MISSOULA – As Missoula and the University of Montana eagerly await the return of UM students, the University has prepared a series of events for them to connect with each other. Called Griz Welcome, the first two weeks of the semester are dedicated fully to the student experience at UM.

New students move into the residence halls on the University of Montana campus on Aug. 23. UM Photo)
New students move into the residence halls on the University of Montana campus on Aug. 23. UM Photo)

“Griz Welcome is the perfect time for students to meet their new classmates, as well as current students, and have some fun,” said Devin Carpenter, UM’s director of New Student Success. “It officially culminates with WelcomeFEAST on Sept. 10, a UM tradition and something the whole campus looks forward to each fall. We are expanding this event from the normal two hours to feature local music all afternoon for an extra special welcome to our UM Family.”

Carpenter and his Orientation team have worked diligently over the past year to create meaningful ways for the University to UM welcome students back to campus after a year with limited in-person events.

New this year is the Freshman Float, slated for Friday, Aug. 27. The float is intended to help incoming students celebrate the end of their first week on campus. Shuttles will leave from the Campus Rec parking lot every half-hour, and fellow UM students working as River Ambassadors will guide freshmen down the river. Lifejackets will be provided, and students can bring their own tubes or borrow from a limited supply. The float ends with a River Bowl party complete with food and fun.

“Our students are what make our campus so vibrant, so we worked hard to pair experiences and events that renew a common Grizzly spirit,” Carpenter said.

Other Griz Welcome highlights include Convocation, the Oval Silent Disco and Shakespeare in the Parks, as well as an eSports playoff and UM Outdoor Program rafting trip.

During Orientation, UM students also have access to Big Sky Experiences in the community, such as a doc filmmaking workshop, flyfishing lesson, ethnobotany trip and hike, creative museum tour and multiple service projects. A full fall Orientation schedule is online.

“We hope this is a nice way for students to hang out with their new friends and relax after an exciting week of Orientation programming and before classes start on Aug. 30,” Carpenter said.

The schedule of Griz Welcome events includes:

  • Monday, Aug. 23 – Missoula PaddleHeads vs. Great Falls Voyagers Community Outreach Night, Ogren Park at Allegiance Field, 7-10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 24 – eSports Extravaganza, the Oval, 7-10 p.m.; Grocery Bingo, University Center 2nd Floor Commons, 8-9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25 – Karaoke, Oval, 8-10 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 26 – Dinner at Downtown ToNight, Caras Park, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Silent Disco, Oval, 9-11 p.m. 
  • Friday, Aug. 27 – Freshman Float and River Bowl Party, Clark Fork River, 4-8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 28 – Optional Rafting Trip, Outdoor Program, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 29 – Optional Rafting Trip, Outdoor Program, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Last Day of River Shuttles, Adams Center Bus Stop, noon-6 p.m.


  • Monday, Aug. 30 – Academic Convocation, Oval, 7-9:30 p.m.


  • Tuesday, Aug. 31 – Take A Break Tuesday, Oval, noon-1 p.m.


  • Friday, Sept. 3 – Support Services Open House, Lommasson Center, noon-2 p.m.


  • Tuesday, Sept. 7 – Take A Break Tuesday, Oval, noon-1 p.m.; A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare in the Parks, Oval, 6-9 p.m.  


  • Wednesday, Sept. 8 – Cymbeline – Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Oval, 6-9 p.m.


  • Friday, Sept. 10 – WelcomeFEAST, Oval, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.


  • Tuesday, Sept. 14 – Branch Center Open House, Branch Center, 6-7 p.m.


During the first week of school, the University also will host a COVID-19 walk-in vaccination clinic from noon to 2 p.m. on the Oval. The doses will be the first Pfizer dose, and patients should bring proof of insurance.

A full Griz Welcome schedule is online at https://www.umt.edu/griz-welcome/schedule.php.

- By UM News Service -

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