Bear Beginnings: Fall Orientation
Bear Beginnings: Fall Orientation

Bear Beginnings: Fall Orientation

Bear Beginnings 2016 is Thursday, August 25th - Sunday, August 28th.  Fall classes begin on Monday, August 29th.

Bear Beginnings is the signature orientation program for new students.  By participating in Bear Beginnings, students will:

  • Understand the academic expectations and intellectual community at Washington University
  • Identify choices and behaviors that may impact their peers and their community
  • Know how to access information about campus resources that will help them to be successful inside the classroom
  • Know how to access information about co-curricular opportunities
  • Connect to faculty, administration, staff or a current student
  • Meet other new students and begin to identify a peer group
  • Feel prepared for their first week of classes.
  • Feel connected to and pride for WUSTL, their school or college and their Residential College.
  • Identify social and cultural opportunities and resources in the St. Louis community
  • Have fun!
First-Year Move-in/Check-in
Move-in Day is Thursday, August 25, 2016 (unless arriving early for Pre-Orientation, Explore, Athletics or another early arrival program.)  All on-campus and university-owned housing is accessible for move-in beginning at 8:30 AM.  We have found that 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM is a very busy time, so you may want to plan to come after 10:00 AM to avoid long lines.
Bear Beginnings activities for new students will begin at 5:00 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2016 with Residential College Floor Meetings, followed by Convocation at 7:30 PM in the Athletic Complex.
Students living on the South 40 will enter on Shepley Drive, located off Big Bend Boulevard, between Clayton Road and Forsyth Boulevard. When you turn onto Shepley, staff will be there to greet you and give you directions to your unloading area, which is designated by Residence Hall. To ensure a smooth move-in process, we ask that the driver stays with the car until all belongings are unloaded and then relocate the car to a more permanent location.
 
Check-in is located in the lobby of your Residence Hall.  At check-in, you will receive your Bear Beginnings packet which includes the schedule, your Student ID, dinning coupon and your U-Pass. You will also receive your room key and other important information and documentation from the Office of Residential Life.  Don't forget to pick up your shirt for Convocation!  Please be sure to bring a photo ID.

On move in day, you will have plenty of time to unpack and begin to meet you Residential Advisors (RA), your Residential College Directors (RCD) and your WU Student Associates (WUSA). Don't forget to eat at Bear's Den and visit the many information tables located around the clock tower. There will also be tours of campus available and several receptions to attend.  A final schedule will be available in July.
Transfer & Exchange Move-in
Bear Beginnings activities for new students will begin at 5:00 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2016 with the Transfer & Exchange Welcome.  All on-campus and univeristy owned housing will be accessible for move-in beginning at 8:30 AM.
Students living on the South 40 will enter on Shepley Drive, located off Big Bend Boulevard, between Clayton Road and Forsyth Boulevard. When you turn onto Shepley, staff will be there to greet you and give you directions to the Office of Residential Life, where you will pick up your Bear Beginnings packet which includes the schedule, your Student ID, dining coupon and your U-Pass.  You will also receive your room key.  Please be sure to bring a photo ID.  Once you visit Residential Life, you will be directed to your unloading zone, which is designated by your Residence Hall. To ensure a smooth move-in process, we ask that the driver stays with the car until all belongings are unloaded and then relocate the car to a more permanent location.

Students living on the North Side or in Residential Life owned off-campus apartments will want to enter on Snow Way, located off Big Bend Boulevard and check in at The Office of Residential Life in The Village. Residential Life staff will be there to greet you and give your Bear Beginnings packet which includes the schedule, your Student ID, dining coupon and your U-Pass.  You will also receive your room key.  Please be sure to bring a photo ID.  Once you visit Residential Life, you will be directed to your bulding and unloading zone.

If you are living off-campus, be sure to join us at the Transfer & Exchange Student Welcome at 5:00 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2015. You will receive your Bear Beginnings packet at this event.
Parking Information
When you arrive on Thursday, August 25, 2015, you will be greeted by staff who will give you a temporary parking pass for the day and will direct you to your unloading zone, which is designated near your Residence Hall. In order to ensure a smooth day for everyone, we ask that the driver of the vehicle stay with the car until all belongings are unloaded and then move the car to a more permanent location.

Parking permits are not needed during Bear Beginnings or Parent & Family Orientation. Cars may be parked in any lot, except for those designated as red spaces. You can also download a PDF parking map. You will need to pay if you choose to park in metered parking. We encourage families to park in the Danforth University Center or the lot by Brookings Hall on Thursday, August 25, because the evening activities will end near this location.

Freshmen are not allowed to have cars on campus. This regulation is taken very seriously and violations of this will have serious implications. For more information, or to contact Parking and Transportation Services, go to http://parking.wustl.edu.
Bear Beginnings Schedules
When you arrive to campus, you will receive printed versions of the Bear beginnings: New Student Fall Orientation schedules.

The 2016 Bear Beginnings schedule will be available on July 1, 2016.  The 2016 schedule will be very similar to the 2015 schedule.

The 2015 Bear Beginnings schedules are available to view online.
Freshman students
Transfer & exchange students
Parent & family members

When you arrive to campus in August, you will receive a printed copy of the finalized schedule at check-in. 
To help navigate around campus during move in, download a campus map.

 
First Year Reading Program
Keep an eye out for your First Year Reading Program book, which will be arriving in your mailbox in late summer. Chosen by a selection committee of students, faculty, and staff, the First Year Reading Program book is an interesting and stimulating read around which your first academic exercise at Washington University will be based. Complete the book before your arrival on campus and explore its themes in your mind. What do you think? What are your opinions? What would you like to ask your new classmates or professors?

The Washington University First Year Reading Program aims:
  • To provide a common intellectual experience for incoming students, as well as participating members of the faculty and staff.
  • To provide an opportunity for students to meet and interact with a member of the Washington University faculty or staff in an informal discussion, outside the boundaries of the classroom and formal academic requirements.
  • To introduce students to the spirit of inquiry and debate that is integral to the Washington University academic community.
During Bear Beginnings, you will participate in a faculty or staff led discussion of the book along with students from your first-year floor or transfer/exchange group. We urge you to approach the First Year Reading Program discussions in a spirit of openness and the delight of discovery. This is a unique and valuable opportunity to challenge yourself, share your ideas, learn about different viewpoints and to meet and engage in dialogue with your classmates and a university faculty member or other member of the university community. There are no right or wrong answers, no grades, and diverse viewpoints and perspectives will be encouraged and respected. The more involved you choose to be, the more you will take away from this experience.

Throughout the first semester, you will encounter themes from the book in classes, discussions, and engaging on-campus programming. Happy reading! 
Convocation 
Convocation is the official academic welcome to the University for new students and their families.  Hosted by Chancellor Wrighton, Convocation includes speeches from a senior student and invited faculty speaker.

Watch the Convocation video from 2015

Watch the Convocation video from 2014

Watch the Convocation videos from 2013:
Watch the Convocation videos from 2012: