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New Student Orientation

Students mingle on the quad during Welcome Week.

Welcome Week 2015: Saturday, August 22 - Sunday, August 30

Welcome Week 2016

What is Welcome Week?

Welcome Week is a long standing AU tradition at American University.  For students who participate in Eagle Summit it’s a “welcome back” to campus and to Washington, DC as we begin the academic year.  For others, it’s the first taste of all that AU has to offer.

In addition to AU Welcome Week traditions like the bagpipes leading the new class to the President’s Opening Convocation and the All-American BBQ on the main quad, new AU students can choose to participate in a wide array of programs that range from service to sustainability, civic engagement to athletic engagement all highlighting AU’s connections to Washington, DC as an extension of campus.  By pairing days of exploration and service with evening programs that highlight community leaders and policy makers, you will have the chance to bring your experiences in DC into the context of the city’s challenges and celebrations.  Spend a little time reading through your options.  We look forward to hearing what choice you make!


What You Need to Know

Welcome Week will begin on Saturday, August 20, the first day students can move into their residence halls, and will come to a close on Friday, August 26, with the All-American BBQ. During this week before classes begin, most first-year students participate in one of AU’s hallmark welcome programs. These include the Freshman Service Experience, Discover DC, and Explore DC programs. Many students also partake in First-Year Fundamentals, our make-up Orientation program for students who were unable to attend a summer Eagle Summit.

The Dates. Eagle Summit First-Year Fundamentals kicks off Monday, August 22 at 8:00 am with check-in. All Welcome Week programs (Discover D.C., Explore D.C. and Freshman Service Experience) kick off with events late in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 23, and continue through the evening of Thursday, August 25. Check-in for these programs will be from 9:00am- 4:00pm on Tuesday, August 23.

The Fee. The $115 fee for Welcome Week includes dinner on Tuesday, breakfasts on Wednesday and Thursday, and admission to evening events. It also covers supplies, materials, transportation to and from sites (and, in some cases, a SmarTrip card for Metro rides), staff costs, and a program T-shirt. Please plan to bring about $15 per day for lunches and personal expenses.

Registration. Registration will be available for Welcome Week 2016 on June 6. Log on to the portal with your user ID and password, and click on the links as follows: Life@AU, then New Students, then New First-Year Student Checklist, then Register for a Welcome Week Program. Once registration becomes available, we recommend registering as soon as possible because spaces fill up quickly!

For Transfer Students. If you are participating in the June and July two-day orientations, you may join any of the programs listed. All Welcome Week programs will be a mix of transfer and first-year students. Be sure to register when you sign up for your orientation.

Questions? For more information on any of our Welcome Week activities, email us at or call us at 202-885-3303.


New students will have the opportunity to select one of many Welcome-Week programs. Please note that the Freshman Service Experience and Discover D.C. are our two largest programs, with close to a thousand participants between both programs.

  • Freshman Service Experience.
    The Freshman Service Experience (FSE) is the cornerstone of Welcome Week, with more than 600 incoming students each year making connections with D.C. and American University through community service. During the day, work in small groups while joining forces with nonprofit organizations and learning about social justice. In the evenings, come together with other groups for dinner, films, speakers, and social events. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors—with their own first-year experiences to share—will serve as your FSE leaders. Join the more than 10,000 AU freshmen who have participated in this program since 1990, recording more than 200,000 hours of helping others. For more information about the Freshman Service Experience, please visit, or contact the Center for Community Engagement & Service at 202-885-SERV (7378).
  • Discover D.C.
    Discover DC celebrates 12 years of connecting AU’s new students with residents of the District in ways that highlight its diversity and history of civic engagement. Explore D.C. neighborhoods and surrounding areas typically missed by tourists. The program begins on Tuesday evening with dinner and group activities. Neighborhood sojourns on the following two days may include tours by local residents, visits to historical sites, and appointments with local agencies and neighborhood associations to learn about issues affecting citizens of our nation’s capital.
  • Explore D.C.
    Through Explore DC, you will navigate and learn about Washington DC through a targeted lens. You will have the opportunity to meet other new students with similar interests and will understand why AU considers DC to be our laboratory of learning. You can select from a variety of topics that fit your passions; programs are detailed online. All programs share the common theme of understanding the nation's capital from an insider's perspective. Faculty and staff members lead each trip of about 20 to 25 students. 

