Bear Dens

Bear Dens logoBear Dens is an exciting new housing option for University of Montana students that offers groups of students with a shared interest the opportunity to live together in a themed residence located in University Villages. The living learning program is a collaboration between the ASUM Housing Board and the Residence Life Office. The Bear Den program enables participants to experience learning outside of a formal classroom setting and engage with faculty members in a unique way. Each group of students will create their own themed program that centers on their specific area of interest. This involves organizing two events per semester and arranging for an academic component (at least 1 credit) with their faculty advisor.

Each Bear Den applicant group should work together to complete a single group application. Bear Dens applications must be submitted to the ASUM Office, located in the UC.


  • Provide a meeting and gathering space for engaged students
  • Valuable leadership opportunities
  • Gain experience in event planning and networking in your field
  • Help to establish and advance a culture for your academic department and interest group
  • Opportunity to receive academic credit
  • Guaranteed housing in nice, affordable, apartment that is close to campus

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Living Learning Communities?

Living Learning Communities provide an enriching way for students to learn from each other and from faculty in an environment that goes beyond the classroom.  A Living Learning Community provides a residence for a cohort of students that together participate in a shared academic experience.  The presence of a shared academic experience among residents is the defining component of a living learning community. Living Learning Communities provide a number of benefits to a campus community including increased student engagement, increase student/faculty interactions, an overall more enriching academic experience, and an increase in student retention rates.

What residences will groups be housed in and what amenities are available?

The Bear Dens will be located within the Toole Villages which are part of the University-owned University Villages. Each Bear Den will be assigned 1 or 2 units (either 2 or 3 bedrooms per unit) depending on the number of students in the group. If a group has 2 units, Residence Life will do its best to assign each group units that are proximal to each other. The Bear Den members will be responsible for deciding who lives in which unit.

Toole Village apartments are carpeted and furniture is NOT provided. They are located close to campus and on the U-Dash bus route for quick and convenient transportation to main campus.  Cable is provided and all units have washer/dryer hook ups. Accessible units are available.

How much is the rent?

The rent for each tenant will vary based on the size of the apartment and the number of residents your group decides to house in each unit assigned to your group. Rental rates may be found on the UV Rates Page. Each group of roommates is jointly responsible to pay the rent for their entire unit. It is up to the roommates to divide the amount of rent that each roommate owes per month.

The rent does NOT include heat and electricity. Tenants are responsible for placing these utilities in their names and making payments independently.

Can the available units accommodate someone with a disability?

Yes. Upon request, a Bear Den group can be placed in a unit that is accessible. Please indicate your need for special accommodation in your group application.

When can we move in?

Residents will move into their units during the summer of 2014. Residence Life will be happy to negotiate move in dates to accommodate each group’s housing needs. Groups should be moved into their rentals no later than August 15th.

Where will we get funding for our Programs/events?

The Bear Den groups DO NOT automatically receive funding for the programs/events they are required to host throughout the year. The easiest way to have access to funds would be to gain status as an official ASUM student group. If your group is already, affiliated with an official ASUM Student group, then that’s even better! As an ASUM student group, you have the opportunity to apply for funding each spring semester. Groups can be creative in efforts to raise additional funds through venues such as:

  • Collaborating with other organizations both on campus and in the community
  • Applying for ASUM STIP funding
  • Fundraising

Where will our events take place?

The University Villages Community Center will be available to Bear Den groups to rent out free of charge. The center provides a large gathering space and a large kitchen. The space must be reserved well in advance through the University Villages Office. Groups are allowed to host their events in other spaces as long as the venue meets accessibility requirements .

What is the role of the Bear Den Group Coordinator?

The Bear Den Group Coordinator acts as the liaison for your Bear Den group meaning that he/she is the point of contact for the house. The Group Coordinator is responsible for planning weekly meetings with the Bear Den members and monthly meetings with the Academic Advisor to check in and review progress and issues at the home.  

What are the responsibilities of the Academic Advisor?

The Academic Advisor is intended to provide the academic structure required for the students to experience a living and learning environment. The Academic Advisor shall work with the student residents to fulfill the program’s academic requirement.  It is strongly encouraged that the residents work with their advisor to design a 1-2 credit internship experience related to their experience living and learning together in a theme home. This may simply be a study group with assigned readings and discussions, or it may involve planning and organizing a weekly or bi-weekly reading and discussion group that is open to the entire campus community, your department, or perhaps a specific class each of the residents are in together. The Academic Advisor has some flexibility to be creative with the students here, and we encourage creating opportunities that the theme home enables that goes beyond the possibilities of learning in a classroom setting.

If they opt not to create an internship, Bear Den residents can instead, enroll in a course together that is pertinent to their theme.

The Academic Advisor will meet with the residents on a monthly basis to discuss ongoing progress and issues in the home. The Academic Advisor will also have a voice on the Bear Den Advisory Committee which will meet on a quarterly basis to help share ideas to enhance the overall experience and capacity of the Bear Den program.  

How many students can be part of a Bear Den?

Bear Dens can have anywhere from 4 to 8 students.

What happens at the end of the year? Can we continue our program into the next year?

Given that your group is fulfilling all program expectations and remains in good standing with Residence Life, you will be offered the option to continue the program into the following academic year. Should your group be interested in this opportunity, the students planning to participate in the Bear Den the following year will be required to submit a renewal application in the spring semester. The application must then be approved by the Bear Den Advisory Committee.