New Student Orientation

Orientation, Transition & Retention - Welcome Weeks

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

Welcome Week 2015

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 22, the first day students can move into their residence halls, and will come to a close on Friday, August 28, 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 24 at 7:30 am with check-in (don't worry--programming doesn't officially begin until 9:00am). 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 25, and continue through the evening of Thursday, August 27. Check-in for these programs will be from 9:00am- 4:00pm on Tuesday, August 25.

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 2015 on June 8. 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. Registering for the August 26 one-day orientation? Then take part in a one-day Transfer Service Experience or Transfer Discover DC on August 25. 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:
  • Analyzing D.C. . . . Molecule by Molecule
    Think politics, business, and monuments define D.C.? NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and millennia-old geologic formations: these characterize the area as much as our more familiar notions do. Train a microscope lens on the wide-ranging scientific side of the city through trips to science venues like these and to D.C. museums, complemented by activities such as cooking, crystal-growing, and solar telescope-viewing. Limited to 20 students; coordinated by the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • 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: Getting to Know D.C. on a Bicycle
    Join fellow new students and AU staff for two days of biking and hiking on the Rock Creek Park, around the National Mall, through Georgetown, and on the Mount Vernon Trail. On the first day students will be led by an experienced DC biker on designated bike paths and will have limited street riding. Each participant will be provided a rental bike and helmet. The second day will be full of hiking and more sightseeing. Limited to 30 students; coordinated by the Center for Diversity & Inclusion.
  • 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 Discovery Communications, the World Bank, and Union Market. Also get a jump start on career planning during a workshop through the Kogod Center for Career Development. Limited to 30 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, Spectrum (a health and science PR firm), and the Smithsonian museums. Begin planning your career during a workshop with career advisors. Limited to 20 students; coordinated by the Career Center.
  • AU Alumni Leaders 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.
  • Sustainable Campus, Sustainable City: A Green Campus in America’s Greenest College Town
    See firsthand why AU has earned a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Witness burgeoning sustainability in Washington through a tour of its largest solar array, green buildings, green roofs, and an urban apiary. Meet prominent sustainability experts and enjoy fresh, local, sustainable food. If you’re interested in gearing your education toward protecting people and the planet, this could be your introduction. Limited to 20 students; coordinated by the Office of Sustainability.
  • 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 24-25, 2015

Program Details

Take a look at last year's schedules!

Eagle Summit First-Year Fundamentals Parent & Family Draft Schedule
Eagle Summit First-Year Fundamentals Student Draft Schedule

Parent Guide 2014-2015

Check-in will be available from 7:30 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 for parents and families. The second day will begin at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude around 2:00 p.m.

Program Fees

$65 for students
$65 per Family Member (over the age of 12)
$40 per Family Members (under 12)

Orientation for Transfer Students

Program Dates

Session III (One-Day Program) August 26

Session III Student & Parent & Family Draft Schedule

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 Program Brochure

Review our 2014 brochure to learn more about our Welcome Week Programs!



More than four-fifths of the first-year class participated in a Welcome Week program in 2013.

Welcome Week Calendar of Events

Fall Welcome Week

Review the 2014 Welcome Week schedule of events!