Highlights of “Breakthrough” 2019 orientation events

Credit: Marika Yang/Publisher Credit: Marika Yang/Publisher

Carnegie Mellon’s undergraduate orientation week begins this Sunday, Aug. 19, and will continue through Sunday, Aug. 26. The summer camp-esque orientation is a way to get to know people and surroundings before classes begin on Aug. 27.

This year’s theme is “Breakthough” signifying the “many breakthroughs, big and small, that you will achieve throughout your college transition and time at CMU,” according to the online guide that can be found at There are events that touch on all areas of life at Carnegie Mellon.

Orientation week can be a great way to get more information about your college, and to get any academic questions answered before beginning your first year.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., each college will have academic breakout sessions where parents and students can talk with their presiding college deans, advisors, and faculty members.

Drop in advising sessions will run on Tuesday, where students can come in and talk with academic advisors without having an appointment. These meetings can be great for finalizing one’s schedule, asking questions about adding or dropping courses, and getting general advice.

On Wednesday evening, each college hosts dinner and evening activities from 4:30 p.m. to midnight. In the afternoon, students will bus to different locations around Pittsburgh with their classmates from their college.

BXA Intercollege Degree Program and College of Fine Arts students will go to the Children’s Museum; College of Engineering students will enjoy an evening of laser tag at Zone28; Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences students will visit the Heinz History Center; Mellon College of Science students will explore the Carnegie Science Center; School of Computer Science students will tour the Google Pittsburgh offices; and Tepper School of Business students will attend a reception at PNC Bank’s Headquarters and visit the attractions in downtown Pittsburgh.

Academic Orientation is scheduled on Thursday (8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.), when students will have another opportunity to meet deans, professors, advisors, and learn about courses and expectations. This is followed by Convocation (5-6:10 p.m.) on the College of Fine Arts Lawn.

Carnegie Mellon offers a wide variety of extracurriculars, and orientation can be a great time to explore the options. On Tuesday, join the Mindfulness Room Open House (3-4 p.m.) to learn about their services, relax, and cultivate wellness through dog therapy. Therapy dogs will be present! There will also be sessions on Tuesday about service and civic engagement on campus (2-2:45 p.m.) and Greek Life. (1:30-2:30 p.m.)

On Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., the Club Sports Showcase will take place on The Cut, where students can try out different sports such as quidditch, lacrosse, and fencing. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there will also be religious events hosted by various organizations on campus. Greek Night, an opportunity to ‘meet and greet’ with all campus greek organizations, will also take place Sunday. (9:30-11:00 pm)


Some of the highlights of orientation are focused on building strong bonds between incoming first-years. At Playfair (Monday, 8-9:30 p.m.), called “the largest icebreaker ever!” students are encouraged to meet as many people they can in the class of 2023+. On Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., late Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture will be shown in McConomy Auditorium, followed by a time for discussion. Later that evening, students will take their class photo on the Baker Hall Lawn.

Often many students’ favorite event, Casino Night, is held on Thursday evening (8:30 p.m.-midnight), when students get to dress up for the week’s biggest social event with food, dancing, and table games. On Friday night (7-9:30 p.m.), students will compete in House Wars in their house colors and themes for the coveted Carnegie Cup. The First-Year Showcase will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday evening. Auditions and rehearsals are scheduled throughout the week to select the chosen few to perform for the class.