Skip to main content

Convocation in Frost Amphitheater marks the beginning of New Student Orientation

The 131st Opening Convocation Ceremony, which will inaugurate the academic year on Tuesday, also marks the start of New Student Orientation for first-year and transfer students.

When President Marc Tessier-Lavigne addresses new undergraduate students and their families Tuesday at the 131st Opening Convocation Ceremony, the event will be the first of many welcomes across campus for the newest members of the Stanford community.

Stanford will welcome the Class of 2025 and new transfer students to campus next week during the Opening Convocation Ceremony and New Student Orientation. (Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

Tessier-Lavigne will welcome students and their families in person, speaking from the stage of Frost Amphitheater. Due to the pandemic, attendance is limited to ticket holders. Everyone else is invited to watch the ceremony via Livestream.

The ceremony inaugurates the new academic year and marks the first day of New Student Orientation (NSO), six days of events and programs designed to introduce first-year and new transfer students to academic, social and cultural life on the Farm.

Stanford has invited families of new undergrads to spend Tuesday on campus and attend virtual and in-person events. At the Family Welcome Booth in White Plaza, visitors can pick up copies of A Student’s Guide to Stanford, a colorful campus map created by student members of the NSO team. The map includes a chart of Stanford lingo – MemAud, the Farm, the Oval – and a list of Stanford traditions, from fountain hopping to Wacky Walk. Families are also invited to get to know the campus by going on a self-guided scavenger hunt created by students.

During NSO, which continues for students through Sunday, new undergrads will meet university leaders, members of the faculty and staff and current students. The events and programs are designed to help students make connections with people, places and programs across campus, and to gain an understanding of Stanford’s expectations and opportunities.

NSO is the culmination of Approaching Stanford, the summer process that guided students in the transition to life on campus. In addition to placement tests, students learned what residence halls they would soon call home, and took online courses on key topics, including the Honor Code, alcohol education and sexual assault prevention.

Edith Wu-Nguyen, associate dean and director of new student programs, said it is a privilege to be part of the team that welcomes new students to campus each year and to work with colleagues dedicated to making it a memorable experience for students.

“To this day, I still have vivid memories of moving into my residence hall at Stanford, sitting at Convocation and meeting so many, many people,” said Wu-Nguyen, ’99. “I hope our new students feel embraced by the Stanford community – just as I did. In time, I hope they will think of this place as home.”

Signature events

During Discover Stanford, Provost Persis Drell and Sarah Church, vice provost for undergraduate education, will share their thoughts and perspectives on the purpose of a liberal education, speaking from the stage at Frost Amphitheater.

Students will also hear hip-hop artist Ramiro Maxeechoga Hampson-Medina, a Stanford senior (Mexican, Winnebago, White Earth Chippewa) perform an original song about racial equity.

This year’s “Faces of Community,” a collection of student performances, will focus on the themes of resilience, rejuvenation and regrowth through student monologues, music and spoken word.

Incoming students will attend Beyond Sex Ed: Consent and Sexuality at Stanford, a program of personal stories from fellow students about sexuality and relationships, interspersed with a presentation about how human sexuality fits into life, community and culture.

Students are invited to participate in Three Books – a cherished Stanford tradition. Over the summer, Stanford invited students to read two books, watch a movie and listen to a podcast in preparation for a panel discussion featuring three of the people who created those works – a writer, a playwright and a professor.

During NSO, students will be welcomed by community groups, including The Markaz, which is hosting a lunch and offering henna tattoos, and Queer Community Resources, which is inviting students to the Lake Lagunita firepit for a bonfire, music and s’mores.

Stanford’s undergraduate research team is offering two programs – one to introduce students to research – what it is and how to do it – and another to share information about programs and grants for students who are ready to dive into research projects.

New students are also invited to join BEAM, Stanford Career Education and the Stanford Life Design Lab in interactive workshops and imagine three radically different versions of their college experience at Stanford.

Fun, games and football

NSO also includes a variety of social events, all held outdoors with COVID-19 protocols, such as swing, hip-hop and square dancing, a video game night on Wilbur Field and frisbee golf on Meyer Green.

Earlier this year, Stanford organized undergraduate residences into eight neighborhoods; during NSO the university will host the first neighborhood socials of the year.

Roble Art Gym is inviting students to “come and play” in its creative arts space – supplies and equipment provided.

Students will meet the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band during the NSO Football Watch Party in Stanford Stadium. Students will watch the Cardinal battle Vanderbilt University at its home stadium in Tennesee on a video screen.