Orientation 2021: Write Your Story, Make Your Mark

When planning this Fall's program, our team wanted to create a unique theme that encompasses the energy our new students will bring to Emerson in August. Emerson students are storytellers, creators, and change-makers, which is why the Orientation Team is very excited to announce the theme of the Fall 2021 Orientation program, Write Your Story, Make Your Mark. As an Emersonian, you will make your mark, on not only this campus, but on the world. Your Emerson story begins with Orientation, so what do you want to write in chapter one?

The Fall 2021 Undergraduate New Student Orientation Schedule is now live on the Emerson Mobile App, EmConnect, and can be accessed via this browser-friendly version of the Mobile App.

Emerson College is a community of passionate, driven, and hard-working individuals who foster an education grounded in inclusion, diversity, and creativity. The Undergraduate Orientation program aims to empower new students to begin their journey at Emerson with a sense of confidence and a system of support.

The Orientation Program is designed by 6 Undergraduate Students who are advised by the staff in the Office of Student Transitions and Family Programs and a planning committee of Emerson staff members. The program is backed by over 100 inspiring Orientation Leaders who have been trained to help guide new students into our community. Learn more about our Orientation Program mission.

Here are some important Orientation dates—please mark your calendars now!

Please mark your calendars now for the Fall 2021 Undergraduate New Student Orientation program dates:

  • August 22: Move-in for students participating in Pre-Orientation programs for undergraduate International Students and Students of Color (registration required, student move-in times are listed on the Housing Portal)
  • August 22-24: Student of Color Pre-Orientation and International Student Pre-Orientation.
  • August 24 - August 30: New Student Orientation for first-year and transfer students
    • August 24 - Groovin’ with the Move-In: Day 1 of Move-in for on-campus residential undergraduate students (student move-in times are listed on the Housing Portal)
    • August 25 - Welcome and Wander Wednesday: Day 2 of Move-in
    • August 26 - Thriving Thursday
    • August 27 - Foundation Friday
    • August 28 - Social Saturday
    • August 29 - Showstopper Sunday
    • August 30 - Make Your Mark Monday
    • August 31: First day of Fall semester classes (Monday class schedule observed)
  • August 31 through September 3: Week of Welcome programming
  • Parent and Family Orientation: Information about Parent and Family Orientation can be found here.

Undergraduate New Student Orientation is mandatory for all incoming students, regardless if you live on campus, live off-campus, or are studying online as a remote learner. There will be options to virtually participate in Orientation for those who are unable to physically be on campus.

If you have questions, please email us at orientation [at] emerson.edu or leave a voicemail on the Orientation Hotline at 617-824-8638. The Orientation Team is happy to answer any and all questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out!

Date Event
Sunday, August 22 Pre-Orientation Move-in
Monday, August 23 Pre-Orientation
Tuesday, August 24 New Student Move-In
Wednesday, August 25 New Student Move-In,
Welcome and Wander Wednesday
Thursday, August 26 Thriving Thursday
Friday, August 27 Foundation Friday
Saturday, August 28 Social Saturday
Sunday, August 29 Showstopper Sunday
Monday, August 30 Make Your Mark Monday
Tuesday, August 31 First Day of Classes (Monday schedule observed)
Wednesday to Friday, September 1 to September 3 Week of Welcome


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Orientation?

The Undergraduate New Student Orientation Program is your guide to starting your journey at Emerson College. Orientation is a series of events about one week before the start of each academic semester set aside for incoming students. Driven by our mission, the goal of Orientation is to assist all undergraduate new students in their transition to Emerson. Not only do we want to introduce you to Emerson’s community and campus, but we want to give you opportunities to meet others, build connections, and take advantage of the resources that are available to you. We have a team of staff, faculty, and student leaders working hard to create an innovative program that allows you to connect with one another during a time when community is critically important.

Due to the unique and ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be continually monitoring the situation alongside the College. During the Fall 2021 program, we will offer as many in-person events and experiences as possible while maintaining safety for you, others in the Emerson community, and our neighbors in downtown Boston. We hope you’ll embrace all that Orientation has to offer---and, trust us, nobody does Orientation like Emerson!

When is Orientation?

Fall 2021 Undergraduate New Student Orientation will take place from Tuesday, August 24 through Monday, August 30. Students will be scheduled to move-in on either August 24 or August 25, and programming will begin once students arrive and through August 30.

There are two Pre-Orientation programs taking place August 22 and August 23: Student of Color Pre-Orientation and International Student Pre-Orientation. Pre-Orientation programming may continue through August 24. Registration for these programs is required and can be done through the Admitted Student Portal, once available. Students registered for the programs will move in on August 22 at time to be determined.

