Welcome to Your Big Sky Experience

Here's what we have in store for you...

bse-logo-new-2022As part of the required New Student Orientation program Aug. 22-26, all new students will participate in a 6 hour Big Sky Experience during the week with a small group of their peers. This is the group of students you will remain with for the duration of the orientation program, led by your UM Advocate mentor.

  • Students will be asked to select their preferred site in July, so take a look now to see which options you may be interested in.
  • Capacities for each site range from 20 - 100 students, and span a broad range of activities from service, arts, outdoors, entrepreneurship, science, athletics, health, wellness, leadership and so much more.
  • Each site has different accessibility levels, which are noted in the last sentence of each site's description. Please take note of these differences and self-select into a site that will meet your needs.

If you are a student with a disability and wish to request reasonable accommodations for an orientation session, contact Devin Carpenter at orientation@mso.umt.edu to discuss the specific modifications. Please be advised, we may request that you work with the Office for Disability Equity located on Aber 1st Floor in order to coordinate your reasonable modifications. For more information, visit the Office for Disability Equity website at www.umt.edu/disability.

2022 Sites and Community Partners

Below, each row includes a short tag line that relates to the Big Sky Experience's topic, along with the campus or community partner organization's name in parenthesis who is hosting students and facilitating the experience.  Click into each one for more details, the organization's logo, and accessibility information where applicable.

Keep an eye out in July for an email asking you to select your preferred Big Sky Experience site.  All incoming students will participate in a BSE as part of the week-long New Student Orientation Program.

Big Sky Film Institute LogoPresented by the Big Sky Film Institute

Explore the rich world of documentary film and the stories they tell by taking a deep dive into the storytelling process that sculpts real-world experiences. Through doc film exercises and a brief overview how the art form intersects and distinguishes itself from the field of journalism, this workshop will examine short form documentary so incoming students can get a taste for the breadth of career possibilities within the film industry. Join Big Sky Film Institute's Julia Sherman and Rachel Gregg as they lead an engaging session to get you thinking about the tools within documentary film, the stories that can be told, and the opportunities the Oscar-qualified Big Sky Documentary Film Festival can offer University students!

grizzly marching logoPresented by Grizzly Marching Band

All students who are joining the Grizzly Marching Band should select this site for their Big Sky Experience. New Student Orientation collaborates with your Band Director to ensure you are released from practice for important sessions, and you will be guided to and from required activities by your UM Advocate mentor.

aerie-correctPresented by Aerie Backcountry Medicine

Aerie Backcountry Medicine instructors will be leading a session about the fundamental elements of self care and emergency preparedness in the backcountry. Students will learn about bleeding control, environmental exposure, blister care, etc. Instructors can also discuss avenues for training and certification for careers in the outdoor industry.

all nations health center logoPresented by All Nations Health Center

There’s more to self-care than eating pizza and binging Netflix (tho those days are definitely needed!). This session will remind us that in addition to flexing that mental muscle during the school year we need to take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We will challenge ourselves to put this into practice by getting active playing some traditional Native American games, connecting with nature while gathering sage for smudge, and learning ways to help when someone is struggling. To be a good relative or ally, we need to be healthy ourselves - mind, body and spirit. This experience includes long periods outside and include some physically strenuous games.

um campus dining logoPresented by Campus Garden

Students will be treated to an extraordinary event celebrating Campus Dining's sustainability programs. They will enjoy creating their own pizza in the Rise+Rooted (R+R) pizza oven, harvesting produce from the Iron Griz Garden, meeting the Campus Dining ducks, and learning more about our sustainability programs. This site will be in a garden on uneven terrain with limited wheelchair accessibility and will be outside for a significant portion of the experience. Portions of this experience will have limited wheel and motor chair accessibility, and participants will be outside for extended periods of time.

boys-and-girls-club.jpgPresented by the Boys and Girls Club of Missoula

Individuals will visit the Boys and Girls Club during our staff and volunteer training week, attending an informational session along with our team, and then as the training continues in preparation for afterschool program, the Big Sky Experience students will help us in a big way by sorting, organizing, and preparing the supplies for the team to run fun and exciting activities at Club! Students at this site will be participating in a service project that involves a fair amount of lifting and moving boxes, hammering canvas, and other physically active tasks.

