Sarah VanVooren

File photo

October 31, 2022

Sarah VanVooren will take on new role as SIU’s director of events and conferences

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Sarah VanVooren, a double alumna of Southern Illinois University Carbondale who has served the university in a number of roles, most recently as associate director of conference and scheduling services, will be the new director of events and conferences, beginning Nov. 1.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to combine University Events and Protocol and pieces of Conference and Scheduling Services in an effort to create efficiencies and place event planning and similar outreach functions of the university under one umbrella,” VanVooren said. “This eventual consolidation will offer better opportunities and structure for engagement through events happening on and off campus. I look forward to being in a role where we can showcase all of the great programs, facilities and services SIU has to offer to the campus, region and beyond.”

VanVooren will be coordinating a wide variety of events drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year while overseeing a staff of more than a dozen full-time employees along with student workers. Among those activities are the planning and execution of commencement exercises, various alumni/donor events, SIU days at the Springfield and Du Quoin state fairs, and more. In addition, plans call for VanVooren to reorganize the existing conference and continuing education planning office, which she was already overseeing, into a central events office.

Brings extensive expertise to the role

She brings more than 14 years of professional experience to her new role, having served at her current position since 2019 and previously as assistant director of conference and scheduling services and as operations and scheduling for the Student Center since 2011. During that time, she has worked on numerous large events, including the 2017 total solar eclipse celebration, commencement and a variety of other activities. She also has overseen Conference and Scheduling Services, which annually handles more than 150 programs and camp events along with about 5,000 other scheduled bookings, and handled oversite of other Student Center programming and activities as well as more than 600 non-credit continuing education and workforce development courses.

Previously, VanVooren served as assistant director of operations for recreational sports at Purdue University.

She earned her master’s degree in college student personnel and her bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science at SIU. She is also very active in the Rotary Club of Carbondale Breakfast and other community service activities.