Orientation Department

New Student Orientation Programs

COVID-19 Update

The Orientation Office is preparing for COVID-specific campus operations and group gathering protocols. However, we remain attentive to changing conditions, and will follow up if public health guidance warrants a scheduling change.

Learn more about new student orientation programs

New Student Orientation is designed to support you in your transition to Western. We have developed the program with your needs and success in mind. Spring Orientation will be a hybrid of in-person and an online course in Canvas (see below for more information.) The in-person program is designed to help you make connections and establish some relationships before classes begin on Monday. The online program in Canvas, Western’s online learning management system, is designed to for you to learn important information about Western, at your own pace, on your own time.

The in-person program begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9. This will be a casual time to have your personal questions answered, learn about clubs & activities, pick up some free Western schwag, and take a tour to learn where your classes will be held once the semester begins. This program will be followed by an optional dinner at a local restaurant, with other new students and EPIC mentors.

Orientation is required for all new students and you were automatically signed up when you registered for classes; the cost of attending this program is $25, which will be applied directly to your student account. The Orientation Office will email you by January 5 with specific information and location.

Mountaineer U is an online orientation course, designed to complement the in-person program. Mountaineer U includes seven different modules, ranging from The Mountaineer Way, Student Success, The Secret Sauce (student activities) and more. The first module has COVID-specific information. This course is in Canvas, Western’s learning management system, and you will receive an email with access instructions for the course by December 15.

The online student wellness education courses are: AlcoholEDU for College, Sexual Assault Prevention Education, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. These required courses address critical life skills, such as making healthy choices outside of the classroom, reflecting on your knowledge, attitudes, and experiences related to these issues and supporting your peers when faced with tough decisions. Western expects you to complete these courses before you arrive to campus for Orientation. You will not be able to receive your Mountaineer ID Card without having completed them.

By mid-December, new students can expect to receive emails to their Western account with links to Mountaineer U & the student wellness education programs. (Please note: The student wellness courses will come from EverFi.)

We look forward to welcoming your student to campus!

  • To help parents understand their students’ new home, we have an online Orientation prepared just for parents and families. This explains several aspects of Western through information and videos.This program will be accessible by December 15.If you would like to ensure that you receive a link to access the Online Parent & Family Orientation, please complete this webform.
  • In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Orientation at 970.943.2469 or

Fall 2021 Orientation Programs

Over the four days, students will rotate through four blocks of programming, which include: A Headwaters 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 community trips to check out the Gunnison Valley. Activities also include a Welcome Barbecue and evening events hosted by student clubs and organizations.

  • The four-day New Student Orientation program is required for all first-time students that are under 21 year old (at the time when classes begin in August 2021.) First time freshman that are over 21 have their choice to attend either New Student Orientation or Transfer & Nontraditional Student Orientation. The Orientation Office or an EPIC Mentor will reach out to ask what program you prefer.
  • Students are signed up automatically when registering for classes.
  • The fee for this program is $250, and it will be applied to the student’s account.
  • New Student Orientation Schedule will be posted in summer 2021

This afternoon program is designed to meet these students’ specific needs. Students will learn important information unique to Western. It is required for transfer students, or first-year students over 21 years old (when fall 2020 classes begin.) The program begins at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 14, campus location TBD. (Note: If you are attending this program and living on campus, you may begin moving into your assigned residence hall on Friday, August 14, beginning at 8 a.m.)

  • The cost for this program is $25 and it will be applied to your student account.
  • If you are a first-year student and will be 21 years old when Fall 2021 classes begin, you may opt for this program. The Orientation Office will contact you to discuss your options after you register for classes.
  • Transfer & Nontraditional Student Orientation Schedule will be posted in summer 2021.

This OPTIONAL program, taken IN ADDITION to one of the New Student Orientation programs, gives you the ultimate unique experience! Join other new students on courses varying in time and difficulty that venture into the Colorado backcountry. Each course is led by some of our finest student leaders who give you instruction on adventure activities and beginning college. There is an additional fee for this program. Learn more about Wilderness Based Orientation.


All new students entering Western are required to participate in one of the New Student Orientation programs (not including WBO). Students will be automatically signed up for Orientation after registering for classes and will receive a confirmation email with additional details.

