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Conferences (and Events) On Campus: Is It For You?


Polly Wier Director of Conference and Event Services University of Delaware

For decades, hotels have been the go-to setting for conferences and events. Fortunately, as professional culture continues to change, better options have evolved. Businesses can now choose from a variety of venues featuring the latest technology, collaborative spaces, and amenities not found at more traditional venues.

Although hotels are still a good choice for certain kinds of events, the demand for non-traditional, unique experiences is starting to become more attractive in the business/professional landscape.The shift in traditional business paradigms, and modern consumers’ demand for innovative experiences, has led to the broadening of possibilities. Expectations for what a conference or an event can be are changing. Conferencing on campus is an excellent example of the trend toward a more diverse and fulfilling meeting or event experience.

The University of Delaware offers three unique venues, in Newark and in Lewes, each with its own distinct atmosphere and characteristics. Meeting and event attendees enjoy an enhanced experience at our non-traditional campus venues. Our Virden Center, in Lewes, offers a calm and quiet environment, perfect for team building, multi-day corporate retreats or signature social functions with easy access to the Delaware beaches, just a few miles away. In fact, experts have found that when people are in a pleasant, non-traditional space, they are more likely to feel more upbeat about their meeting or event. This leads to greater productivity and enhanced outcomes. Also, Virden offers overnight accommodations adjacent to the conference venue, which makes it an easy choice for small meetings and retreats.

UD’s Newark campus is home to Clayton Conference Center and the Audion at STAR Tower. Clayton offers a variety of large open spaces, two auditoriums, and additional ancillary rooms that can be used for smaller events, or as breakout rooms for larger conferences. The Courtyard by Marriott is adjacent to Clayton, making this venue ideal for multi-day meetings. The Audion, UD’s newest venue, is a flexible, ultra-modern tech space, ideal for any meeting looking to gain momentum. The Audion opens into the STAR Tower Atrium, which features a living wall that improves the air quality in the building. The result is a combination of spaces designed for cultivating collaboration.

Choosing to hold your conference, or event, on the University of Delaware campus also allows for the use of historic academic venues, student centers, performance venues, and recreational spaces. Your attendees will enjoy the unique character of an academic environment. And, our venues are located close to plenty of great bars, restaurants, parks and, in Lewes, beaches. Your attendees can extend the energy of their successful meeting, or event, by taking advantage of the opportunity to socialize afterward.

Holding your conference or event on campus is the smart choice for a unique and memorable experience.

Lastly, one of the most important aspects of executing a successful conference or event is having a great team behind you. Our professional event managers work one-on-one with you to strategize your objectives, select the right space for your event, handle all the details from start to finish and guide you every step of the way.

Polly Weir is the Director of Conference and Event Services at the University of Delaware. She is also an adjunct professor in the Hospitality Business Management program and a fitness instructor for Employee Health and Wellbeing at UD. She and her team of talented event professionals manage conferences and events on campus. UD Conference and Event Services not only plans events for the UD community, but it also welcomes local businesses, associations, and organizations to campus by providing top-notch service in a unique environment.


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