Week of Welcome (August 31 through September 3) keeps the Orientation spirit going with events geared toward all new and returning students, and especially our transfer and off-campus students, to celebrate the beginning of a new semester.

Will Orientation be virtual or in-person?

Due to the unique and ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be continually monitoring the situation alongside the College. During the Fall 2021 program, we will offer as many in-person events and experiences as possible while maintaining safety for you and others in the Emerson community. The most up-to-date information regarding College decisions around COVID-19 can be found on emerson.edu/one-emerson. If you are a remote learner (online-only student), you will still have opportunities to participate in events during Orientation, including any mandatory events.

Note: Emerson is providing this information based on its current plans and in accordance with health and safety information currently available. Emerson may, in its discretion, or under direction of government or health authorities, change plans regarding modalities of courses or activities, and physical access to any facilities.

How will move-in for on campus students work?

At your designated move-in time, please arrive at the testing center to complete your COVID test. The address of the testing center is 116 Harrison Avenue and the entrance is one Kneeland Street. Then, arrive at your residence halls to be met by a team of Orientation Leaders, Resident's Assistants, Move-In assistants, and Staff who will help you check in. Your two hour move-in window for guests starts once you arrive at your residence hall. If you have a car with you, it will unload in front of your residence hall, then be asked to park in a nearby garage. Further parking information will be communicated soon. OLs, and Move-In Assistants will cart your belongings up to your room, so you and your registered move-in guests don't have to lift a finger!

3-ply masks or face coverings will again be required in all spaces on the Boston campus, inside and outside of campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Should you need a mask, each security desk has a limited supply of disposable 3-ply masks or a cloth reusable mask can be picked up at the Information Desk at 172 Tremont Street. As a reminder, gaiters, bandanas, face shields without a mask or masks with vents are not sufficient protectors. 
Masks are not required in personal office spaces and residential rooms unless you have others visiting those spaces.  

Are there Orientation sessions for parents & family members?

The Parent and Family Orientation for Fall 2021 will be a combination of virtual events and tentatively, an in-person event that will coincide with new student move-in. The virtual events may be attended live, and will also be recorded for viewing at a later time:

  • July 21, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • July 28, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • August 4, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • August 11, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • August 18, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

The tentative In-person Orientation will be on August 24, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, repeated on August 25th at the same time.  Parents may choose one day to attend.  If circumstances make it impossible to host the event in-person, we will offer it virtually.  

In-Person Orientation will include “Parenting Your Lion During the College Years".

More information about parent and family orientation can be found here.

Be sure to have your parents and family members join the Emerson College Parents and Families of Newly Accepted Students Facebook Group for frequent updates from Maureen Hurley, Director of Student Transitions and Family Programs, and other Emerson staff members. If you have questions about orientation programming for parents and families, please email parents [at] emerson.edu.

What technology is required to participate Orientation? 

Please note that to fully participate in virtual Orientation sessions, students will need a laptop, tablet, or cell phone (with access to platforms like Zoom and an internet browser), in addition to having a reliable internet connection. It is suggested that these devices be audio- and video-enabled to participate in sessions. If you have any tech support or requirement issues, please submit a request to the Emerson IT Help Desk.

In addition to Zoom, Orientation will utilize the following platforms: Slack, Canvas, and EmConnect. More information about these platforms will be sent via email to new students.

What is Slack? How can I stay connected prior to and during Orientation?

As a new student, you will be invited to join us on the Orientation Slack. Slack is a channel-based messaging platform designed for collaboration and communication for internal teams and closed communities. Many companies use Slack to allow for quicker team collaboration as an alternative to long email threads. Similar to email, Slack allows users to send files, pictures, videos and chat messages. At Emerson, many students, staff, and faculty choose to communicate on Slack to stay connected and share information.

We have created a Slack Workspace just for Orientation so you can meet your classmates, ask questions, and learn about important Fall 2021 Orientation updates in realtime. There are desktop and mobile app versions for Slack and it is very user-friendly.

You can join the Emerson Orientation Slack by using your Emerson email address. Here are the steps:

  • Visit this link to sign up: https://join.slack.com/t/emersonorientation/signup
  • Create an account using your emerson email address by doing one of the following:
    • Enter your Emerson email address to join (your email address in the format: firstname_lastname [at] emerson.edu)
    • Or click “Sign-in with Google” and use your Emerson email address and password to log into the Emerson Google suite
  • Please note you will need to sign in using an email address that ends in @emerson.edu or it will not allow you to access the Slack Workspace.
  • Bookmark the link to access Slack in the future: emersonorientation.slack.com

Remember: Slack is only useful if you’re receiving messages! Be sure to set your notification preferences by clicking on the Emerson Orientation Slack Workspace icon at the top-left >> preferences >> then select Notify me about… all new messages so you don’t miss anything!

