Colonial Inauguration Sessions Bring Incoming Freshmen to Campus

New programming format focused on personal advising, small social groups.

Provost Forrest Maltzman welcomed incoming freshmen to campus at the first Colonial Inauguration. (William Atkins/GW Today)
Provost Forrest Maltzman welcomed incoming freshmen to campus at the first Colonial Inauguration sessions. (William Atkins/GW Today)
June 19, 2017

The George Washington University held the first two of six regular summer 2017 Colonial Inauguration (CI) sessions last week, welcoming nearly 800 incoming freshmen to two-day previews of life as GW students. The remaining four summer sessions will occur over the next two weeks.

“It was a great opportunity for students to start working toward advocating for themselves, taking those first steps toward being empowered and independent,” said Tracy Arwari, director of student support and family engagement in the Division of Student Affairs.

“They were able to really immerse themselves in  the GW experience—everything from community-building and attending academic sessions to learning how to register for classes and how to use their GWorld cards to dine in District House.”

During each CI, students started their day with an opening session in Betts Theater featuring administrators, student orientation leaders and the Student Association leadership. This was followed by an academic check-in and briefing conducted by individual schools, which introduced them to the academic curriculum. In the afternoon, students attended academic advising sessions, residence hall tours and a selection of information sessions on topics such as  academic success, study abroad and athletics.

“At our own CI experiences, we left feeling enthusiastic and fully prepared to attend GW, a sentiment we wanted to carry on,” said Thomas de Lima, an Elliot School of International Affairs senior who was a member of the 2016 Colonial Cabinet, the team of student orientation leaders, before helping coordinate this year’s CI as part of CI Headquarters.

This year’s CI transitioned to a new programming  model with more focus on personal guidance for incoming students. Students attended small-group academic advising sessions and, in the evening, hung out in small peer groups to socialize and ask questions.

Through the fall semester, families of incoming freshmen will have access to a series of webinars and an online family portal, Family First Class. “It’s a one-stop shop for any questions they might have,” Dr. Arwari said. New families are invited to participate in an in-person orientation event complimenting the online programming after move-in during the afternoon of Aug. 26. Registration and additional details for the event will be available in late June.

“We hope CI had a little bit of everything for our new students—a balance of academic, social and community-building programming,” Dr. Arwari said. “All the areas that contribute to the holistic success  of students.”


Student Life, Ruth Steinhardt


University Makes Enhancements to Colonial Inauguration

December 19, 2016
Changes are an effort to make the orientation program more personalized for undergraduate students, increase focus on academic mission and reduce financial cost to families.