Trio LogoPresented by TRIO Student Support Services

Learning how to learn is just as important as learning what to learn. As a college student, you have the opportunity to identify your best learning strategies (hint: they’re unique to YOU) and to utilize them as a critical-thinking and problem-solving guru in the classroom and beyond. This morning’s experience will help students recognize that there is more to college than just taking some classes and getting a degree. There’s a lot to figure out along the way AND a lot of people who will help with that. Our expert presenters will guide students through what to expect, how to self-advocate, and how to identify those on campus to help navigate the hidden curriculum (the things we don’t know that we don’t know). Expert presenters, meeting campus support offices, and building community with other students will all be a part of this experience.

university center logoPresented by the UC Marketing Department

The UC Marketing Department works closely with student organizations throughout the school year. What we plan to do during this year's Big Sky Experience is to take an event and plan how to accurately and effectively market it to our campus community. This will include how to design graphics for posters and digital ads and then how to advertise the event through current social media platforms. Interested in graphic design or social media management? Then this is the BSE for you. Activities at this experience will require fine motor skills and the ability to use scissors.

garden city harvest logoPresented by Garden City Harvest

Garden City Harvest's Big Sky Experience will include one day at Orchard Gardens Farm and River Road Farm (2 of over 20 of our sites). Participants will be performing a variety of farming/gardening tasks which might include weeding, planting, harvesting, watering and moving farm equipment. This is a great opportunity to dig in the dirt and into our work, meet local farmers, and be a part of an organization that impacts over 20,000 Missoula community members every year. This experience takes place in a garden that is not accessible to wheel or motor chairs. Participants will be outside for the duration, and will be expected to stand and kneel.

The PEAS Farm logoPresented by the PEAS Farm

The PEAS Farm is a campus and community farm where UM students gain hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture and food justice. Join us on the farm for two days spent outside with your Big Sky Experience group on a 10-acre, student-run farm in Missoula's Rattlesnake Valley, just two miles north of campus. Students will learn about the farm's agro-ecological management, food justice partners in the Missoula community, and basic farm skills. Eating farm-fresh food is also involved! This site takes place in a large field that is not accessible to wheel or motor chairs. Participants will be outside for the duration, and will be expected to stand and kneel, though modifications can be made.

missoula food bank logoPresented by the Missoula Food Bank

Missoula Food Bank & Community Center is excited to welcome first-year students to learn more about food insecurity & take part in addressing need in our community. Students will spend their first day with our store team exploring our facility, learning more about operations, and completing a hands-on volunteer project. During their second day, Missoula Food Bank & Community Center staff will help students understand more about systemic, causal barriers to food security, find out more about the resources that exist to support those facing food insecurity, and how to be involved in the long-term movement for food justice in our community. We are excited to empower the next cohort of University of Montana students to create change and be leaders — at UM, in Missoula, and wherever their journey takes them. Students must be able to lift up to 50 lbs with assistance and will be standing for long periods of time.

national museum of forest service logoPresented by the National Museum of Forest Service History

Enjoy a day outside working on the Museum's 31-acre campus near the Missoula Airport. Landscaping, fencing, repairing, painting are some of the possible activities, to help improve and beautify the Museum's campus for its numerous summer visitors. This site is fully accessible by wheel and motor chairs, but participants will be outside for the duration.

Griz eSports LogoPresented by Griz eSports

UM eSports represents an opportunity for students to become part of a growing community of people who focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion while playing games with one another and learning how to become leaders and collaborators in many different spaces. We will play various games that emphasize our core principles and create bonds with your fellow students when we come together.

