Frequently asked questions about orientation

Here are answers to the questions we are asked most frequently about Orientation at Seattle Pacific. If you don’t see the answer to your question, you can email orientation@spu.edu or call 206-281-2247.

General information

What is Orientation?
Orientation is a five-day event jam-packed with opportunities for you to meet and engage with your peers; learn all about SPU; meet key faculty, staff, and administrators; and simply acclimate to this new season at SPU.

When is Orientation?

  • Orientation is a five-day event that starts with Move-In on the Wednesday before classes start and continues through to Sunday.
  • This year’s dates: Sept. 8–11.
  • Parent and Guest Orientation takes place on Thursday, Sept. 8 and Friday, Sept. 9.

Where can I find the schedule?

What do my parents and/or guests do while I’m at Orientation?
Check out our Parent and Guest Orientation program

How do I register for Orientation?
Students register for Orientation here. Note: Students must also register on behalf of their guests. 

Is Orientation mandatory? Do I need to attend the whole time?
Attending Orientation is mandatory for all first-year and transfer students. Our Orientation program is an essential combination of informative sessions to help new students navigate SPU and opportunities to make connections with other new students. All first-year students and new students living on campus are required to attend the full four-day Orientation.

For transfer students who are unable to make Thursday through Saturday's events, we offer an abbreviated Orientation on Sunday, Sept. 11, called Transfer Express.

When do parents and/or guests typically leave their students?
Parents and guests are encouraged to say goodbye to their students at the conclusion of New Student Convocation on Thursday mid-afternoon

Is there a make-up Orientation?
We do not offer a make-up Orientation. If you have further questions or concerns about this, email orientation@spu.edu

Can we arrive late/leave early?
Students living on campus must show up during their move in block (A-K, 9-noon; L-Z 1-5).

Students living off campus are invited to check in with their guests and enjoy optional events at any time on Wednesday.

Everyone should plan on attending Welcome Dinner and Opening Welcome.

Persons unable to attend Thursday night may choose to check in on Friday morning before our official programming begins.

See more information in the “Move In Day” section.

Where do I go if I have questions while I'm on campus?
The staff at Orientation Central will be able to answer any questions you or your guests have while on campus! On Thursday, Orientation Central will be located in the same place as Orientation Check In Upper Gwinn. Friday through Sunday, Orientation Central will be located in the Student Union Building’s Gazebo Room.

What if I need accommodations at Orientation?

  • If you need any accommodations other than move-in times (students, parents, and guests), please email orientation@spu.edu.
  • Examples of prior accommodations include wheelchair accessibility, interpretation services, reserved seating, etc.
  • Please note: We cannot accommodate a new or changed move-in time.

What are Orientation Leaders?
Orientation Leaders are students who volunteer their time to lead new groups of students through the four-day Orientation program. They have been trained during the summer to ensure you will have a successful transition into college life.

When do classes start?
Autumn Quarter classes start on Monday, Sept. 12. 

What if I have more questions?
If you have any questions, email orientation@spu.edu or contact the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at 206-281-2247.


Cost

What is the cost and what does it pay for?

  • All students (first-year and transfer) pay a mandatory $125 Orientation fee, which will be charged directly to their student account regardless of what program they attend.
  • This fee covers Orientation meals, supplies, T-shirt, activities, and all other costs associated with Orientation.
  • There is no additional fee for parents or guests. A portion of the fee covers the costs of the Parent and Guest Orientation program.

What if I am not attending every event? Do I still have to pay?
All students (first-year and transfer) will be charged a mandatory $125 orientation fee — charged directly to their student account — even if they do not attend the program in its entirety.

Is there an adjusted cost for parents and siblings?
There is no additional fee for parents or guests. A portion of the fee covers the costs of the Parent and Guest Orientation program.

Where do I pay to attend Orientation? Is this attached to my registration?
The Orientation fee is charged directly to a student’s account, and it should be charged to the student’s account by the first billing cycle in Autumn Quarter.


Move-In Day

When can I move in? What happens on move-in day?

  • If you are living on campus, you will be able to move in on Thursday, Sept. 8, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Between mid-July and mid-August, students living on campus will receive their housing assignment via email.
  • On Thursday, September 8, student move in is coordinated based on the first letter of the student’s last name.
    • Students with last name starting A-K may move in from 9 a.m. to 12 (noon)
    • Students with last name starting L-Z may move in from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • At your selected check-in time, you will be able to check in at Orientation Central and gain access to your residential living area to begin the move-in process.
  • When you first arrive on campus, park in one of our open parking lots (Dravus or Ross Lot, #45 and #51 on the campus map) and make your way to Orientation Check-In in Upper Gwinn to check in. 
  • After you have checked in, you will be directed to your respective living area and greeted by a student volunteer who will give you a 45-minute parking pass. You will then be directed to park in a designated parking space near the living area.
  • After you move your belongings into your living space, you will be asked to move your car to the designated parking lot — Dravus or Ross lots, #45 and #51 on the campus map — to provide more space for the next wave of new students.
  • Please note: If you are not living on campus, you’re invited to check in at Orientation Check-In any time between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. or between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m on Wednesday, Sept. 8, or between 8 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Families and Guests

Is there a program for families and guests? When do things officially end for parents?

