Carnegie Mellon University

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August 16, 2022

CMU Welcomes the Class of 2026+

By Bruce Gerson

More than 1,700 first-year students in Carnegie Mellon University’s Class of 2026+ will arrive this Saturday to “reimagine” their future.

“Reimagine” is the theme of this year’s First-Year Orientation program, an engaging weeklong series of events and activities that introduces incoming and transfer students to the Carnegie Mellon community —  its culture, spirit and the many opportunities they can explore.

In some cases, it also helps to introduce students to themselves.

“The theme is representative of the transition to college and CMU for our first-year and transfer students. Incoming students have the opportunity as they start their Carnegie Mellon experience to reimagine their life and identity in a new space and home,” said Julie Schultz, associate dean for parent and family engagement and first-year orientation.

Schultz, who is coordinating her fifth orientation program, said the theme also reflects the return to an in-person orientation experience.

“The Head Orientation Counselors selected the theme ‘Reimagine’ because it reflects our current moment of returning to an in-person program,” Schultz said. “After living in a world of uncertainty for two years as a result of the pandemic, we are in a unique position to challenge the ways things have always been done and reshape the CMU community and world around us in a way that is more inclusive, supportive and sustainable.”

For the first time since 2019, orientation will be fully in person. It was fully remote in 2020, and last year orientation returned to campus with COVID restrictions in place. Many of the larger events were livestreamed or held in person with limitations.

Schultz and her team are eager for a return to normalcy.

“I'm incredibly excited to be back in person and to have all our first-years join us for an in-person orientation!” said Head Orientation Counselor (HOC) Michelle Zhang, a senior in the School of Computer Science. “The other HOCs and I have been tirelessly working to plan this Orientation week, and we hope that new students will come out of the week feeling like they've begun to find a home here. I hope they realize that there are so many people here that are willing to support them unconditionally, and that they’ll find a sense of belonging and comfort here.” 

After moving into their residence halls on Saturday, orientation officially kicks off with the President’s Welcome in the large orientation tent at 9:30 a.m., Sunday. President Farnam Jahanian and several university and student leaders will warmly welcome students and their families to Carnegie Mellon.  

Other highlights include:

  • Monday, August 22
    Playfair and Speedfriending on the Cut. Members of the first-year class will gather together for a series of icebreakers that give them the chance to get to know their new classmates.
  • Tuesday, August 23
    Community Day, Various Locations. Community Day focuses on CMU’s values and its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The keynote speaker is Jewel Burks Solomon, who is head of Google for Startups and works to level the playing field for underrepresented startup founders and communities. Lunch and breakout sessions will follow Solomon’s talk.
  • Tuesday, August 23
    Community Collage, Orientation Tent. Members of the university community show off their diverse talents through music, dance and storytelling to inspire the Class of 2026+.  
  • Thursday, August 25
    Convocation in the Orientation Tent. This formal academic program marks the beginning of university study for the Class of 2026+.
  • Friday, August 26
    Orientation Day of Service, Various Locations. First-year students will span out across Pittsburgh to perform community service and learn about the many volunteer opportunities throughout the region. Sites include 412 Food Rescue, Sojourner House, Linus Blankets and the Mt. Washington Community Garden.
  • Friday, August 26.
    Carnegie Cup on the Cut. Residence hall communities compete in a series of friendly games and puzzles.

The full First-Year Orientation schedule is available in the Events at CMU App, which you can download from the App Store or Google Play.