Next Stop GW #7 - Orientation Preview

July 31, 2020

We are excited to announce our plans for Orientation 2020! Starting August 1, we will launch a comprehensive month-long virtual Orientation experience that will consist of an online module with interactive content and virtual live events. Visit Before Classes BeginSchedule, and Families & Guests for more information.

Here's what you can expect in this edition...

  • A message from the Student Coordinators for Orientation
  • Introduction to the O-Team
  • Program highlights and schedule overview
  • How to prepare for Virtual Orientation
  • Regional Connections
  • Save the Date: Colonials Weekend (Family & Alumni Weekend)

Upcoming virtual live event (2 dates): The Impact of COVID-19 on the GW Experience

Panelists include:

  • Scott Burnotes, Vice President for Safety & Facilities
  • Caroline Laguerre-Brown, Vice Provost for the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement
  • Karen Drenkard, Associate Dean for Practice and Community Engagement and Associate Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing
  • Jason Zara, Interim Faculty Director of Undergraduate Recruiting and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Please note: the max capacity for each event is 1,000 registrants. This event will be recorded and posted to our website.

A Message from the Orientation Coordinators

Alex, Asher, & Foon

Over the next few years, you will discover lifelong friendships, enticing career opportunities, and life changing experiences. It is part of our mission to ensure that you (and your family members) become acclimated and feel supported during this important time, and as part of one of your first GW experiences, our Orientation staff is here to guide you into a successful first year of college.

As you know, the fall semester and virtual Orientation are rapidly approaching. Throughout August, you will experience a unique virtual Orientation that will give you plenty of opportunities to engage with peers, staff, and faculty as you begin your journey at GW. The Orientation program will introduce you to GW and your new community and the many resources available to you as you make this new and exciting transition.

You will begin your Orientation experience by meeting your Orientation Leader, a student guide who will lead you through small group sessions where you and your peers will have honest, open discussions about GW and your first-year experience. We hope you take advantage of the virtual programming created to support your transition and promote your academic, professional, and social success.

As the start of the school year approaches, stay tuned for updates via email and social media (InstagramFacebookTwitter). We look forward to interacting with you soon!


Alex, Asher, & Foon
Student Coordinators, Orientation

Meet the O-Team

Who are Orientation Peer Advisors (OPAs)?

Current undergraduate GW student leaders who are tasked with contributing to the organizing and planning of New Student Orientation. Each OPA has a cohort of OLs that they train and oversee throughout the entire Orientation timeline. Additionally, they are responsible for meeting with campus partners and departments to funnel important university information to all incoming students and their families. All six of the OPAs will be with you throughout the Orientation process, so feel free to ask them questions and for advice as well!

Who are Orientation Leaders (OLs)?

Current undergraduate GW student leaders selected to serve as a guide to first-year and transfer students for the Orientation program. Each OL is trained to answer questions and assist students. Additionally, they lead small group sessions and facilitate discussion throughout the Orientation program. These students are here to help and support you through your adjustment to GW, D.C., and online learning-- another resource at your disposal!

Program Highlights

Are you ready to Raise High(er)?

We are working hard to plan a meaningful experience for you. In return, it is our hope and expectation that you come to this experience with an open and inquisitive mind ready to engage in thoughtful dialogue. Oh, and to have fun too!

Program Highlights:

  • Faculty-led webinars on select topics
  • Esports tournament and online fitness classes
  • Learning more about the academic experience in a virtual environment
  • Meeting people from different backgrounds
  • Involvement & virtual social opportunities

Our website will have student and family schedules available over the weekend, as we work to make updates. Your Orientation schedule will be determined by your region, country, and/or state of residency. We anticipate there will be some changes to the schedule as we progress through the month, so it will be important to remain flexible and to diligently monitor your email.

Over the weekend, you will receive communication from your assigned Orientation Leader via email. They will provide you with more details and your final schedule.

If you have questions in the interim, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

We can't wait to connect with you!

Raise High,

Kendra Scott

Program Director, Orientation

Other opportunities for involvement...

Affinity Chats

An extension of our student-led conversation Real Talk, Affinity Chats provides new students with opportunities to engage with affinity-based community groups across GW in an unfiltered, informative live session through Instagram. Tune in to @studentlifeatgw on Instagram at 7 p.m. ET to interact with current students discussing life at GW!

  • August 4: LGBTQIA+ Life at GW
  • August 6: The First-Generation Experience
  • August 11: AAPI @ GW
  • August 17: The Black Student Experience (Part 2)
  • August 18: The GW Latinx Community
  • August 24: The South Asian Student Experience

Welcome Days of Service

Join the global expression of hope for a better tomorrow by engaging in service with your classmates at Welcome Days of Service, GW's first-year community service event.

From August 29, 2020 through September 19, 2020, we will offer virtual service opportunities, educational workshops, and limited in-person service opportunities. Opportunities will range from workshops on anti-racism, to transcribing historical documents for the National Archives, to helping local teachers prepare their classroom for the upcoming school year. Registration will open the first week in August at

Questions? Reach out to our team at [email protected]

Co-Curricular Experiences

The Office of Student Life offers two co-curricular programs - Founding Scholars and LEAD - to help connect students, discover campus resources, and ease the transition into campus life. This year, these programs have been modified to accommodate the new university operations for fall 2020 and will be offered virtually. Please visit the program websites to learn more about each unique experience.

Note: schedules are being modified in light of the recent university announcement and updates will be posted to each website as they are available.

Founding Scholars

Thursday, August 27 and Saturday, August 29

Founding Scholars welcomes incoming first-generation college students to life at GW through virtual activities. Students will build community with other first-gen students, connect with faculty and staff, and learn valuable academic and campus resources. Times are tentative and subject to change. There is no additional program fee for Founding Scholars. Registration is open and space is limited.


Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20

LEAD (Leadership Exploration and Development) is a dynamic program that empowers incoming students to learn more about themselves and socially responsible leadership. Participants will engage in virtual workshops and small group discussions led by GW staff and student leaders. Registration is open and space is limited.

Co-curricular experience offered by GW's Hillel Organization

GW Hillel's LaunchPad D.C.

Starting August 3 (virtually)

GW Hillel's LaunchPad D.C. offers incoming first-year students a unique opportunity to be connected with Jewish life at GW. Being part of a large university like GW can be intimidating, but LaunchPad D.C. will make you feel right at home. Meet other incoming Jewish first-year students and upper-class student leaders who make up our amazing Jewish community! There will also be a special family members-only orientation session. Visit our website to register by August 2.

Preparing for Virtual Orientation

During Orientation you will be utilizing various different virtual platforms to participate. Here are some helpful guides and how-to tips. Please review and familiarize yourself, so you're prepared for the month ahead.

  • Webex events and meetings: As a GW student, you already have a Webex account. This will be the primary platform used for live events.
  • GW email and calendar (powered by Google): GW uses Google for email and calendar. It is good practice to utilize both to stay up-to-date and organized not just now, but during your time as a student!
  • Slack: We will set up #channels on different topics for you to learn more, ask questions, and interact with both incoming and current students. Stay tuned for more information come August!
  • GW Engage: This platform is utilized for student organization management and engagement at GW. This is also a great place to find virtual events during the school year.
  • GW Mobile App (download on Google Play or the Apple App Store): When prompted within the app, select the Persona called "new students and families" and be sure to enable push notifications. During Orientation you'll be able to view your schedule through the app and will have access to other helpful information.

Virtual Regional Connections

Virtual regional connection events provide an opportunity for incoming students and families to meet others from their region. During these sessions you will hear from GW administrators and current students. Join us to get connected to your new community. Please visit our website for upcoming dates, times, locations, and the link to register for an event in your region.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Division for Student Affairs

Save the Date: October 3

Colonials Weekend (Family & Alumni Weekend)

Colonials Weekend will bring you a unique virtual experience to keep our community connected. Stay tuned for more information!

Questions or comments? Please contact the Office for Student Success at [email protected].