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Meeting with Honors

When it comes to meeting responsibly, college campuses are ahead of the class

In today's economy, planners not only have to be budget-conscious but image-conscious as well. Hosting events or conferences, especially in the public sector, nonprofit or educational industries, presents a fine line of matching memorability with message. While most traditional venues such as hotels and conference centers can do the trick, college and university campuses offer a beneficial alternative, providing a supportive environment and practical amenities-sometimes at half the cost.

"We are not in the hotel industry, so our motive is not the bottom line," asserts Perry Hacker, director of the University Guest House & Conference Center at the University of Utah. While the idea is not to compete with hotels ("partnering with them for overflow" is a better idea according to Hacker) it's hard not to when you consider the cost savings alone that are associated with hosting a meeting or event on campus.

"In 2012 alone, we were able to drop costs almost $100,000 by using conference services at universities," says Jennifer Bruss, a planner with New Jersey-based Standards Solution. In fact, a big part of the savings structure comes from all the included extras you do get, rate-free, at a full-serve college campus. Besides all-inclusive room rentals, other bonuses on campus include the access to local transportation and an academic environment that aids in allowing groups to focus on their agendas.