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orientation & transition experiences

Explore U Event

We will be hosting an in-person Welcome Week experience for new students this year and will offer Explore U on Saturday, September 4, 2021!

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. Explore U will take place at Huntington Bank Stadium (formerly TCF Bank Stadium).

Student Groups: Student Unions & Activities (SUA) will host opportunities for groups to virtually engage with incoming students at Explore U.

Email us at oteops@umn.edu to learn more.

These guidelines will be updated to reflect the most accurate guidelines for events according to CDC and MDH. We hope to have these finalized and confirmed by June 1, 2021.

  1. Explore U tables will be available until all tables have been reserved. If you plan to offer food samples then a food permit is required.
  2. All vendors must check in at the event between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on the day of event; tables must be set up no later than 1:00 p.m.
  3. All vendor tables will be assigned a location in Huntington Bank Stadium by Orientation & Transition Experiences at its sole discretion. Tables will not be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.
  4. Vendor tables must be staffed at all times during the event by at least one representative of vendor.
  5. Table displays and/or distributed printed materials must include vendor’s business’ name and contact information.
  6. The sale of goods or services, as well as the conduct of fund-raising activities, is prohibited before, during and after the event.
  7. 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.
  8. Access to a loudspeaker will not be available to individual vendors during the event.
  9. If a vendor wishes to donate additional prizes, vouchers for services, or gift certificates to further promote its business, please note this on the registration form.
  10. The serving of food from vendor tables is permitted under the following conditions:
    • 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 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.
  11. Electrical access in Huntington Bank Stadium is very limited. Orientation & Transition Experiences will reserve access to electrical outlets for vendors that have paid for 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.
  12. The promotion, advertising, or distribution of alcoholic beverages, or promotion of purchase or consumption of alcohol beverages by vendors at the event is strictly prohibited.
  13. The following materials are prohibited at the event:
    • Door stops
    • 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 such products in its sole discretion.
    • All questions or concerns regarding appropriate promotional materials should be submitted to Orientation & Transition Experiences prior to placing an order for such materials.
  14. Vendors may not ship materials either to the office of Orientation & Transition Experiences or Huntington Bank Stadium prior to the event. All materials must be brought and removed by vendors 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 Huntington Bank Stadium after the event without University assistance.

Questions and concerns, including those regarding vendor’s specific logistical needs, should be submitted to oteops@umn.edu prior to submission of registration.


Gold Registration- $1,050

  • 1 table (8' by 3')
  • 2 chair
  • 1 tablecloth
  • Featured as a Gold Level Vendor in the Gopher Transitions mobile app (includes company name, physical address, website, phone number)
  • Company logo featured on the jumbotron
  • Featured on the Explore U Passport (program to incentivize students to visit vendor table)

Maroon Registration- $550

  • 1 table (8' by 3')
  • 2 chairs
  • 1 tablecloth
  • Listed as a Maroon Level Vendor in the Gopher Transitions Mobile App

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


Electrical Access - $50

  • all extension cords and power strips must be provided by the vendor

Additional Table(s)-$550 per table

  • 8’ by 3’
  • 2 chairs
  • 1 table cloth

Additional Promotion in the Gopher Transitions Mobile App- $150

  • Opportunity to advertise your brand through a colored banner in the Gopher Transitions app.
  • The Gopher Transitions app is the primary navigation tool for nearly 6,000 incoming students during Welcome Week.  
  • Banner is 600 px by 110 px and by tapping your banner, students can link to your businesses web page that will rotate in intervals.


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 Sydney Antonsen at oteops@umn.edu with any questions.

The Opportunity

Explore U is the opportunity for businesses to explore, interact, and connect with the Class of 2025 and incoming transfer students as they start their U of M experience! Students in the Class of 2025 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 2015, 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.
  • Get In Touch

    If you have any questions regarding Student Orientation or Welcome Week. We would be happy to answer your questions.
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