It’s no secret that Missoula is a special place. Located at the convergence of five valleys and with three blue-ribbon trout streams nearby, the Missoula Valley has been a gathering place for groups of people for years. It’s also home to one of the best locations for meetings in Western Montana — the University of Montana. With over 42,000 square feet of indoor event space, vibrant art and entertainment activities and on-site resident halls for summer overnight stays, it’s a unique setting for all types of meetings, from youth and sporting camps to business and educational gatherings.

10 Reasons to Consider Hosting Your Meeting at The University of Montana.

1) Its location in Missoula, Montana.
Surrounded by our best asset, our great outdoors, Missoula is made only better by having the University of Montana at its center.  Missoula is a beautiful city that perfectly combines an urban feel with the scenic beauty of Montana. Enjoy convivence with hotels and downtown nightlife just steps across the river from campus. The Missoula airport is just a 1o minute drive from campus.

Hiking the “M” Trail – the view is spectacular.

2) Affordable and unique.
The University of Montana strives to connect people and place and offers the local community and visitor’s access to venues and services at a fair market value. For the meeting planner, this means high quality facilities with abundant amenities for a very reasonable rate including economic overnight stay alternative to hotels with our Resident Hall sleep options in the summer.

3) Open and available year-round.
Planning a meeting, conference or special event at a university is a new idea to many people. While they are mostly thought of as educational institutions, colleges, and universities welcome groups to book events year-round. The University of Montana has a dedicated full-service conference center in the Student Union building. During Summer and Winter break, most campus venues are available for large groups.

The UM Payne Family Native American Culture is a favorite location for receptions and educational tours. Photo: UM

4) Ideal for both small and large groups.
With a variety of locations for meetings of all sizes, find versatile spaces on campus that inspire creativity and collaboration. We can accommodate up to 500 at the University Center(UC) or from 3,000 to 5,000 campus-wide. In-house catering with no food and beverage minimum or our new Dining Hall (opens Fall 2024) offers groups and individuals many eatery options.

5) Inclusive guest experience.
Missoula’s University of Montana pays special attention to accessibility for all meeting attendees by providing building access door openers, communication access services, convenient ADA parking, clear transportation corridors and routes free of snow during the winter season. They are dedicated to making all visitors to campus feel welcome and safe.

6) Sustainability programs.
Sustainability programs for the university are the norm and are a key part of our mission statement. Our in-house UM Dining program brings fresh, locally grown food to campus through direct relationships with resident farmers, ranchers, and businesses. This in-state concentration allows the university to work directly with Montana businesses to measure the impact of their program on the state’s economy, all while providing delicious food that offers a real taste of Big Sky Country for meeting attendees.

Fresh food being raised for onsite food services. Photo: UM

7) Scenic Beauty.
The University of Montana is the official State Arboretum for Montana and is home to native plant gardens and tropical gardens inside the conference center. The Clark Fork River and walking and hiking trails boarder campus.  Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of our campus and town. With outdoor recreation opportunities catering to all ability levels, your attendees can unwind and explore amidst nature’s splendors.

Culinary dishes are both fresh and beautiful. Photo: UM

8) Team building.
The University of Montana’s campus has easily accessible venues and activities that can be used for building a stronger and more engaged group. With activities based on trust, teamwork and respect, your team can engage in activities like rock climbing, golfing, art museum tours, billiards, rafting and more. All of these can be done on or near campus.
Insider note: The Clark Fork River runs on the north side of campus and is a great place for meeting attendees to learn to paddleboard, surf or kayak the rapids at Brennan’s Wave in downtown Missoula, just a short walk from campus. 

9) Culture and Entertainment.
Immerse participants in the rich tapestry of music, art, and athletics activities available on campus and in Missoula. UM is home to the Montana Museum of Art & Culture, many art galleries and the not-to-be-missed Native American Center Star Gazing Center. Entertainment opportunities include many athletic events (Go Griz!) dance and theater productions and many musical concerts. Added bonus: guests have access to the many recreational facilities and they can even rent outdoor recreational equipment on campus.

The beautiful gardens across campus are home to native plants and trees. Photo: UM

10) Customized transportation.
Parking garage and lots can be dedicated parking for visiting groups. The University of Montana has our own electric bus system that runs direct routes from campus to around town. When not in use for student transit, this system can be used to transport attendees to and from hotels and local attractions.

For more information on planning your meeting or convention at the University of Montana, learn more on our meetings and convention site.

Montana awaits you,

Shannon Brilz
Director, UM Conference & Event Services

About the author: Shannon Brilz is the Director of Conference & Event Services at the University of Montana responsible for scheduling and logistic planning. Shannon also currently serves as Chair of Western Montana’s Glacier Country Board of Directors. With over 25 years of experience in hospitality and education, she is passionate about sharing the University of Montana and Western Montana with meeting attendees and visitors.

April 2, 2024

Related: Culinary, Food, Guest Post, Meeting Planner, Meetings & Conventions, Missoula, Sustainability, Unique Lodging