Here is a how-to guide on joining a Slack Workspace with links to different help articles for navigating Slack. Feel free to reach out to us at orientation [at] emerson.edu or DM us at @emersonorientation on Instagram if you have any questions! We’re happy to help.

We look forward to connecting with you on Slack!

Do I need to get a COVID-19 vaccine before I move onto campus?

Yes. Unless students have a medical or religious exception, all students studying in-person must be vaccinated for the Fall semester. Students must upload proof of their vaccination to the Student Health Portal by July 15, 2021. Unvaccinated individuals (without an approved exemption) will not be able to move into the residence halls or attend in-person classes. If you have requested a medical or religious exemption, the form along with medical documentation must also be uploaded to the Student Health Portal by July 15, 2021 and the College will then be in touch with students to review the exemption request. International students and students living outside of the US who may need an extension to the July 15 deadline due to limited vaccine access or a desire to receive the vaccine upon arrival in the United States will receive information from the Office of International Student Affairs shortly. Residential students meeting that criteria will need to apply for an early arrival with Housing and Residential Education, and will be expected to get vaccinated and upload a copy of their vaccination record within 24-72 hours of their arrival to the residence hall. 

If you have additional questions about the vaccine, staff from the Center for Health & Wellness are available over the summer. Please reach out to them at healthservices [at] emerson.edu.

What are the Pre-Orientation Programs?

Emerson College offers two pre-orientation programs, Student of Color Pre-Orientation and International Student Pre-Orientation. These programs give students an opportunity to move-in early, learn about on- and off-campus resources, meet other students, and start to build community before Orientation with all first-time Emerson students begins. Pre-Orientation starts on Sunday, August 22 and concludes on Tuesday, August 24. Students who attend these Pre-Orientation programs will move-in on Sunday, August 22. New students can register for these programs when they register for orientation on their Emerson Admission Portal. Student of Color Pre-Orientation and International Student Pre-Orientation are planned and facilitated by student leaders, the Office of Intercultural Student Affairs, and the Office of International Student Affairs.

For more information about Student of Color Pre-Orientation, feel free to contact intercultural [at] emerson.edu. For additional information about International Student Pre-Orientation, please contact orientation [at] emerson.edu.

Do I have to register for orientation?

Yes! Students can register for orientation through their Emerson Admission Portal. Students also received an email in their Emerson email accounts with more information about how to sign up for orientation. Orientation is mandatory for all new students and registration forms are due by July 16.

Who plans orientation?

New Student Undergraduate Orientation is run by student leaders, Orientation Leaders and Orientation Coordinators, and by the Office of Student Transitions and Family Programs in collaboration with many offices and departments across the college.

How do I become an Orientation Leader?

Applications to be Orientation Leaders for Fall Orientations will go live in the Spring semester and be advertised through email and on the Student Transitions and Family Programs EmConnect page. Students who fill out the initial application will then be asked to sign up for an interview. For more information about this position, look at the OL expectations and eligibility listed below:

OL Expectations 

  • Develop working, open relationships with other Orientation Leaders, Orientation Coordinators, Resident Assistants, Move-in Assistants, International Student Peer Mentors, Emersion Peer Mentors, and other students and staff at the College. 
  • Assist members of Core Staff, Student Transitions and Family Programs staff and other Orientation Leaders when needed. 
  • Commit to exploring aspects of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice during OL Training and Orientation as it relates to you and others to create an inclusive community and learning environment 
  • Communicate suggestions and concerns to the appropriate staff members as they arise. 
  • Act in a manner that assists the new students in adjusting to college throughout their first year.
  • Inform incoming students of pertinent college information and policies. 
  • Distribute all literature to new students as directed. 
  • Lend practical advice to new students and their families while stressing integration and involvement within the college community. 
  • Inform students about the Boston area activities and events available to them. 
  • Recognize and appreciate differences of individual student needs. 

OL Eligibility

  • Maintain good academic, financial, and social standing related to the College’s Community Standards at all times while serving in the OL position (professional staff members will perform these checks).
    • Specifically, maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA, maintain good standing with the Student Accounts office, and be free of housing and/or disciplinary probation as notified by the College. 
  • Maintain and uphold all College policies as stated in the Undergraduate Student Handbook