Just when you thought you needed a 4.0 to get into a top college or university in the Northeast, you realize there may be another way to access classrooms (and many other creative spaces) as a meeting planner. Exploring meeting venues at colleges and universities may be the smartest move you make when planning your next conference. Most offer abundant room options, free parking, easy Wi-Fi access, and convenient and healthy dining services, and can accommodate both small and large events. A quick glance at five colleges and universities illuminates the region’s plethora of meeting spaces on and off campuses.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Nestled in the Pioneer Valley, UMass Amherst has year-round availability to host conferences, meetings and special events. Its on-site hotel has amenities such as complimentary parking, internet and continental breakfast, as well as a full conference center facility. During the summer, UMass can accommodate up to 11,000 people in its student housing. UMass Catering provides locally sourced and sustainable food selections.
> 39,000 square feet of meeting space in hotel
> 32 meeting rooms
This 50-acre campus is only 8 miles from Boston. Its blend of Victorian homes, lush outdoor spaces, cutting-edge technology and modern facilities provides a setting that is far from ordinary. Groups can work with event staff to arrange use of conference rooms, auditoriums, high-tech classrooms, computer labs and athletic facilities.
> 19 spaces available for year-round rental
> Meeting and event spaces can accommodate up to 300 people.
The team behind Boston University Events & Conferences can help you coordinate meetings and conferences at nearly two dozen campus event venues. Along with a ballroom, a performance center, various lounges and an arena, BU can host meetings in a castle. (It’s currently undergoing a royal renovation and will reopen in 2018.) Planners also have access to hundreds of classrooms, several large auditoriums, small conference rooms and the 290,000-sq.-ft. Agganis Arena, which has 7,000 seats.
> 365,000 square feet of meeting space
> 20 event venues plus hundreds of classrooms
Encompassing 20 city blocks in downtown New Haven, Connecticut, Yale has hundreds of meeting spaces on its campus. Along with lecture halls, seminar spaces, summer accommodations and dining facilities, the university also has the Greenberg Conference Center, which includes an amphitheater, a classroom, a dining room, seminar rooms and an outdoor terrace.
> 200 buildings with spaces to accommodate up to 2,500
> Most spaces have been recently renovated.
University of Maine
Looking for a setting in the middle of lakes and mountains along the rocky coast? The University of Maine in Orono has the serenity of a natural venue with the amenities of a comprehensive meeting facility. Planners will find large-scale performance halls, conference centers, classrooms, studios and private boardrooms at this coastal university.
> 100 meeting and event rooms
> Venues can accommodate up to 1,600 theater-style.