Orientation FAQs

  • All new students are required to attend of Western’s Orientation programs.
    • First time freshman will attend the five-day program (NSO).
      • Students that will be 21 years or older when fall classes begin, may attend the Transfer & Nontraditional Student Orientation.
  • Transfer/nontraditional students will attend Transfer & Nontraditional Orientation (TNSO).

Orientation is a wonderful opportunity for new students to get acquainted with one another, Western, and the community. Most programming is mandatory; however, there are some evening programs that are optional. Please check the key in the schedule for further details on mandatory and optional programming. We encourage all new students to take every opportunity possible in order to immerse themselves here and make their time and transition at Western more enjoyable.

You are able to find all up-to-date information regarding New Student, Transfer & Nontraditional, Parent & Family Orientation on the website. Please keep in mind that most of this information is tentative and subject to change, so please make sure to check our website closer to Orientation’s start date.

As a student, when you register for classes you are automatically signed up for Orientation. When you are signed up, you should receive an email to your Western account regarding more information.

  • Students attending the first year orientation (NSO) need to arrive on campus on Wednesday and they may begin moving into their assigned residence hall between 9 am and 4 pm. New Students also need to visit the University Center to check-in for Orientation at some point that day, as well as get their photo taken for the Mountaineer ID if they did not submit one online or are living off-campus.
  • Students attending the Transfer & Nontraditional Student Orientation (TNSO) may begin moving into their assigned residence hall beginning at 8 am the same day as Orientation. Orientation programming begins at 1 pm in the University Center. Please arrive early to check-in for the program and pick up your Mountaineer ID, if you are living off-campus.

The fee charged ($250-NSO & $25-TNSO) for Orientation includes your food and housing during Orientation and covers the sessions and services utilized.

You will already be moved into your room in your assigned residence hall during Orientation, so you should have everything you need. Some of the Orientation programming will be on campus and just every day attire is all you need. However, some Orientation activities are quite active and you will be spending time outside while you give back to the Gunnison community doing a service project with your HWTR 100 class and exploring the area on a Wilderness Pursuits trip. When you check-in for Orientation, we’ll make sure you know what specific clothing you will need to wear for those activities.

Orientation is required for all new students entering Western because we believe our programs offer important information that you might not even know that you don’t know! However, we also realize that there may be other life circumstances that prevent you from attending our program. If this is the case, please call Sara Phillips, director of LEAD & Orientation at 970.943.2176 to make special arrangements.

Yes & no. Parents & family members are welcome to help you move into your residence hall. However, as Western moves towards opening for Fall 2020, one of our main concerns is to ensure a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff, both in and out of the classroom. It is from this perspective that the Office of Student Affairs and Orientation have decided to offer a free online Parent & Family Orientation rather than host an in-person program in August. Rest assured, Western is still planning to welcome students to campus for fall!.. Sign up here….

As you arrive onto campus there will be signs pointing in the direction for resident halls and Orientation Check-in.

If you are living on-campus, you will get your Mountaineer ID Card when you check into your assigned residence hall, as you as you uploaded your photo online via the Mountaineer ID Card portal. If you are living off-campus, you may pick it up in the University Center in the Mountaineer ID Card Office (UC 106). Note: New students must complete the EVERFI student health & wellness courses before they can pick up their ID Card.

Mountaineer U, is an online orientation that complements the program on campus. Mountaineer U is a chance for you to learn important information about Western, on your own pace, so you can get started on the right foot.

New students will can expect to receive a link to this program in early August and should aim to complete it before arriving to campus in August.

Parking is free for students at Western! Students should make sure to get a parking pass and register their car with their Resident Assistant upon arrival on campus.

Gunnison doesn’t have taxi service or Uber, but no worry; the Orientation Office is here to help. Please email ( or call Orientation (970.943.2469) and we will be happy to coordinate a pick up for you.

You should have received an invite from EVERFI to your WESTERN email account. Please note you must use the most recent link sent to you. If you do not see an email from EVERFI, you may want to check your “Other” email inbox to see if it was sent there. If you need any additional help please contact your EPIC Mentor or the Orientation Office.

Department Information

Orientation Department


Sara Phillips

Director of LEAD & Orientation

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
University Center 118
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231