NSU campus offers versatile spaces perfect for any event

People attending event in JFAC lobby

ABERDEEN, S.D. – When it comes to event spaces, Northern State University is the perfect fit for any type of gathering, large or small.

“It’s not a one size fits all,” said NSU Event Coordinator Kami Spieker. “We will find a space that works for your particular needs.”

Northern is increasing its efforts to host more outside events, Spieker said, both as a means of regional outreach and because the university now has the right staff in place to do events well. It also has the right event spaces, from small conference rooms for meetings of a few people up to an auditorium that can seat hundreds.

Best of all, the spaces on campus are versatile.

“They’re just big, empty blank canvases, and we bring in the tables and the chairs and the décor,” Spieker explained.

NSU Offers Versatility, Variety

Versatility and variety are major advantages of holding your event at Northern. Spieker said you don’t just get the same big, echoing convention hall found at most conferences, but an assortment of unique spaces.

“If you have a feel you want, we can match it,” she said.

If that’s a modern look, there are spaces such as the state-of-the-art conference room in the new Athletic and Recreation Fields Pavilion. Or if it’s a homier feel, the wood-paneled Lincoln Gallery is a great fit.

“It’s just a really beautiful space,” Spieker said.

Other options include the NSU Student Center Centennial Rooms, which can be divided into smaller sections or used as one big room, or the Johnson Fine Arts Center lobby, which is perfect for small celebrations.

Support Throughout Process

When you reserve a space on campus, you’re getting more than a room rental – you’re getting support throughout the event planning process.

“We do all of the logistics,” Spieker said.

That includes room set-up, IT services and custodial support. Campus catering is available through Aramark, offering anything from coffee to a full plated meal.

Northern is open to hosting any type of event; indeed, campus has held everything from a multi-day annual convention to a private family wedding. Spieker said alcohol is allowed in certain spaces on campus, though an approval process is required.

“If that’s something that you want, let us know,” Spieker said. “We’ll have a conversation about it and see how we can help you with that.”

Lodging Also Available

Northern also has housing options available, including Steele Hall, which is currently offline to students. Steele recently housed South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired alumni during a reunion, and Northern Athletics also uses it for recruit visits, said NSU Assistant Director of Residence Life Brad Wolfe.

Right now, Steele is closed during the cold-weather season as a cost savings, but it will reopen in March. At that point, Wolfe and Residence Life Director Marty Sabolo see more opportunities for the facility. It could be an additional lodging option during major local events, such as State B Tournaments, or an option for local organizations bringing small groups to town for events.

Over the summer, Northern’s newest halls – Great Plains West, Great Plains East and Wolves Memorial Suites – will also be available for lodging in the same way as Steele, Sabolo said. People staying in NSU residence halls are provided linens and have access to the lounge and kitchen, with dining options available through Aramark. Sabolo said Aramark could even provide catering services for a group hosting an event and staying on campus.

Showcasing Campus

Sabolo said he thought of the idea to use the residence halls this way after President Downs challenged campus to be entrepreneurial. It provides a service to the community while showcasing Northern’s campus.

“Anytime we can bring guests to campus, it should be seen as an opportunity to recruit students,” Sabolo said.

Wolfe said he’s worked at universities in the past that hosted camps and conferences in this manner.

“It’s nice to come in and be a part of the ground up,” Wolfe said. “Because I think our end goal is to really showcase our buildings and the campus to potential students and build partnerships in the community as well.”

Contact Information

For more information about campus lodging, contact Wolfe at 605-626-3007 or Bradley.Wolfe@northern.edu.

For more information about NSU Event Planning, call Spieker at 605-626-2517, or email NSUevents@northern.edu or Kami.Spieker@northern.edu.

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $55 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions