Western's First Year Experience

Duane Vandenbusche, Historian, Famous Author - download the 2014 FYE Convocation


Dr. Duane Vandenbusche's
First Year Experience
Convocation from Fall 2015



Western is hosting one orientation session for all first-time freshman* and transfer students with less than 24 credits. The 2016 Orientation dates are August 17 to 21. Over the five days, students will rotate through four blocks of programming, which include: a Headwaters 100 (HWTR 100) service learning project; introduction to academic resources; “Life at Western” to learn about college life and the social issues that come with it; and Wilderness Pursuits trips or walking tours of the local communities. Activities also include programs for families and guests, a welcome barbecue and evening events hosted by student clubs and organizations. In addition, six Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO) trips will be offered through Wilderness Pursuits prior to orientation week.  Learn more about Orientation here.....

(*This applies to any student entering Western who has not lived on a residential campus before.)

Headwaters 100 First Year Seminar

First-year students to Western will be enrolled in the HWTR 100 First Year Seminar, which is integrally tied into and begins meeting during Orientation to provide students with a seamless transition into the campus and community culture. During the seminar, students will examine the “place” surrounding Western and the community. This is a discussion-based seminar that may include convocations, community service projects, workshops and field experiences. Academic themes include an introduction to the liberal arts, community sustainability, and the social, natural and cultural surroundings of the region. Academic support services and other resources for students will also be stressed during the seminar. Learn more about the Headwaters 100 First Year Seminar here....

Living/Learning Communities

Residence Life will implement eight living/learning communities in the residence halls that are based on areas of student interest. Living/learning communities build a more academic culture at Western by integrating academics into the residential environment.

Exploratory Program

Facilitated by the Academic Resource Center, the Exploratory Program assists students who are unsure of their major course of study. The program will provide undeclared students with a personalized action plan and investigative opportunities regarding majors. In addition, the program gives undeclared students a sense of “place” and belonging as they explore a major and profession matched to their skills, values, interests, and abilities. Learn more about the Exploratory Program here....

Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO)

The purpose of Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO) is to provide an opportunity for you to meet other new students and make meaningful connections, build friendships and get to know the incredible recreational opportunities that Gunnison has to offer before you begin your first semester here at Western. Find out more at www.western.edu/wbo.