Hands Around Biola : Event Services

A glimpse into the lives of those working in event services.


Junior business major Josh Morris has been working with event services since his freshman year. “Most of the time I feel like I’m not seen, that I’m just another facilities worker. I don’t mind that part of it, it’s kind of nice to be under the radar a little bit,” Morris said. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES

Jenna Schmidt, Writer

Junior business major Josh Morris has been working with even services since his freshman year. "Most of the time I feel like I'm not seen, that I'm just another facilities worker. I don't mind that part of it, it's kind of nice to be under the radar a little bit," Morris said. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES. To see the full photo gallery click here.


A university consists of much more than buildings, classes and degrees. People imbue a college with creativity, work ethic, intelligence, relationships and diversity. In this series, Hands Around Biola, we strive to recognize and rejoice in these aspects. Individuals build up our community at Biola University, making our campus and our classes possible.

Students, parents and faculty attend countless events each year, from orientation and convocation to commencement and graduation. Mock Rock, Punk’n Pie and Missions Conference exemplify only a few of the enormous school-wide events that gather the student population every year.


Behind these events, a team comprised of student workers and non-student employees provide the space and availability for the events to take place. Event Services makes the events that fill our school year possible.

“This is my third year,” said junior business major Josh Morris. “My brother who just graduated worked here when he was a student, so he was able to hook me up with Joe, who hired me on right when I started here, my freshman year.”

Event Services manager Joe Grossman and event coordinator Cody Cain manage a team of 36 student workers to provide the space, time and setups for all campus events.

“We’re never really not busy…We’re not a normal job, we’re not a four-hour shift on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We’re whenever events happen, so you can’t really schedule that,” Cain said.


Although not all events require physical setups, the constant activity on Biola’s campus keeps Event Services extremely busy during the school year. Grossman, in his 26th year working at Biola, said this year he has the dream team.

“We checked the system, and I think in a year’s time we did 3,308 event setups with that many employees, which I think is an incredible task,” said Grossman. “And that’s just the things we had a physical setup for. That’s not including the other how many thousands of other setups. We start from the beginning and close it at the end.”

The number of events throughout the year keeps the employees active. In the midst of the differing work hours and changing setups, many find the work enjoyable and recount days they found their work particularly amusing, especially Mock Rock.

“Actually, the long shifts are pretty fun. That shift was funny, because we finished when Joe was coming in, in the morning,” said junior business major Jonathan Aguilar. “They seem bad, but they’re actually pretty fun.”

Staying up all night to finish a setup seems like it would coincide with an employee’s academic life. The work hours’ length and offset times make them a much different matter to schedule than a normal work week.

“The hardest part is probably just the super long hours,” said Morris. “But it’s manageable, you won’t work that many back-to-backs, other than Torrey, orientation and commencement.”

For some students, the ebb and flow of the academic year coincides neatly with their work schedule.

Event services manager Joe Grossman coordinates all campus events from start to finish. Grossman has been working at Biola for a total of 26 years. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES. To see the full photo gallery click here.



“Thankfully, my schedule lines up. In between my class times, it’s pretty easy to squeeze things in, or in the morning or at night,” said Aguilar. “When we have those larger events, for some reason schoolwork just kind of followed, and it wasn’t as busy. If it’s right after midterms or something like that, I know I won’t be swamped.”

However, Event Services manages to stagger the students’ workload throughout the semester with setup invites, which allow the employees to choose their availability for a certain event.

“We had about 40 student workers last semester, and the reason you have to have that many is because events happen at random times and not every student is available. Their schedules are different,” said Cain.

Student employees also arrive on campus before most other students for the semester. With huge events like orientation slated for dozens of setups all across the campus, they move in early to make all of those events possible.

“It’s pretty fun, because some of us get here early before school starts. We get to move in a week early to set up,” said Morris. “It’s fun being a part of the big setup and getting things ready for all the new students to come in.”


Setups do not always go as cleanly as planned. When mixups, misunderstandings and messes occur, the Event Services employees step up to the task.

“Obviously, when you get into those bigger events, when there’s something that just won’t go, for some reason everything goes wrong, you have to do something,” said Aguilar. “There are those times when you just need to think on your feet and kind of put things together. I guess that’s the hard part, when something goes wrong, just trying to come up with something to make it work.”

Even when things go awry, the students who work at Event Services find their work enjoyable when someone takes the time to say thank you.

“I definitely feel appreciated, when every now and then there’s a student or parent who comes up and says, ‘Thanks, that was great,’ or something like that,” said Aguilar. “That’s always awesome.”

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