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The Freshman Experience

At Spring Arbor University, we want to see you succeed while you’re here (and long after you’ve graduated). To help you achieve collegiate success, we have designed and developed Welcome Week and Community of Learners (COL) 100. These programs are intended to ensure that students get connected on day one, and have support and resources throughout the rest of their first year at SAU.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week provides every incoming freshman with a dynamic, interactive experience intended as an introduction to SAU. Students easily transition to college life as they participate in a series of activities and events that acquaint them with their new home. They have opportunities to meet fellow classmates, introduce themselves to the faculty and staff, and learn more about the student organizations and ministries on campus. Here they will also meet their core group, which consists of 15 freshmen, an upper-class peer adviser and their COL 100 instructor. If SAU is their new home, COL 100 serves as their surrogate family during their freshman year. Learn more about Welcome Week here.

What is a Peer Advisor?

What is a Peer Advisor?

A peer advisor, or PA, is an upperclassman who helps to lead your core group and is also here to show you around campus, listen to your concerns, laugh with you, chat with you, cry with you and stay up all night with you if need them to. They are here to help new students navigate their way through freshman year at SAU.

Who are peer advisors?

Check out some of the definitions of “Peer Advisor” that SAU PAs have given:

“A Peer Advisor is someone that you can go to with the ups and downs of life and they are going to walk along side of you no matter where you are on your journey.” – Emmaleigh Boardway

“A PA is a friend. Yet, they are slightly different from one’s regular friends in that the PA is always serving and setting a good example. They are always there for their core group. A PA is never self-seeking.”  – Brad Baker

“A PA is a model of Christian character – especially in the aspect of serving others before serving him or herself.” – James Grant

What is Cedar Bend?

What is Cedar Bend?

The Cedar Bend weekend, a part of your COL 100 experience, is a weekend camping trip with around 15 other freshman, sleeping outdoors, canoeing down the river, experiencing God in nature, preparing your own meals and reconnecting with life from back in the day.

Cedar Bend is a required part of your COL 100 experience. Because of this, we need to make sure you don’t have a schedule conflict with your assigned weekend. To help us assign you appropriately, please inform Student Development of any schedule conflicts you may have before August 13. If you have conflicts with any of the dates listed below, please contact Carrie Williams at Carrie.Williams@arbor.edu or 517.750.1370. We also need to know the reason why you cannot attend a particular weekend. We will do our best to accommodate your requests.

Please Note – You do not need to select the date you want to go to Cedar Bend because you will go with your core group on their assigned date. However, you may send us two dates that may not work with your schedule and we will do our best to adjust the schedule to fit your needs.

If you are a fall athlete, your coach will communicate your availability to us.

Packing List

  • Warm sleeping bag
  • Small pillow
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Toiletries
  • Warm outdoors clothes and light relaxing clothes. Hoodies or coats are great!
  • Four pairs of socks
  • Two pairs of shoes and a pair of boots/work shoes
  • Gloves and hat
  • Waterproof rain gear (an absolute must)
  • Flashlight
  • A water-proof camera (if you want to take pictures)
  • Money (for food on the way there and on the way back)
  • Prescription and medication needs (please let your instructor know about any special documented health problems you have before this week)
  • Insurance information (policy number and company name; card would be better)
  • Small scripture and reading stuff (bring some homework to do)
  • Hands of willingness to try new things
  • Eyes of selflessness to see others’ needs
  • Heart of encouragement to lift each other up
  • Ears of sensitivity to hear what God is saying
  • Arms of helpfulness to get stuff done
  • Feet of enthusiasm to go through the weekend with joy

