I did an internship with the City of Houston Mayor's Office of Special Events in the Spring of 2018. The goal of the Mayor's Office of Special Events (also known as MOSE) is to promote consistent quality, family-oriented entertainment to Houston citizens and visitors.. Some of the events produced by MOSE include Tour de Houston (a bicycle ride through the city), Freedom Over Texas (a 4th of July celebration with concerts and a fireworks show), Family Day in the Park (a free picnic with games and entertainment), the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Mayor's Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting.
In addition to producing events like those listed above, MOSE also processes requests for special events, prepares permits for parade and street functions and provides production assistance for events. Each year, almost 1000 events are held utilizing city property and streets, with an average annual attendance of over 4 million people.
One of the unique aspects of an internship with MOSE is that you get to work on large-scale events. Tour de Houston had 2,500 bicyclists participate in the ride which encouraged healthy lifestyle choices and raised money for the City's reforestation program. Family Day in the Park will serve turkey legs, hot dogs, sausage and corn to approximately 15,000 citizens while providing concerts on 3 stages and children's games and activities. Over 50,000 people are expected to watch the fireworks and hear the concert headliners perform at Freedom Over Texas on the 4th of July. I don't know that I will ever have an opportunity to plan events for such large crowds again so this internship was definitely exciting!
The MOSE intern position is part-time and has flexible hours. I worked approximately 15 hours per week (4 hours on Monday, 8 hours on Wednesday and 3 hours on Friday). I also attended two after-hours meetings and worked extra hours in the days leading up to Tour de Houston and Family Day in the Park. The MOSE intern supports all of the event coordinators at the City and may be asked to perform a variety of duties. During the planning phase before an event occurs, the intern may contact vendors, sponsors or volunteers via email or phone to coordinate details related to the event. The intern may also assist in the preparation of spreadsheets and other planning documents. On event days the intern must have an "all hand's on deck" attitude and be willing to help in any area and may be required to lift, carry or haul items and assist with set-up, breakdown and clean-up.
MOSE intern responsibilities (as provided by Melissa Tatum on January 10, 2018) are as follows:
- Assist the sponsorship team with letters, proofing, research and event management
- Work alongside Event Coordinators in the planning and implementation of events (permitting, tracking, site checks, press conferences, logistics, etc.)
- Good communication and writing (typing) skills are a must
- Must be a team player and be able to work in a fast-paced collaborative environment
- Should have an interest in gaining knowledge in the areas of media, marketing, scheduling, luncheons, VIP receptions, and the coordination of volunteers
- Must be organized, reliable and motivated to get the job done
- Social Media skills and knowledge of Excel a plus
- Must be willing to work nights, weekends and holidays
The MOSE intern position is unpaid. Free parking is provided at a remote parking lot with a shuttle service. Although the internship is unpaid, the networking benefits are tremendous. You have the opportunity to meet all of the City of Houston event coordinators, a variety of event sponsors, City of Houston officials and a wide range of volunteers. The intern also gets valuable experience planning unique events for large groups of people. As my supervisor, Melissa Tatum, said "Working at MOSE is like going to event planning bootcamp!"
The biggest achievement that I had during my internship was assisting in the coordination of 400 volunteers for Family Day in the Park. This is a huge event and requires a small army of volunteers. Recruiting the volunteers, placing the correct number of people at the right spot at the right time and then communicating this information to everyone was a massive undertaking. It was very rewarding to see it all come together at Family Day in the Park.
Another achievement of the MOSE group was the successful production of Tour de Houston. It was really amazing to see all of the cyclists lining the streets of downtown Houston as they prepared to start the ride. It is quite a feat to have 2,500 riders pedal up to 60 miles through Houston and arrive safely back at City Hall and be able to enjoy refreshments and fellowship with each other.
Being a part of producing these two large events will be a huge benefit to me as I begin my event planning career. Learning what it takes to plan and coordinate all aspects of these events, and especially learning about the risk management requirements for events of this magnitude, has been an incredible learning experience. I believe that being an intern at the Mayor's Office of Special Events will be the highlight of my resume.