Free Cycles LogoPresented by Free Cycles

Free Cycles is one of the world's longest running community bicycle programs. We are also a growing community center, in the heart of Missoula. We are working towards helping Missoula become a leader in engaged, bicycle-oriented services and infrastructure. The project entails making several improvements to our center, along with learning some of the best techniques for improving sustainable transportation in our City.

gli-horiz-maroon.pngglobal-engagementPresented by the Mansfield Center, Global Engagement and the Global Leadership Initiative

Interested in international issues? Curious about studying abroad? Seeking to make connections with people from cultures different than yours? This Big Sky Experience focuses on global opportunities with UM through the Mansfield Center, the Global Engagement Office, and the Franke Global Leadership Initiative. During these sessions, students will develop globally applicable intercultural communication skills through workshops and have the opportunities to apply these skills through various activities. Along the way, students will also learn how they can engage with the world around them through the important and unique opportunities for global engagement offered by UM.

Fraternity and Sorority Involvement LogoPresented by Fraternity and Sorority Involvement

Looking for leadership opportunities, meeting lifelong friends, and fun? Join the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Involvement for our Big Sky Experience. Day one will be a "Greek's Guide to Missoula" tour showing our favorite spots in Missoula to study, have lunch with friends, or grab coffee! While day two will be a Pancake Breakfast and yard games on
Greek Row. This experience includes long periods of walking outdoors.

University Center LogoPresented by the University Center

Earning your education comes with hurdles and challenges. From balancing your social life, taking care of your physical and mental health, potentially working, doing well in your academics and so much more – it can make the University of Montana and its 220 walkable acres feel pretty big. Through this Big Sky Experience, you will learn more about the rich history, traditions, and ways to engage at the UM as a student - talk about what motivational or inspirational quotes or sayings have helped you through past hurdles or challenges - practice creating positive, motivational, or inspirational statements and phrases that will encourage - paint Griz Paws of Pawsitivity in designated sidewalks on campus to encourage and inspire. This site is fully accessible to wheel and motor chairs, but will require long periods outside. Students will be expected to kneel on the ground, but modifications can be made.

backcountry hunters & anglers logoPresented by Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice for our wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. While we are composed mostly of hunters and anglers, we are welcome to anyone who enjoys and cares about their public lands. We are dedicated to increasing access and opportunity on public land and ensuring there is quality habitat that supports an abundance and diversity of wildlife once you get there. For this Big Sky Experience, we will introduce you to Missoula's local public lands and waters through a day hiking and a day fly fishing the Clark Fork. No need to be an expert hiker or angler either! We'll have staff on-site to help you along the way. As users of these resources, we also think it's important to know how to speak up to protect the places and wildlife we rely on as outdoor users. As a part of your experience, we'll teach you ways to be an advocate to ensure these places are accessible and healthy well into the future. This experience includes hiking on trails that are not wheel or motor chair accessible. Hikers will traverse varying levels from easy to strenuous.

moon-randolph homestead logoPresented by the Moon-Randolph Homestead 

The Moon-Randolph Homestead is a city-owned historic site located in the North Hills, two miles from downtown Missoula. The site of this ranch is situated within the vast ancestral territories of the Séliš-Ql̓ispé people who have called this land home for 14,000 years. For just over 100 years, the land was cultivated by the Moon and Randolph families. During the Big Sky Experience, students will help care for the site. Service activities will focus on the orchard, garden, or livestock present at the site. This site takes place in an orchard and homestead that is not accessible to wheel or motor chairs, and must be accessed by a 30 min. hike. Participants will be outside for the duration and will be expected to stand and kneel, though modifications can be made.

Homeword LogoPresented by Homeword

Come visit us at our office along the Clark Fork River! We’ll tour our HomeOwnership Center and the Solstice/Equinox campus, including the green space and riverfront, sharing how we use sustainable methods to create homes throughout Montana, support renters in a tough market and strengthen Montana communities. Together we’ll learn about urgent issues of inequity in America through the documentary film “A Decent Home.” The film focuses on the residents of a mobile home park trying to save it from being shut down by an owner who wants to re-zone the land and sell it for millions. This is a situation many Montana mobile park residents are currently facing. Afterwards, we’ll discuss Montana solutions and the ways in which positive messaging matters when speaking about issues that may elicit negative bias and then explore what home means to each of you.

