Get Involved on Campus
The Twin Cities campus of the University is really two campuses: the Minneapolis campus (within ten minutes of the bustling downtown) and the St. Paul campus (a spacious, rolling campus on the edge of a charming city neighborhood). The campuses are linked by a special shuttle bus system that is free of charge.
The Minneapolis campus spans the Mississippi River, and its east and west banks are connected by a double-decker bridge. The Carlson School of Management (CSOM), College of Liberal Arts (CLA), College of Education & Human Development (CEHD), College of Design (CDes), College of Science and Engineering (CSE), and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs are all located on the Minneapolis campus. You will have less than a 20-minute walk to get from the residence halls to anywhere on the campus.
- The East Bank, where many students take most of their classes, is the University’s birthplace. Its mostly traditional architecture testifies to the University’s long and very distinguished history as a land-grant institution. The GO Minnesota offices are located on the East Bank.
- The West Bank reflects the University’s expansion upward and outward in the geometric red-brick buildings that rise against the backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is located on the West Bank.
St. Paul Campus
About three miles away (15 minutes by the free campus bus), you’ll find the picturesque grounds of the St. Paul campus. With 3,700 students enrolled in the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) and College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS), the campus has a “small college” atmosphere, complete with small classes and a relaxed, neighborly feel.
Maps and Tours
Organizations and Activities
Student groups are a great way to engage with the campus community. There are more than 900 student organizations on campus, so you can find a group to join—no matter what your interest. We have everything from cultural groups, to career and academic organizations, to clubs that are just for fun. The groups are most active during fall and spring semesters. There are limited activities available during January and summer months.
Student Unions & Activities
Student Unions & Activities provides a place for the campus community to get involved, experience events, and develop skills to enhance the social, educational, and cultural environment of the University of Minnesota. They plan a variety of events, from rock concerts to trivia nights, and offer discounts and coupons for fun activities in the community. You can also find a place to study, go bowling, or meet with friends at one of the student unions:
Make sure to check out the Cultural Centers on Coffman’s second floor. Many students say this floor is a great place for meeting new people and relaxing between classes, and the Minnesota International Student Association (MISA) has a room just for you!
Sports and Recreation
Recreation and Wellness Center
The University's Recreation and Wellness Center on campus is a great place to workout. Among other amenities, they offer fitness centers, an indoor climbing and bouldering wall, and the Outdoor Adventure Rental Center. Minnesota Semester and Summer Session students have free access to the facility.
All students are welcome to join an intramural sports league (non-professional, non-competitive sports teams), offered through the Recreational Sports department.
Join in on the action by watching one of the many University sports team games. Tickets are very affordable, and the games are a great way to socialize and meet other students.
School Pride at UMN
Exchange students can’t help but notice the tremendous amount of school pride that permeates our campus. In fact, it can seem overwhelming, but it’s such an integral part of an American university experience that we encourage all of our students to join in!
Maroon and gold are the University's official colors; Goldy Gopher is our official mascot; and students will find all sorts of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other gear with the UMN logo around campus.
School pride is most often displayed at sporting events. American college sports can be highly competitive, attracting some of the best athletes in the country and making the competition very fun to watch. The beauty of being a spectator is that it requires no training, just the willingness to show up and cheer on the Gophers. However, showing school spirit is not just reserved for sporting events. Students can also see and feel school pride when they hear the marching band, attend a student theatre or dance performance, or join in any of the annual events such as Homecoming week. In fact, most of our students return to their home university full of UMN pride and gear after their semester or year with us.
The University of Minnesota has a great website explaining the history and foundation of school pride.
Programs for International Students
Global Gopher Events
Start your University of Minnesota experience in the best possible way with Global Gopher Events! This is a special opportunity for you to meet other new international students, prepare for classes, discover the University’s amazing services, and get advice from experienced international student leaders. These take place the weeks before classes start.
Global Gopher Academy
The Global Gopher Academy, is a customized pre-orientation program that will give you an early start to your new life at the University of Minnesota. You will have time to experience an American classroom, learn strategies for bridging cultural challenges, and prepare to succeed academically and personally at UMN. Offered Fall semester only.
Registration is required, as space is limited.
International Buddy Program (IBP)
The International Buddy Program wants to ease your transition to the University of Minnesota! As part of IBP, you will be matched (based on mutual interests) with a current undergraduate student to be your mentor. Your mentor will contact you before you travel to campus to help you prepare, guide you around the UMN and Twin Cities, teach you about academic and support resources, and be a familiar face on campus. IBP also hosts fun events throughout the semester! The IBP is available in both the fall and spring.
Other Programs for International Students
ISSS organizes programs for international students wishing to gain leadership experience and meet international and domestic students. Many of these programs will accept new students during your first semester.
- Cross-Cultural Discussion Groups: Gathers small groups of international and U.S. students to explore cross-cultural issues and perspectives.
- Small World Coffee Hour: Invites all students to learn about new cultures in a relaxing social environment.
- Cross-Cultural Leadership Retreat: A highly interactive, high-energy retreat that becomes a living laboratory of what it takes to work with people from vastly different cultures.
- Culture Corps: Enables international students to share their unique perspectives in classrooms and on campus.