  • Yes! Parents and guests are invited to help their student move in, if their student is living on campus. During move-in, there will be open houses with faculty and staff from offices across the university — watch for them in the afternoon. We then invite you to a Welcome Dinner that evening, catered by a local Mexican restaurant.
  • Parent and Guest Orientation is a one-day program that runs concurrently with the student program on Friday. Parent and Guest Orientation begins with a light continental breakfast before sessions begins in Upper Gwinn at 10 a.m. The parent and guest programming concludes Friday afternoon after “New Student Convocation.”
  • See a detailed schedule here.
  • Parent Orientation is not required but encouraged, especially if this is your first student attending SPU. 

Where should we stay?

  • The SPU website has a list of suggested hotels and businesses in the area. Please visit this page for more information.

How do we register for Orientation?

  • Family and guests are registered by their student on the student’s registration form. If updates need to be made, students can access their form via the link provided in their registration confirmation email to change guest information.

Are meals provided for families and guests?

  • Lunch on Thursday, Sept. 8, is on your own, though we encourage you to check out the on-campus dining options
  • Meals for parents and guests are as follows:
    • Thursday, Sept. 8, dinner
    • Friday, Sept. 9, continental breakfast (grab and go) and a catered lunch

Travel/Transportation

How do I get to campus?

Where do I park when I arrive on campus?

  • You can park in the Dravus and Ross lots (#45  and #51 on the campus map)
  • If you are moving your student into their on-campus housing, you will be given a 45-minute parking pass for the specialized parking lot located nearest your student’s living area.

Where do I get my parking permit?

  • During Orientation, all private SPU parking lots are free for new students and their guests to park in. However, the University reserves the right to remove vehicles that are parked improperly. We recommend that guests use university lots rather than parking on the street in our surrounding neighborhoods. If families or students choose to park on city streets, we encourage you to pay close attention to the parking signage.
  • If you’re a new student who wants to park on campus during the academic year, a permit is required. Here is information about parking permits.

Where can family and friends eat and stay?


Meals

When do meal plans start for students? Are meals covered during Orientation?

  • Lunch and breakfast are on your own during move-in day on Thursday, Sept. 8.
  • Thursday (dinner) and Friday (breakfast and lunch) for parents and guests are included with the cost of attending Orientation. 
  • Orientation will cover all meals for new students who are attending Orientation from Thursday evening through Sunday.
  • Orientation will provide meal tickets for students who are not on a meal plan for the dates of Orientation.
  • Meal plans for all students who have them will be in effect on Thursday morning.

Special Population

What if I am an athlete and I move in before Orientation?

  • Our athletes often move in at different points. Please work with your coach on your specific move-in day and time.
  • Student athletes will still need to check in at Orientation Wednesday or at Orientation Central on Thursday morning. Orientation check-in will provide you with important information that you will need to know for the duration of our program.

What if I am a Dining Services employee and I move in before Orientation?

  • Work with your supervisor for your specific move-in day and time.
  • Students will still need to check in at Orientation Check-in Upper Gwinn on Wednesday, or at Orientation Central on Thursday morning. Orientation check-in will provide you with important information that you will need to know for the duration of our program.

What if I am attending Early Connections?

  • Please wait to hear from our Multi-Ethnic Programs (mep@spu.edu) office for your specific move-in day and time. Please also note that Early Connections is an invitation-only program.
  • Students will still need to check in at Orientation Check-In Upper Gwinn on Thursday or at Orientation Central on Friday morning. Orientation check-in will provide you with important information that you will need to know for the duration of our program.

I am an international student. Do I need to attend two Orientations?

  • Yes. Attendance at both programs is mandatory. International Orientation is a tailored program to meet the needs of international students and provides opportunities to meet other international students.
  • Orientation is a five-day event jam-packed with opportunities for you to meet and engage with your peers; learn all about SPU; meet key faculty, staff, and administrators; and simply acclimate to this new season at SPU.
  • International students can check in at Orientation Check-In Upper Gwinn on Thursday or at Orientation Central on Friday morning. Orientation check-in will provide you with important information that you will need for the duration of our program.