FIRST Week 2016 to welcome freshmen to U of O campus Aug. 14-22

University of the Ozarks will welcome its new incoming freshmen to campus on Sunday, Aug. 14, for the start of FIRST Week 2016, a nine-day orientation program to help new students become acclimated to the university. 

FIRST Week 2016 will run from Aug. 14-22 and will include a mix of developmental, academic, social and engagement orientation opportunities. One of the new elements of the orientation program is a one-hour college credit pre-term course. 

“For the first time, new students will be moving in more than a week prior to classes,” said Emma Curry, director of campus activities. “FIRST Week will be filled with exciting and informational events that serve to ease the transition to college, integrate new students into our campus community, and strengthen the connection to Ozarks’ rich history. The pre-term course is designed to set students up for academic success and so much more. During this week-long course, students will learn how to strengthen key skills such as critical thinking and active listening and they will develop relationships with classmates, upper-class peer mentors, and faculty. They will learn what it means to be an Ozarks student.” 

Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies Dr. Jesse Weiss, who is the director of the University’s First Year Experience, said FIRST Week is “a great opportunity for incoming freshman to become integrated into the campus community.  New students will have exclusive access to campus and get to know the campus and the community before the semester begins. FIRST Week is meant to help bridge the gap between high school and college.  By the end of the week, all of our first-year freshmen will have had access to the tools necessary to be successful students at Ozarks.”

The residence halls will open at 9 a.m. on Aug. 14 for the new students to move in. Other highlights of the week include a welcoming program at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 14; a President’s Welcome Dinner at 6 p.m. on Aug. 14; a Matriculation Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 15; a field trip to Cane Hill, Ark., and Crystal Bridges Museum on Aug. 16; a tailgate picnic at Hurie Field on Aug. 20, and a closing ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. 

According to Dean of Students Steve Weaver, FIRST Week was created through a collaborative effort of faculty and staff, led by Provost Dr. Travis Feezell.

“It’s a great way to begin the year as a community and to specifically welcome our new community members to Ozarks,” Weaver said. “It is a special time to walk with students and their families as these students begin their journey at Ozarks. We have created the structure and have the staff to support and encourage students during this important transition and to set the groundwork for a successful four years at Ozarks.”

Parents and guests of the freshman students are invited to attend several of the events on Aug. 14 and 15, including the president’s dinner and the Matriculation Ceremony. 

“We will have a number of events for our students and families that begins with a formal welcome and culminates with our Matriculation Ceremony,” Weaver said. “This meaningful ceremony is a symbolic welcoming and exchange of promises between students and the university. It’s also a nice transition point for families to then say goodbyes as we transition our students into the pre-term class and orientation activities.” 

There will be an opening convocation for all students at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 22. Classes will being on Tuesday, Aug. 23.


For a schedule of events for FIRST Week 2016, please visit