so they’re all technically university events! So ride the wave!

Fredrick Small

P.S. I couldn’t figure out how to wipe the hard drive for my office computer, so just keep using it but don’t go sniffing around in my “finances” folder, alright? A close inspection might cause a minor problem here or there. Thanks!


Alex Colvin is an aspiring Canadian humourist who currently lives and works in St. John’s Newfoundland.

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