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Launching the Student Journey: Orientation Kicks Off Academic Year at UMW

August 18, 2023

The University of Montana Western will hold New Student Orientation from Thursday, August 24 to Sunday, August 27.

Orientation at Montana Western is designed to welcome first year and transfer students to campus as well as prepare them for the academic year. Throughout the four days, students will have the opportunity to engage with their peers, faculty members, and staff through a series of interactive sessions, ice-breaker activities, and team-building exercises before classes begin on Monday, August 28. These experiences not only help build new friendships but also lay the foundation for a supportive network that extends throughout their academic journey.

“By participating in New Student Orientation, students will be introduced to Experience One through immersive hands on activities, acquire skills to help them succeed in their university journey, and develop a sense of belonging and connection with other students, faculty, and staff,” said Mike Piazzola, Senior Director of Auxiliary Services.

The weekend of festivities begins on Thursday, August 24, as students settle into their new homes in the UMW Residence Halls. Members of the campus and Dillon community are invited to volunteer on Move-In Day to help welcome new students to Montana Western. To sign up, please visit and submit the “Montana Western Moving Company” online form.

The ceremonial beginning of the academic year, Convocation, will take place on Friday, August 25, at 10:30 a.m. in the Straugh Gymnasium followed by the Legacy Plaza Ceremony with special guest speaker and alumnus B.J. Robertson, current MSU Associate Head Football Coach and Special Teams Coordinator. A Welcome Lunch for students, families, faculty, and staff will follow on the campus lawn in front of Mathews Hall.

New for this year, an “Academic Exploration” session will be held at the Birch Creek Center on Friday afternoon. Students, faculty, and staff will venture north of Dillon for an afternoon of exploring the beautiful Pioneer Mountains with faculty.

Orientation events will continue through the weekend with engaging sessions dedicated to student success, a football scrimmage, hike to the M, and many other activities designed for students to explore Dillon and the surrounding areas. 

For the full schedule of events, please visit