Blackstone Launchpad LogoPresented by the Blackstone LaunchPad

Join us to Launch your Professional Future with the Blackstone LaunchPad during orientation week! This is open to any student no matter what major they plan to go into or even if they are undecided. The goal for this experience is to provide students with a chance to think about and conceptualize the personal, professional, and academic goals they want to achieve during their time at UM. Activities include personal exploration games, networking with fellow students and community members, as well as an ice cream social at the end! Upon completing this experience, students will know more about what the Blackstone LaunchPad can do for them during their time at UM along as well as have a game plan of how they can make the best out their college years to come. This will be a very relaxed, fun, and unique experience—all are welcome!

leadershipU logoPresented by Leadership U

LeadershipU is a program at UM and its mission is to empower students to practice self-reflection, engage with peers, seek out social change, build better organizations, and cultivate community at UM. This Big Sky Experience will introduce the program to students with group discussions, activities, and peer networking.

Downtown Missoula Partnership LogoPresented by the Downtown Missoula Partnership

This is an emersion into the Missoula Downtown Experience. Students will learn about the rich history as well as tour and sample many of downtown's businesses and culture. Activities include going on the underground tours, scavenger hunt, behind the scene look at the prep for the River City Roots Festival, meeting the movers and shakers of downtown, and of course, getting some cool swag. We hope that these students will become downtown ambassadors of a sort, to help others on campus navigate and feel comfortable spending time there. Portions of this experience are not accessible to wheel or motor chairs.

Destination Missoula LogoPresented by Destination Missoula

Destination Missoula will work with students on creating various experiences & itineraries for Missoula visitors and various marketing approaches. Students will choose from various types of visitors (Couples, Individuals, University Parents, Prospective Students, Adventurous, History Buffs, etc.) and various types of marketing approaches (Facebook/Instagram, Tik Tok, Print Ads, Billboards, Email Newsletters, etc.) and put together creative itineraries and marketing campaigns.

Montana Public Radio LogoPresented By Montana Public Radio

Learn about Montana Public Radio, record station IDs, and perform characters as part of a recording of a children's book that may air on MTPR's children's program The Pea Green Boat.

Griz Hockey and Griz Lacrosse LogoPresented by Griz Hockey and Lacrosse

Learn about club sports and their value to the campus and greater community of Missoula. Using the most prominent club sports on campus, hockey and lacrosse, as an example students will learn on how they work, why they are an important part of our community, the fun they provide for the greater student body and whole of Missoula and what the game day experience entails.

intervarsity-horizontal-logo_full.pngPresented by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Soft Landing

Students will engage with stories from international refugee families in Missoula, not only to learn from these unique perspectives, but also to build self-awareness of their own stories and how they can impact the Missoula Community. Students will learn about two local organizations, Soft Landing and the Missoula Alliance Church, who are advocating for these families in our community, and will help plan and host a park day with games and activities for refugee families.

kbga logoPresented By KBGA

We will be familiarizing the students with radio procedures, equipment, and FCC guidelines. We'll train them on how to be DJs, which they can choose continue after the experience and eventually have a show on air. Throughout, we'll talk about our favorite songs, artists, and everything else.

Health and Medicine LogoPresented by UM Health and Medicine

UM Health and Medicine will present students with a medical mystery on the first day of the experience. They will work in small teams to determine what is ailing the fictitious patient and determine the best course of action for the patient.

Missoula Parks and Recreation LogoPresented by Missoula Parks and Recreation

Students will have both a recreation experience and a volunteer land stewardship experience within our city trails, parks, and open space. Gaining a deeper understanding of the landscape surrounding campus and the land stewardship applications required to maintain these amazing spaces. An all-terrain motor chair is available, but this experience involves a stewardship project which requires rigorous physical activity.