Do not bring watches, cell phones, personal music players or video games. These interfere with the goals of Cedar Bend.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Other Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I bring with me?
    Please read “What is Cedar Bend” above. Also remember to pack clothes, blankets, pillows, sheets, your laptop, all your charger chords, your Bible, notebooks and pens/pencils. You might also consider bringing an umbrella, a fan, any musical instruments you play, a gaming console and TV, and a mini-fridge.
  • What is Welcome Week?
    Welcome Week is a time designed to help you get acclimated to Spring Arbor University. It’s an opportunity for new students to begin making friends, discovering campus, getting answers to their most pressing questions and meeting some of the faculty.
  • Do I need to register for Welcome Week?
    No. Welcome Week is a requirement for all new students, so you will automatically be signed up for it.
  • What if I don’t want to attend every event in Welcome Week or can’t because of a schedule conflict?
    Welcome Week is required for all new students. Each event has been carefully planned to help integrate you into life at SAU. If you have a conflict that you absolutely can’t avoid (like a family wedding), then, upon your arrival, you should let your orientation leader know right away that you will miss a few hours.
  • When should parents/family members leave?
    Parents and family members should plan on staying through the Parting at the Plaza Celebration on Monday evening. This celebration will conclude around 5 p.m., so they can be on the road by then.
  • What if my student wants/needs to move in early?
    New students can begin the move-in process at 9 a.m. on the first day of Welcome Week (Monday). If your student is an athlete or a student worker, they will receive special move-in instructions from their specific department.
  • Where will I stay during Welcome Week?
    Students will move directly into their residence hall rooms for the semester/year. Parents will need to make their own arrangements at local hotels in the Jackson area if they need overnight lodging.
  • What do parents on Welcome Day (Monday)?
    We have designed a special session for parents on the first day of Welcome Week. Parents should plan on attending the session once they have helped move their student into their room. Parents of commuter students should try to attend as well.
  • Where do I go when I arrive at campus?
    Once you arrive on campus, look for a big welcome tent located just south of Gainey Hall. Once you check in, a team will help you unload your stuff and move into your room. After you have moved in, you can jump into the orientation day activities. If you are a commuter, check-in is still at the welcome tent, but you don’t have to be there until 3 p.m.
  • What should I bring with me for orientation and for my room?
    Freshman students will go on their Cedar Bend Weekend trip early in the semester. Check out our Cedar Bend packing list in the above section “What is Cedar Bend.” Try to pack for Cedar Bend beforehand so you won’t have to run home to get it before your trip.
  • How will I know which core group I’m in? (for freshmen)
    You will find out which core group you belong with when you get to your room. Commuters will find out when they check in. Your peer advisor (PA) will be around all day to welcome you and answer any questions you may have.
  • How and when can I get my books?
    Students have the option to purchase or rent their books through the SAU Bookstore. Books can be ordered online at www.SAUCampusStore.com or in person at the SAU on-campus bookstore.
  • What clubs or organizations are on campus? When and how do I sign up?
    You will have an opportunity during Welcome Week to learn about all the clubs, organizations and activities on campus. Our SAU Lo-Down on the last day of Welcome Week is designed to introduce you to all of the clubs, organizations and ministries on campus. You can sign up for a specific group during the Lo-Down or just gather information.
  • How can I print off my class schedule?
    Log in to the SAU portal at mysau3.arbor.edu/ics/. After signing in, click on Academics under the navigation panel on the left-hand side. Your schedule will be in the center of the screen. If you are not seeing it, make sure your preferences are set to right semester. Click on the printer icon (upper right hand corner. You may need to scroll over to see it). Click on the paper tab and change the paper orientation to landscape. Click OK.
  • When will my student get their meningitis vaccine that we ordered?
    Check in with the staff at the Holton Health and Wellness Center section of the welcome tent and they will let you know when to get the vaccination.

What if I have questions not found on this page?
Please email Aaron.Daigle@arbor.edu with any questions you may have regarding the move-in process or Welcome Week, or visit our Welcome Week page for a detailed schedule.

For more information

To learn more about what awaits students during their freshman year, contact:

Carrie Williams, director of student success and first year programming
517.750.6370
carrie.williams@arbor.edu