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By: Kelly Alvarado, M.A., Assistant Director, First Year Experience Programs


During the Spring Semester, First Year Experience Programs welcomes another amazing group of new Zags into our community at Spring Orientation which will be Tuesday, January 16, 2018 in the Hemmingson Center. First Year Experience Programs manages and plans Spring Orientation in partnership with Transfer, Veteran and Returning Adult Student Services. The goal of Spring Orientation is to make sure students feel like they belong to our community and the first week on campus is as smooth as possible. New students will experience small groups led by current student orientation leaders, attend sessions about on-campus services and resources like health and wellness, career and professional development, and learn about the academic experience during a one-day orientation.


Here are recommendations for a successful Spring Orientation Experience:

Register here for Spring Orientation – DUE: January 11, 2018

Review the Spring Orientation Website for more information.


Check out some advice from current students on how to transition to Gonzaga.

Move-In Day by Josh McGuire, Human Physiology, Class of 2018, San Diego, California

The move in experience is more than just putting stuff into your room; it is more of a prolonged goodbye with your family and an extended greeting to the students living near you. I checked into my residence hall with my Resident Assistant (RA). I was nervous meeting them for the first time because I knew that they were in charge of the residence hall. However, instead of looking at them as a person of authority, I learned to see them as a peer and guide. They are there to help you with any problem you may have and they have the resources and knowledge to direct you in the right direction.


Small Groups by Salvador Gutierrez-Barcenas, Physical Education: Fitness Specialist, Class of 2019, San Jose, California

You will develop many friends, relationships, and families during your time at Gonzaga. One of the first families you will make is with your small group during Spring Orientation. You will be assigned a small group leader, who is an upper-class student, so think of them as your guides to Gonzaga.

Introverted or extroverted, your small group leaders will make sure that each and every one of their small group members feels safe, comfortable, and a part of the family. You will laugh, discuss, maybe even cry with your small group, but that is all part of the transition to becoming a Zag. For example, my small group would meet throughout the academic year to get frozen yogurt and talk about new things that were happening and how our transition was going. This is a group that you will grow with and always have to help you.


Making a Successful Transition by Melissa Mickey, Math Major (Secondary Ed Cert Track), Class of 2018, Kinnelon, New Jersey

For any students who are nervous about starting a new college experience, the best advice I can give you is this: Keep putting yourself out there. Join clubs, meet new people, and take advantage of the opportunities GU has to offer.  If you do that, with some patience and perseverance, everyone can find their place here.


Each Zag story will be unique when your student walks on campus. We look forward to supporting your Spring semester new Zag in their transition to Gonzaga. Remember Orientation is a process, not an event. First Year Experience Programs is always available to help connect your Zag to resources and services even beyond Spring Orientation. Feel free to contact us at (509) 313-4346 or firstyearexperience@gonzaga.edu. See you soon!


Kelly Alvarado is the Assistant Director of First Year Experience Programs and loves creating a welcoming experience so students can develop a sense of belonging within the Zag community.

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