Presented by Advanced Technology Groupatg-cognizant_2022.jpg


Students will tour Advanced Technology Group’s (ATG) offices and have the opportunity to network with local ATGers. We’re excited to introduce you to our internship program, what we do in the consulting world and to Salesforce Net Zero Cloud, a complete sustainability management platform. Whether you are interested in data, software engineering, business operations or technical advancement to enhance sustainability, ATG has something for you. This experience will offer you the opportunity to collaborate on real-world problems relating to environmental sustainability, participate in fun activities outside and lunch on Wednesday (until 1 pm) to finish off your visit at ATG!


sobbacycle logoPresented by SOBBACYCLE

SOBBACYCLE is a beat-based cycling studio combining music and movement to cleanse the mind, body and soul. We are more than a 45-minute ride, we are a group of individuals who come together to experience #sweatbassbliss in a safe space, building community on and off the bike! For your BSE, we will focus on the importance of movement for both your mental and physical health. Day 1 will be focused on an individual project - setting goals and a plan for your fall semester that will keep you moving, happy and healthy. Day 2 will be a group project focused on building community and how to bring the SOBBACYCLE experience to campus and vise versa. Both days will begin with a standard SOBBACYCLE class so you can get a taste of the #sweatbassbliss. Students will be riding stationary bicycles each day, requiring a basic level of fitness.

Presented by the UM Alumni Associationalumni-association.png

The UM Alumni Office will be hosting "Tie Dye with Alumni" for our Big Sky Experience. On the first day, students will learn about a brief history of the alumni association. Then, we will talk about the ways in which our office is relevant to them and to the community at large. Much of this discussion will be centered around UM traditions and heritage, giving them an inside look into the upcoming events that they will experience during their first year at college. Students will be tie-dyeing alumni t-shirts alongside prominent and exciting UM alumni from the community. For the second day, students will receive their finished and washed tie-dye shirt. We will share a presentation on where many of our alumni have ended up, the work they do, the businesses they own, etc. Then, we will walk to Clyde Coffee to meet the owner, Glenda, who is a UM alumni herself. She will show us the facility and the Alumni Office will treat students to a coffee. We will spend some time at Clyde (likely on the patio if we are able to reserve it) and talk about the importance/value of networking and the connections that the Alumni Office offers to its graduates.

ELCS LogoPresented by the Office of Experiential Learning and Career Success and the Ecology Project International

Meet the Experiential Learning Career Success staff and learn about department services including help with resume building, career readiness, finding part-time jobs, volunteer opportunities, internships, and other experiential learning events and projects. Then, meet with the Ecology Project International, a local organization that offers part-time jobs, internships, and volunteer positions.

grizzly athletics logoPresented by Grizzly Athletics

We would like to introduce the incoming freshman class to Grizzly Athletics. Coaches will stop by, introduce themselves and let the students know how their attendance impacts the game. We will also discuss how to get tickets, what to expect this upcoming season for all sports and give them a tour of the athletic facilities.

curry wellness logoPresented by the Curry Health Center

Curry Health Center Wellness Department The goal of our Big Sky Experience is for students to fine tune their skills is personal health assessment and goal setting. The students attending the Big Sky Experience with the Wellness Department will feel confident to increase their health status while utilizing campus resources, and Curry Health Center Wellness Services. Learning Objectives: Personal Discovery- creating health wheel for self-discovery/ assessment of one’s lifestyle. Develop Peer Networks- working with peers closely through activities and getting comfortable with the university ap You at U of M. Sense of Place- Give a tour of Curry Health Center talk of the services available to them while doing so. Sense of Accomplishment- Students will end the BSE with the Wellness Department with a relevant goal with steps and tools to complete said goal, students will also get the chance to share their goals with others in the group. This experience will spend varying time inside and outdoors.