New Orientation Program for Fall 2016

Friday, Sep 18, 2015
by Office of the VP for Campus Life

The Offices of the Dean of the College, of Undergraduate Students, and of Campus Life jointly announce that beginning in fall 2016, first‐year Princeton students will participate in a single, unified orientation program. All students will move in on Saturday, September 3, and spend the rest of that weekend enjoying a warm welcome to campus and their residential colleges.

Following this on‐campus orientation, all students will leave for small‐group, experiential learning trips, choosing from a myriad of options offered by the Outdoor Action and Community Action programs. Student‐led experiences will include, as always, hiking and camping in parks from Virginia to Vermont; working on sustainable organic farms along the same corridor; volunteering in community‐based organizations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; and many more. We look forward to expanding the range of experiential learning opportunities as we continue to develop this aspect of our new orientation program.

These small‐group experiences allow students to form strong bonds among first‐years across residential colleges and with their student trip leaders across class years. Experiential learning encourages all students to engage Princeton’s values—especially service to others and intellectual reflection—outside the classroom. These action and engagement trips also allow for small‐group discussions of Princeton’s Pre‐Read selections every year. The Pre‐Read sets the agenda for the broad‐ranging issues President Eisgruber calls to the community’s attention.

Fall sport first‐year athletes will be fully integrated into this unified orientation experience. As they engage in pre‐season training, student athletes will also participate in workshops and discussions that will mirror, as closely as possible, those happening across the Outdoor and Community Action programs, reflecting the same cross‐class and cross‐residential college conversations in which all students will participate.

When they return to campus, first‐year students will be welcomed at their first all‐class assembly, and then participate in a rich array of programs that explain and explore the values of our community, including all‐class events such as “Reflections on Diversity,” which addresses inclusion and belonging, and “The Way You Move,” which addresses sexual misconduct and bystander intervention.

Introduction to intellectual life begins, as usual, with Opening Exercises in the University Chapel, followed by the Pre‐Read freshman assembly. Students will then have the opportunity to discuss their academic goals with students and faculty from all departments at the Academic Expo, before selecting fall courses. Classes begin on Wednesday, September 14, and students celebrate the end of that week by attending the Student Activities Fair and enjoying Lawnparties.

This new approach to orientation will strengthen our ability to speak to first‐year students as a unified class group; streamline how we provide services and information; and provide important small‐group experiences to every first‐year student, while offering the choice of travel and engagement that best suits their interests and needs.