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Student Leadership Opportunities

Student Development and Orientation offers many opportunities for current students to enhance their leadership skills and help in the new student transition process at Western Illinois University. For more information on the Orientation Team, Student Orientation Staff, or Minority Student Orientation Ambassadors, visit

Orientation Team

The Orientation Team (O-Team) is an elite group of 12 student leaders who assist with orientation programs and Fall Orientation. O-Team members serve as a guide and resource to new students and their families in their Western Illinois University transition.

Minority Student Orientation Ambassadors

Minority Student Orientation (MSO) Ambassadors assist with Minority Student Orientation during Fall Orientation. Ambassadors facilitate MSO sessions for incoming students of color, offering additional assistance in students’ transition from home to Western and the Macomb community.

Academic Assistance

Student Development and Orientation (SDO) offers support to students experiencing academic difficulties resulting from a variety of situations, as well as personal challenges of any
kind that may be impacting their academics. Academic assistance is available in the following areas:

  • Academic success
  • Academic status
  • Study skills
  • Tutoring
  • Time management
  • Writing skills
  • Academic major and career exploration

SDO can help find the right campus resource for any particular circumstance/

University Withdrawals and Exit Interviews

SDO conducts exit interviews when students are contemplating withdrawing from the University to ensure students are aware of all options and alternatives when making this critical decision. SDO can provide insights that may impact a student’s decision to withdraw. Check the Student Handbook for important dates.

Student Absence Policy

Students who have missed or will be missing classes are encouraged to contact Student Development and Orientation (SDO) for documentation purposes. It is the students’ responsibility to discuss the situation with their faculty in accordance with each faculty member’s guidelines for absences. However, SDO staff will serve as a contact for students when they are unable to make direct contact with faculty in extreme emergencies.

Emergency and Crisis Follow-Up Assistance

Student Development and Orientation (SDO) serves as an emergency contact for students experiencing immediate health, emergency, or personal issues that may affect their academic performance. For students in crisis, the office acts as a liaison between students, family members, faculty, University personnel, and/or community agencies. SDO staff provides academic and moral support to those who have experienced a personal tragedy. In case of the death of a student or immediate family member, the staff assists with necessary notifications.

Freshman Summer Orientation and Registration (SOAR)

Summer Orientation and Registration (SOAR) is a required program for new freshmen. Each two-day session is designed to promote personal academic success and individual development. Informative presentations, small group discussions, academic advising, placement exercises, and class registration are designed to help students enter the University informed and confident about their upcoming years at Western Illinois University. SOAR is one of the first steps that students take in their transition to Western.

First Year Experience (FYE)

New freshmen will participate in two components of the First Year Experience (FYE) program.

FYE Classes:

Freshmen will enroll in two FYE courses, one each semester. In this program, students participate in extracurricular activities and attend small classes led by a faculty member and peer mentor to start off their college
career on a path toward academic success. 

FYE Residence Halls:

Students are given the opportunity to meet and live with other freshmen. Residence life staff provides FYE program sessions designed to assist students in the residence halls with their academic and personal transition into the University environment and residence hall community. All freshman residents are encouraged to participate in FYE sessions and programs that help them become actively involved in their residence hall and campus community. Some topics include healthy relationships, time management, study skills, and campus resources.

A current list of FYE courses can be viewed online at Course Offerings.

Transfer Registration

Transfer New Student Registration programs are available for students who have been accepted to Western Illinois University. Students who have not completed the required English composition course and/or an approved math class at their previous institution are required to attend a scheduled Transfer New Student Registration program. These programs include placement testing for those who need it, advising, class registration, and an orientation to Western. Students will learn about the campus, academic programs, financial aid, on- and off-campus living options, and student support services. There are two transfer New
Student Registration programs scheduled in the spring and summer.

Fall Orientation

Incoming freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to begin their future at Western by learning about the campus and its many programs, services, and resources. Student Development and Orientation coordinates many activities and social events to help new students adjust to college life. Fall Orientation kicks off with the President’s New Student Convocation and the President’s Family Picnic. New students also have the opportunity to attend a session with a Student Orientation Staff (SOS) leader to learn about all of the resources on campus and ask any questions about the University. The week also includes various open houses around campus and an activities fair that encourages students to become involved on campus.

President's New Student Convocation

Convocation is a memorable event that ushers in the traditions and history of Western Illinois University. At this traditional ceremony, the WIU president, faculty, staff, and students will officially welcome new students and family members to Western. It’s an opportunity to meet new people and celebrate the start of an academic journey!

Everyone is invited to an all-campus picnic immediately following Convocation.