By Sean McQuillan -2014-2015 ASUM Vice President

Missoula, Montana is a hard place to get to and from. With the largest mountains in North America surrounding Missoula, flights are scarce, train travel is distant, and the roads are often snow-packed. Once you’re in Missoula, however,you start to realize that this is a special place with people that are living life to its fullest. The University of Montana has what many universities are missing—the human element. With the human element, the University is offering the highest quality of education by believing in the people that call this campus home above all else.

View from the "M" hiking trail

View from the "M" hiking trail

The best way to get the most out of your Missoula experience is to work hard and play hard. Playing hard in Missoula is easy to do.  Located at the edge of campus is the trailhead that leads to the “M,” where you can see for miles over the entire city.  Just off the north end of campus is access to the Clark Fork River, with world-renowned fly fishing, and in the summer, of course, floating the river in tubes with your best friends—and occasionally your best friends’ dog.  If snow is more your style, just outside of town is Montana Snow Bowl, offering the best slopes in the region.  These are things that I get to do with my fraternity brothers in Phi Delta Theta almost any given day.

University of Montana sitting directly below the M Hiking Trail on Mount Sentinel. 

University of Montana sitting directly below the M Hiking Trail on Mount Sentinel. 

The hard work comes once you’re back on campus from the world–class faculty that chooseto live and teach in this incredible place. From Professor Nathaniel Levtow, who won the Berlin Prize and is studying at the American Academy in Berlin, to Professor Nate McCrady, who is working with other brilliant minds from Cal-Tech and Penn State to search for earth-like planets near our galaxy, there is a lot to learn.

Missoula Van Buren Foot Bridge, photo credit: Todd Goodrich University of Montana Photographer

Missoula Van Buren Foot Bridge, photo credit: Todd Goodrich University of Montana Photographer

The amazing piece of the University of Montana is not only that such amazing faculty come here to teach. More importantly, they are invested in student success. They believe in our ability to change the world from this small town nestled in the mountains of the northwest, and they do this in so many ways. Often professors will voluntarily give up their Saturdays to take students out into the field and get some hands on learning experience.  They will have extended office hours,hold review sessions, and respond to your email at 2:00 AM.  If you’re ever in need of advice, any professor will be happy to help out will often take a vested interest in your success far past the four years here at University of Montana.

Washington Grizzly Football Stadium

Washington Grizzly Football Stadium

No matter what area of study you’re interested in,the University has a world-class instructor in your field.  Having those professors at any institution is amazing, but at UM you will learn more from them than anywhere else, thanks to their accessibility and commitment to student success.  If you want to be successful in college you must be engaged—for me, that was joining the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.  The old saying that “you get out what you put in” is true.  If you get involved while at college, people will take notice and the success that you have here at the University of Montana will continue throughout your life. For many, once they make it to Missoula, Montana, they decide that the rest of their life is best spent right here.                


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