Classes are back in session for Spring 2021 at the University of Montana and students are pleasantly surprised to find winter activities planned. Students will be welcomed with a host of FREE events designed to safely foster connection and engagement, which are two important things the COVID-19 pandemic has nearly erased for students. Most events will be held outside and every event will include mask requirements and social distancing measures. 

What can normally be a bleak month on campus has been transformed into a “Winter wonderland of events,” according organizers with the University Center, University Facilities and the Office of Student Successwho have worked for months planning safe events specifically for students to enjoy around the community and on campus.  
            “The pandemic has affected every one our lives, including our UM students,” said Sarah Swager, UM vice provost of student success. “We are all longing for community and connection, and we want to be able to safely offer the full University experience to students as much as we can this year.” 

Events include a once-in-generation opportunity to ice skate on the University’s Oval. The ice rink will remain as long as cold temperatures permit, and students are welcome to skate every day. You can find ice rink rules, public skate times and the ice rink calendar HERE. Students can also Nordic ski on the UM Golf Course, with planned Nordic tours by UM students and equipment available through campus rentals. 

Every Tuesday on campus from noon to 1 p.m., snacks and hot chocolate will be available to students on the Oval with live music provided by local musicians. Fire pits and Adirondack chairs will also be available for students throughout the day on Tuesdays. 

If you’d rather participate in something a bit warmer, The Roxy has partnered with the U of M to host FREE movie nights exclusively for students. A remote crafting hour also is planned, with crafting supplies provided. 

Sarah Swager explained that students who are engaged with their campus community and develop connections are more likely to stay in school and make it to graduation. 

            “Our students need each other right now, and so do our faculty and our staff and our greater UM family,” she said. “We want everyone to stay safe and healthy but still have an opportunity to connect in-person and remember that a supportive, active community is here.” 

More student events will be offered throughout the semester, including virtual scavenger hunts, remote workouts and outdoor concerts. Students must log in and register for events through Griz Hub. 

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