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A University Campus Adds Prestige and Flexibility to Multi-Day Meetings

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Universities are an untapped resource that many planners tend to overlook when searching for a venue.

Polly Weir
Director of Conference and Event Services , University of Delaware

Something that differentiates a University environment from traditional conference and event locations is that it offers a variety of venues together in a central location. Universities invest heavily in their amenities – a must to attract and retain students. For corporate clients, this means you can feel confident your guests will have everything they need for a seamless multi-day event while experiencing top-notch facilities amidst inspiring campus surroundings.

With endless options at planners’ fingertips, here’s why conferencing on campus is advantageous – and why the University of Delaware is a good fit.

Prestige

Universities are seats of world-class learning, research, and innovation. Great minds pass through their halls. Simply put, there’s an air of knowledge that often appeals to planners looking to increase interaction and audience engagement, boost creativity, and deepen dialogue between attendees.

Diverse Meeting Spaces

Academic venues are used to pivoting comfortably to handle different sized gatherings. They can flex accordingly – whether a conference or event is for 50 or 1,500 people. A recent study from IACC states that one of the top meeting venue elements that will be MORE important in the future is the flexibility of meeting spaces. And, the top two desirable components of the “Dream Meeting Room” are ‘open’ and ‘flexible.’

Adaptable meeting spaces at UD include:

  • State-of-the-art conference rooms, auditoriums, lecture halls, and atriums.
  • Large open meeting spaces with repositionable, lounge-style furnishings.
  • Breakout/Gathering areas abundant with natural light.
  • Banquet rooms that can be transformed into almost anything.
  • Indoor/Outdoor event options.

State-of-the-Art Technology

For planners and guests, state-of-the-art technology is expected. Used to catering to tech-savvy students, universities can provide the latest tech solutions including outstanding AV equipment, video conferencing and streaming capabilities, and IT support available to avoid any glitches.

Flexibility

Keeping lines of communication open during the entire planning process is critical to meeting realistic expectations. Our event planners always have our clients’ best interests in mind, and our historic reputation for being flexible positions us as a service that understands the nuances of the current meeting and event climate. We’re able to pivot quickly if guidelines change and strive hard to reach a mutually respectful contract.

Expertise

With the plethora of amenities available on an academic campus, we understand how quickly your options can become overwhelming. Rest assured you’re in good hands. Our conference services team has more than 30 years in the hospitality industry. We will plan your meeting or event with you every step of the way – strategically taking advantage of what works best for your needs.

Superb Catering

Universities typically have to cater to a variety of dietary needs. Therefore, menus feature multiple options including vegetarian and vegan as well as the ability to accommodate a custom menu request. At UD, we offer intriguing limited-time seasonal menus like Global Street-Eats, Winter Garden, and Wood and Stone. Planners can also choose from an array of dining styles for their guests – plated meals, themed buffets, receptions, food stations, and contact-free boxed breakfasts, lunches, salads, and snacks.

Accommodations

Universities can provide accommodations to suit all budgets and needs. UD’s Conference Services offers quite the array:

  • Residence Hall Suites are ideal when hosting large summer groups.
  • Hotel rooms are available year-round at our very own full-service Courtyard Marriott.
  • Private entrance guest rooms with screened porches and private baths in a casual lodge-style environment are coveted at our coastal campus.

Access to Recreational Activities

Conference guests often have access to exceptional university resources ranging fromlibraries to theaters, galleries with impressive collections, and museums with rotating exhibits. In addition, they frequently enjoy our culturally rich campus grounds, natural settings for moments of solitude, outdoor recreational areas, fitness facilities, and sports complexes.

Clayton Conference Center Ballroom | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

Our Campuses

Clayton Conference Center, Newark
Space…and Plenty Of It

Besides adhering to the fluctuating social distancing guidelines, people now feel more comfortable when there’s ample space. The flagship Clayton Conference Center is Delaware’s largest conference center and is gaining new appreciation for its massive open lobby surrounded by classrooms, a ballroom, and a theater-style auditorium. Accommodating for adequate social distancing is easy when you have 40,000 square feet to work with. Include the University’s very own Courtyard Marriott right next door and guests can have a similar experience as an urban conference center with hotel combo, but with more flexible terms.

Audion and Atrium at The Tower at STAR, Newark
Latest and Greatest

UD’s Audion and Atrium in Newark is Delaware’s most prestigious new meeting space. Located in The Tower at STAR campus, no innovative thinking was spared–from the ability to stream events, to a living wall that cleans the indoor air. The feeling that you’re in a place where ideas are on the cusp of discovery is pervasive and energizes meetings. Momentum never stops here.

The Virden Center, Lewes
A Campus All to Yourself

The Virden Retreat Center, located in the coastal town of Lewes, is a self-contained, self-sustaining campus known for its human-nature connection. The campus is off the beaten path and surrounded by wetlands so it’s an exceptional option for smaller meetings and events looking to add a social component in a comfortable, safe space. Flexible meeting spaces, open and airy lounges, a tented patio for an outdoor dining option, vast acreage to easily move gatherings and activities outside, and two overnight lodges with 23 guest rooms–each with a private entrance, bath, and screened-in porch–make this venue a true retreat.

And Finally…

From supporting the local economy to reinvesting revenue back into education, hosting your multi-day meeting at a university conference venue is a great way for companies and organizations to give back. Now, meeting planners need not look any further than their own backyard for an esteemed setting to curate exceptional meeting and event experiences.

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Polly Weir

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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