Inside the SDFC: Richelle Heinauer and Sara Witek

The Tempe SDFC is a premier workout spot for ASU students, but it also hosts several events throughout the school year. For example, thousands of students congregated to watch T-Pain perform at Devilpalooza on Feb. 24 — and while Devilpalooza is the year’s biggest event, it is only one of the many gatherings organized and hosted at the SDFC.

Two central figures involved in event planning and execution are SDFC employees Sara Witek and Richelle Heinauer. Witek and Heinauer are both student Event Coordinators working with the Events team. Witek, a graduate student studying audiology, is responsible for student development and marketing outreach, while Heinauer handles all reservations for student organizations and university departments.

“I organize all of our staff — whether that’s making sure they’re on top of their trainings, scheduling staff to work shifts, making sure all of our new hires are full on-boarded, have everything done and are completing their shadow shifts,” Witek said about her job.

Heinauer, a junior, is majoring in communication and seeking a minor in business. An ordinary day for her involves copious emailing and making sure reservations remain in place — as she put it, “basically organizing everything.”

“Sometimes I’m out on the field with the staff to make sure everything is going well, checking in with the event contacts to make sure everything is running smoothly, tearing down events, setting up events,” Heinauer said.

Heinauer and Witek deal with just about everything from Greek philanthropy events to volleyball tournaments and the Science Olympiad. Staying on top of all these events lends itself to challenging times and memorable times, as both coordinators explained.

“Any event where you can’t establish a good relationship with the event contact [is a challenge],” Heinauer said. “[If] they don’t respond to emails or phone calls or they’re disrespectful or hard to work with…I was here one weekend and thankfully I was because they [the group setting up for the event] were setting up things that they definitely were not allowed to set up — they didn’t tell me that in advance.”

Both coordinators agreed that the Overwatch tournament hosted in the 2-Bay Gym earlier this year was one of the best events they had worked on.

“The Blizzard Overwatch event was amazing,” Witek said. “But I also did like the Hillary Clinton rally that we put on last year. That was my first big event, and it was an amazing atmosphere, to have Secret Service clearance. It was amazing.”

The next time you attend an event at the SDFC and wonder how it got put together, make sure you remember the hard work that Richelle Heinauer and Sara Witek put in every shift.

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