Explore U Event

Saturday, September 2, 2023, 1 - 4:30 p.m. at Huntington Bank Stadium

Explore U is a great opportunity for local businesses and organizations to access incoming freshmen and incoming transfer students. Explore U is attended by over 4,000 new students and current student leaders. 

Vendor Registration

Registration for Explore U 2023 is now closed. Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you for Explore U 2024!

Please contact Rachel at [email protected] with questions.

Student Groups

Student Unions & Activities (SUA) will host opportunities for groups to virtually engage with incoming students at Explore U. Student groups should sign-up for Explore U directly with SUA.

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Vendor Guidelines

Explore U Vendor Guidelines 2023

Explore U tables will be available until all tables have been reserved.

Set Up & Staffing

  • All vendors must check-in at the event between 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on the day of the event; tables must be set up no later than 1:00 p.m.
  • All vendor tables will be assigned a location in the event venue by Orientation & Transition Experiences at its sole discretion. Tables will not be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Vendor tables must be staffed at all times during the event by at least one representative of the vendor.
  • The University of Minnesota is a Drug Free and Smoke Free campus. Businesses and organizations promoting, selling, or distributing items prohibited on campus (whether or not legal in the State of Minnesota) are not allowed to participate in Explore U. The promotion, advertising, or distribution of alcoholic beverages, or promotion of purchase or consumption of alcoholic beverages by vendors at the event is strictly prohibited.
  • Vendors may not ship materials either to the office of Orientation & Transition Experiences or the event venue prior to the event. All materials must be brought and removed by vendors on the day of the event. University assistance with the transport of vendor materials from the loading dock to vendor tables will be available prior to the event. No assistance will be available after the event; vendors must remove remaining materials and products from the venue after the event without University assistance.

Electrical & Speaker Access

  • Electrical access in the event venue may be limited. If electrical access is not available for all vendors, Orientation & Transition Experiences will provide vendors the opportunity to pay for guaranteed electrical access. 
  • All extension cords, power strips, or other electrical devices must be provided by the vendor and may not cross any pedestrian walking space. 
  • In the event Orientation & Transition Experiences, the building manager or a University building code official notifies a vendor that its electrical use is unsafe or not in compliance with applicable codes or building electrical capacity, that vendor will immediately discontinue such use.
  • Access to a loudspeaker will not be available to individual vendors during the event.

Displays, Give-Aways, & Food

  • Table displays and/or distributed printed materials must include the vendor’s business name and contact information.
  • The sale of goods or services, as well as the conduct of fund-raising activities, is prohibited before, during, and after the event.
  • Distribution of promotional materials or “swag-bags” is permitted as long as such materials complement the mission and vision of Welcome Week, Orientation & Transition Experiences, and comply with University of Minnesota policies and guidelines. All materials to be distributed must be reviewed and approved by Orientation & Transition Experiences prior to the event. Orientation & Transition Experiences reserves the right to prohibit the distribution of any promotional materials or items in its sole discretion.
  • If a vendor wishes to donate additional prizes, vouchers for services, or gift certificates to further promote its business, they may do so by noting this on the registration form.
  • The serving of food from vendor tables is permitted under the following conditions:
    • A University of Minnesota Food Permit is completed at least 15 days prior to the event. This permit will be emailed to the vendor in August 2023 for completion.
    • The vendor is liable for the preparation, distribution, and clean up of all food served at its vendor location.
    • The application form must specify what food will be served. Electrical access is limited; electrical needs must be included in the registration.
    • Vendor’s preparation, distribution, and clean-up of food is subject to the regulations and requirements of the University’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety. A copy of these guidelines will be provided to vendors by Orientation & Transition Experiences prior to the event.
    • Any beverage brought into the event must be a Coke product. Any other beverages must get prior approval.
  • The following materials are prohibited at the event:
    • Doorstops
    • Candles & Incense (open flames of any kind)
    • Door mounted Dry Erase Boards
    • Any alcohol-related paraphernalia such as bottle openers, can cozies, and non-descript plastic cups.
    • Any products distributed for medicinal or health purposes must be approved by Orientation & Transition Experiences prior to the event.
  • Orientation & Transition Experiences reserves the right to prohibit any products in its sole discretion.


All questions regarding appropriate promotional materials should be submitted to Orientation & Transition Experiences prior to placing an order for such materials.

Questions and concerns, including those regarding specific logistical needs, should be submitted to [email protected] prior to the submission of registration.

Pricing for Explore U

Gold Registration- $1,150

  • 1 table (8' by 3')
  • 2 chair
  • 1 tablecloth
  • Company logo featured on the jumbotron
  • Featured on the Explore U Passport (program to incentivize students to visit vendor table)

Maroon Registration- $600

  • 1 table (8' by 3')
  • 2 chairs
  • 1 tablecloth

Both Maroon and Gold Registrations allow access to over 4,000 first-year students, transfer students, and student leaders.


Additional Booth - $600 per table
  • 8’ by 3’ table
  • 2 chairs
  • 1 table cloth


Trade can be used as a form of payment (no more than 50% of total cost) at the sole discretion of Orientation & Transition Experiences.  Please contact Rachel at [email protected] with any questions.

Marketing to Your Audience

The Opportunity

Explore U is the opportunity for businesses to explore, interact, and connect with the Class of 2027 and incoming transfer students as they start their U of M experience! Students in the Class of 2027 belong to Generation Z and are known as Centennials. They will require the use of creativity, visuals, and swift actions in order to engage them. To connect with Centennial students one must expect emboldenment, anticipate empowerment, and invite them in.  Generation Z embraces living in the right now and enjoys sharing the world through their eyes (Courtesy of The Futures Company, 2015)

Two Key Ways to Market to College Students

  • Have a presence on social media! College students are highly influenced by their peers’ activity on social media sites. Almost half of college students with smartphones discovered brands from what their peers were liking, following or pinning on their social media accounts (Courtesy of eMarketer, 2015).
  • Be quick! Getting your point across in a fast and efficient manner is what college students are looking for. Attention spans are getting shorter and with so much going on around them, students are seeking to learn and understand in a speedy fashion.

How can YOU be a successful vendor at Explore U?

  • Have energy and be excited! If you aren’t excited about your business or service, the students won’t be either.  
  • Bring goodies! Whether that be food, a magnet, or a pen with your logo on it, students are more likely to remember your brand if they can connect it back to a product. 60% of generation Z would prefer a cool product or service over a cool experience (Courtesy of Contently, 2015)
  • Find a way to stand out- what makes you different from the other vendors? Last year there were over 75 vendors at Explore U!

What Students are Saying about Explore U

  • 96% of event goers say they would be more likely to purchase a product or service after attending the event.
  • In past surveys, 73% of students who attended Explore U said they plan to visit the businesses they learned about at the event.
  • Over 85% of students were introduced to new businesses in the campus community.