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Female students participating in the games during welcome weekend on campus.

Campus Life

Welcome to USF!

You might think your First Year Experience (FYE) starts on your first day of classes. In reality, your FYE begins with getting oriented to the university well before the start of the semester. Through our New Student Orientation (NSO) online and Campus Connection Day on campus, you will be prepared for all that awaits you in your FYE! Whether you are a first-time freshman or a transfer student, we want to ensure that you are equipped with the information, resources, and relationships needed for a transformational college experience at USF! Students may also visit the FYE page on My Cougar Connection to sign up for Campus Connection Day.

New Student Orientation (NSO)

The online NSO is a wealth of information and resources. Designed to be engaging and informative, NSO will walk you through some next steps and introduce you to the key elements of the student experience. Online NSO is updated for each incoming class. All new students are required to complete the online orientation and can expect to hear from the FYE office when the orientation launch is ready!

Campus Connection Day

Spend the day on campus and familiarize yourself with your new home away from home! Campus Connection Day focuses on key interpersonal connections and knowledge of campus facilities, grounds, and resources. Confirmed and enrolled students can sign up for Campus Connection Day, choosing between June and July dates. To sign up, students can log on to My Cougar Connection and find the Orientation page under First Year Experience, or use the link provided in communication from the Office of First Year Experience.

Tentative Schedule

10 a.m. – Doors Open
North Campus Auditorium
Students will check in and receive group assignment upon arrival. Check-in will be in the lobby of our North Campus Auditorium. Coffee and water will be served while our guests arrive and make their way into the Auditorium for the Welcome Session.

10:30 a.m. – Welcome
North Campus Auditorium
The First Year Experience Team will welcome new students and their parents and provide some guidance and overview for the day.

11 a.m. – Sacred Time
North Campus Auditorium
USF observes Sacred Time from 11 to 11:30 a.m. each weekday during the school year. In this session, Campus Ministry will explain Sacred Time and the various ways students, faculty, and staff participate. Rooted in our Catholic and Franciscan identity, it is important to us to welcome all, regardless of faith tradition. This session will help to demystify Sacred Time and demonstrate to all students how to make this time personally meaningful.

11:30 a.m. – Lunch + Meet Some Fine Folks Program
North Campus Gymnasium
Guests will enjoy a buffet lunch and get to know some of the key support people for first-year students at USF. We’ll put some staff and faculty in “the hot seat” to get the scoop on who they really are, and we’ll test their knowledge – and yours – on USF trivia. Audience participation will be encouraged, so get ready for some games and prizes!

1 p.m. – Parent Program
North Campus Auditorium/Cougar Den
This session provides parents with key insights into the student orientation experience as well as presenting opportunities to learn from and connect with other parents. The Director of First Year Experience and Student Leadership will share highlights of the online New Student Orientation and lead a panel discussion with experienced parents of USF students. Parents may then enjoy a social hour in The Cougar Den, home of our new coffee shop, Holy Grounds, where special refreshments and coffee will be served. During this time parents will also have these opportunities:

  • Visit and learn about St. Francis Chapel from one of our Sisters
  • Take a guided tour of a residence hall.
  • Take a self-guided tour of Brookside.
  • Relax on a riding tour of the main campus.
  • Visit the Campus Shoppe in the Pope John Paul II Center and build up your USF gear collection!

1 p.m. – Student Program
Academic Building Tours
Led by our Orientation and Welcome Leaders (OWLs), students will take a guided tour of all seven of our academic buildings on campus. Students will learn the locations of various academic buildings, the resources and spaces in each building, and how to identify their classrooms on their schedules and find them in each of these academic spaces.

3:30 p.m. – Connections Fair
The Junction (behind Cougar Den)
Parents and students will reunite for the Connections Fair, highlighting several resources across campus. This is a prime opportunity to connect with the key resources that will support first-year students throughout the year. Areas represented will include:

  • TRiO SSS
  • Student One Stop (Student Finances)
  • Creative Dining
  • Library
  • Campus Shoppe
  • Student Accessibility Services
  • Career Services
  • Residential Life and Student Engagement
  • Teaching and Learning Services
  • Multicultural Center
  • University Technology Services
  • Fort Financial Credit Union
  • ROTC
  • USF Athletics

Our campus chaplain celebrates Mass at 9 a.m. Saturdays in the beautiful St. Francis Chapel. Parents and students are invited to join as we start our day with prayer. The St. Francis Chapel is located on the east side of Mirror Lake, adjacent to the Pope John Paul II Center and the Achatz Hall of Science and John and Toni Murray Research Center.