Explore D.C. Programs:
  • Press Corps 
    Are you interested in in journalism, creative writing, photography, or filmography? Come be involved in student media and see how we're involved on an off campus! Students will explore the city and work on media teams to cover Welcome Week programs in a fun and creative way! Limited to 25 students; coordinated by Addell Crowe and Student Media.
  • Fit in the City
    Discover ways to be AhealthyU! Whether it's on land or water, there are plenty of ways to stay fit in the city! Come join us as we enjoy the city through hiking, yoga, and paddle boarding. Limited to 30 students; coordinated by Julie Evans, Recreational Sports and Fitness.
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?
    Come discover how the university impacts our surrounding community! The American University community reaches far beyond campus into the neighborhoods that you'll call home for the next four years. Join AU staff and neighbors to learn more about the Spring Valley and Tenleytown neighborhoods and all they have to offer. Limited to 25 students; coordinated by Andrew Huff, Office of Community Relations.
  • Women & Politics in the Nation's Capital
    Passionate about politics, history, or gender equality? This new program is perfect for you. Meet with women who strive for important policy changes on the Hill and learn about visionaries who paved the way for them. Limited to 20 students; coordinated by the School of Public Affairs.
  • Sites and Bikes: Bicycling and Hiking in DC
    Join your fellow new peers for two days of biking and hiking in Washington, DC! This program offers one day of bicycling where we will explore a variety of DC neighborhoods, landmarks, and historical sites. You will be led by experienced DC bikers and will ride on the street and designated bike paths that will average 15 miles. Day two will be a hike on local trails conveniently situated by AU's campus and down into the city, averaging 3-5 miles. Each participant will be provided a rental bike and helmet. Limited to 30 students; coordinated by Michael Wargo, Office of Campus Life and Sean Cullinane, Housing & Dining Programs.
  • Kogod Capital Connections: Exploring the D.C. Business Community
    Washington lies at the intersection of business and government, but did you ever wonder just how capital moves into, out of, and through this dynamic city? Gain a new perspective on careers in business from AU alumni and business professionals during site visits to six area organizations, such as SiriusXM, the World Bank, and the Washington National's baseball franchise. Also get a jump start on career planning during a workshop through the Kogod Center for Career Development. Limited to 25 students; coordinated by the Kogod School of Business.
  • Media by Metro: Exploring Area Communication Organizations
    Washington, D.C. is an international media hub and once of the country's largest markets for documentary film production. Learn about the field of communication, including journalism, public relations, and film and media arts, from AU alums and other media pros at organizations such as the Washington Post, NBC4, Discovery Communication, and National Geographic. Begin planning your career during a workshop with career advisors. Limited to 20 students; coordinated by the Career Center.
  • AU Alumni in Action
    Wondering how an American University degree prepares you for a successful career? Join the AU Alumni Association for visits to four businesses led by AU alums in the Washington, D.C., region. Topics of discussion will include communicating as a leader, planning your path to success, and accessing the power of networks. Limited to 20 students; coordinated by the office of Alumni Relations and the AU Alumni Association.
  • Market to Table: Food in Our City
    Oftentimes, the best way to discover and understand a new culture or a new place is try its cuisine. Join fellow new students and AU staff for two days of culinary exploration in the Nation's Capitol. Students will have the opportunity to explore local farmers' markets, pick their own local produce, cook, explore food history at the National Museum of American History, and learn about sustainable food production and community building at a local Community Garden. Limited to 20 students; coordinated by Aramark Higher Education.

Eagle Summit First-Year Fundamentals

Program Dates

Eagle Summit First-year Fundamentals (Make-up Orientation) August 22-23, 2016

Program Details

Take a look at last year's schedules!

Check-in will be available from 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m. on the first morning. The program will run until about 7:30 p.m. that evening for students and about 6:45 p.m. for parents and families. The second day will begin at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude around 2:00 p.m.

Program Fees

$160 for students
$85 per Family Member (over the age of 12)
$65 per Family Members (under 12)

Orientation for Transfer Students

Program Dates

Session III (One-Day Program) August 23

One-Day Program Details

Check-in will be available from 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m. on the morning of the program. It will conclude around 5:00 p.m. that evening. Please check back here for a draft of our schedule with the coming weeks

One-Day Program Fees

$40 for students
$40 per Family Member (over the age of 12)
$20 per Family Member (under the age of 12)

Welcome Week 2015

NSP - DC Tour NSP - DC Tour

See an overview of the 2015 Welcome Week

Click Here