University of Alabama
The university’s on-campus conference center and staff can handle events of any size, from two people to 1,000 people.
The Bryant Conference Center has about 30,000 square feet of event space, including the 10,000-square-foot Sellers Auditorium and the 4,000-square-foot Rast Conference Room as well as several executive boardrooms, small and medium breakout rooms, and lobbies and prefunction space.
“We’re extremely flexible; that’s how we keep our competitive edge,” said Tory Shumpert marketing and sales manager for the center.
At the center, groups have the flexibility to choose their own licensed caterer, and the center has its own fully staffed audiovisual technology team, Shumpert said. Parking adjacent to the center is free for events, he said. The building is next door to the Bryant Museum, which showcases the rich history of the Crimson Tide football traditions, and to the Hotel Capstone, a full-service on-campus private hotel.
The Bryant center is located near the edge of campus, making it easy to access while still being part of the university’s “Old South charm” — historic homes and buildings and lush greenery — that saturates the campus, Shumpert said.
The Bryant Conference Center is the university’s primary meeting venue, but several other facilities are also available for events, among them Foster Auditorium, Smith Hall at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and rooms, suites and boxes at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Villanova University sits on 250 parklike acres, but the school is only 15 miles west of downtown Philadelphia. The Main Line even has a station on campus, so getting from Villanova to Philly is a matter of minutes.
As a university, Villanova is “a hotbed of ideas and creative thinking, and the diversity of the people on a college campus can be attractive to a lot of different groups,” Diment said.
Whereas a convention center or a meeting hotel campus is a self-contained entity under one roof, Villanova comprises 250 acres with lots of buildings, classrooms and other meeting spaces, he said.
Villanova has about 160 classrooms and conference rooms, 12 auditoriums for up to 200 people each, a couple of theaters that seat 200 each, a ballroom at the Connelly Center that holds 700, an indoor arena that seats 5,000 and an outdoor stadium for 12,000 people.
Villanova has all the necessary support systems for conferences to deliver the “eating, sleeping, meeting dynamic,” he said. The campus has an information technology department of more than 100 people, as well as all the state-of-the-art technology and audiovisual equipment. Villanova also has 320 on-campus guest apartments that are available during the summer months, Diment said, as well as gyms, sports courts and other recreational facilities.
Most meetings are held for one of two reasons: to educate or to motivate. And a university setting is perfect for either because it’s an institution of higher learning that values education and self-betterment, Diment said.