Explore U Event

Explore U was held on Saturday, September 2, 1:30-4:30 p.m. in Mariucci ArenaExplore U is a great opportunity for local businesses and organizations to access incoming freshmen in the Class of 2021 and incoming transfer students. Explore U is attended by over 6,000 new students and current student leaders.

Email ofypmktg@umn.edu if you have questions.

Vendor Guidelines

The Explore U event will be held at Mariucci Arena on Saturday September 2, 2017 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  1. The deadline for vendor registration is July 14, 2017.  We may accept late vendor registrations that are subject to availability of space, however, vendors who submit late registrations may not be listed in all event publications.
  2. All vendors must check in at the event between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2017; tables must be set up no later than 1:00 p.m.
  3. All vendor tables will be assigned a location in Mariucci Arena by Orientation & First-Year Programs 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 & First-Year Programs and comply with University of Minnesota policies and guidelines. All materials to be distributed must be reviewed and approved by Orientation & First-Year Programs prior to the event. Orientation & First-Year Programs 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 & First-Year Programs 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 Mariucci Arena is very limited. Orientation & First-Year Programs 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 & First-Year Programs, 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 & First-Year Programs prior to the event.
    • Orientation & First-Year Programs 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 & First-Year Programs prior to placing an order for such materials.
  14. Vendors may not ship materials either to the office of Orientation & First-Year Programs or Mariucci Arena 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 Mariucci Arena after the event without University assistance.

Questions and concerns, including those regarding vendor’s specific logistical needs should be submitted to Lizzy Grewach at ofypmktg@umn.edu or 612-625-3243 prior to submission of registration.

Pricing for Explore U

Registration

Gold Registration- $1,050

  • 1 table (8' by 3')
  • 2 chairs
  • 1 tablecloth
  • Featured as a Gold Level Vendor in the U Minnesota Mobile App (includes company name, physical address, website, phone number)
  • Company logo featured on the jumbotron in Mariucci Arena
  • 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 U Minnesota Mobile App

Both Maroon and Gold Registrations allow access to 6,000 first-year students, transfer students, and student leaders.

Extras

Electrical Access - $50

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

Additional Table(s)-$200 per table

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

Additional Promotion in the U Minnesota App- $100

  • Opportunity to advertise your brand through a colored banner in the U Minnesota App's Class of 2021 guide
  • The U Minnesota App's Class of 2021 guide is the primary navigation tool for nearly 6000 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.

Other

Trade can be used as a form of payment at the sole discretion of Orientation and First-Year Programs.  Please contact Lizzy Grewach at ofypmktg@umn.edu or 612-625-3243 with any questions.

Marketing to Your Audience

The Opportunity

Explore U is the an opportunity for businesses to explore, interact, and connect with the Class of 2021 and incoming transfer students as they start their U of M experience! Students in the Class of 2021 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.

Explore U Photos

students at explore u 2015

explore u 2015 main floor

Get involved

If your organization would like to become an OFYP sponsor, begin by filling out the sponsor interest form.

If you have any questions about sponsoring an OFYP program, contact us at ofypmktg@umn.edu.

What vendors are saying

"Explore U is a valuable marketing tool for our organization. The event provides face-to-face meetings with students we might not reach via other marketing channels. And...it's fun!"

“Students were excited. The brand exposure was great.”

“We provided food sampling of our products and we got to meet with the students. It was an excellent opportunity to develop relationships with the new class.”

“I made several contacts. My intent was to get some visibility on campus. That goal was achieved!”

“Great interactions with students. Talked to many different people and was able to market the company and what we can offer the students.”

“We were able to create awareness of our business location.”

“Great interactions, great response to the product.”

"We'll be back next year!"