First-Year Learning Community

The Office of the First Year Experience exists to support every student during their transition to university life. Collaborating closely with faculty, staff, students and community partners, we provide a range of experiences both inside and outside the classroom, all designed to help our newest community members develop not only essential skills and knowledge, but also a deep sense of belonging.

In addition to giving a short introduction to the values which drive our work and help make Regis unique, this page highlights some mainstays of the First Year Experience. These are events and programs that happen every year, some hosted by the FYE, and some by our partners. In other words, this is your guide to the Regis traditions which we hope you'll remember and talk about for the rest of your life!


a marching band in jeans and t-shirts plays tuba, trumpets, saxophones, and base drums marches across the Quad while faculty in regalia cheer on the sidelines

Fall Convocation

Most people know that when it comes time to graduate from university, there's a big ceremony to celebrate. We get to wear robes and special hats while members of the university administration confer degrees and give out special awards on the graduating class. That ceremony is called "Commencement." But did you know that Commencement is just one ritual of university life? Among other ceremonies are the Fall and Spring Convocations. During the Fall Convocation, we come together to welcome our newest members, and give them an opportunity to officially sign their names into our community ledger. If Commencement marks the end of school, Fall Convocation is most certainly the beginning. A celebration not to be missed!

Busy, illustration reads Regis University Class of 2026 World Cafe Envisioning Our Community, "We believe we belong to each other," Thinking together, community, Inclusive, Empathy, Supportive, Respect, Open minded! Accepting, Equity, Welcoming, Having Fun, Accountable, Family Community Service, Cultivating Change. Includes drawings of smiling people, people embracing, talking, gardening and Main Hall. SOAR August 19th 2022

The World Café

Ours is a culture of open dialogue, in which every member of the community is welcome to share their ideas and perspectives about the world. But, some conversations are harder than others, and so we all have to do purposeful work to learn how to listen actively, speak thoughtfully, and communicate in a manner that is synthetic rather than confrontational. The World Café is a powerful method used to engage in conversations that matter, designed to offer an antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in today’s world.

Summer Essay Contest

Due to the FYE by the end of the first week of class; prompt available through Route to Regis on WorldClass.

Fall Fridays

One of the most unique things about Regis University is the Common Period. During the Fall Semester, every single first-year seminar meets during the same block of time on Friday mornings. This allows us to periodically bring together your entire class for community activities, designed to pull us out of the classroom and remind us that learning takes many forms, and is a lifelong endeavor. Fall Fridays occur five times a semester. Themes can vary widely, but one Fall Friday is generally reserved for a visit from the author of our community read (see One Book, One Regis).

In the past, featured guests have included:

  • Alejandro Jimenez, 2021 Slam Poet Champion of Mexico;
  • Father Greg Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart, as well as founder and director of Homeboy Industries, the world's largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program;
  • Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin (pictured), author of Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature, and Professor at Columbia University;
  • Karina Bronson, graphic recorder and founder of ConverSketch, who specializes in facilitating group understanding and communal story-telling through live illustrations, process design and illustrated videos.
Author Farrah Jasmine Griffen chats with two students after her talk in the Regis Chapel
Two students chat and smile on a sofa with a colorful mural of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background

Troubleshooting Your First Year

It’s a truism that major life transitions can be just as overwhelming as they are exciting. New students experience a lot of changes in a very short period of time! We do our best during the initial orientation period to inform students about the range of resources and opportunities available to them at Regis – but we totally understand if stuff gets lost in the shuffle! With that in mind, The FYE partners with individual RCC200 faculty to come into the classroom around the second month of the fall semester, and to run a short workshop in which our Peer Navigators (older students) help our new community members to once again learn about the great variety of resources and opportunities that Regis has to offer.

A student sits in an on-campus study space working hard on his laptop

Eloquentia Perfecta Essay Contest

During the Fall Semester, new students participate in the First Year Writing Seminar (commonly called RCC200), which constitutes part one of the two-semester Foundational Core sequence. While each section of RCC200 is unique in its content, they all have the common feature of being writing-intensive seminars. Towards the end of the Fall Semester, every RCC200 faculty member is invited to nominate a particularly noteworthy piece of writing (and its writer, of course!) to be recognized by the community. A committee formed by the FYE then selects a limited number of finalists, who will have the opportunity to read excerpts of their writing aloud during the Spring Convocation.

a smiling group of 9 students and professor Alyse Knorr post in front of a movie poster during their SOAR excursion to see Wakanda Forever

SOAR Community Excursions

At Regis, we believe that a cornerstone of university education is engagement with the broader community. That's why one of the first things we encourage you to do during orientation is to get out of the classroom and even off campus! Organized in collaboration with the Center for Service Learning, the SOAR Community Excursions are led by the faculty member who serves as your First Year Advisor as well as professor of your fall writing seminar (RCC200).

two students chat and recline in the sun in lawn chairs on the Quad

Being Present, Looking Forward

A colloquium series sponsored by the FYE, designed to come at a moment when first-year students are creating their spring class schedules. We bring together an expert panel of current juniors and seniors, and we ask them to talk about their personal experiences navigating life at Regis and beyond. Together we explore the processes of discernment which they’ve undergone to arrive where they are, including the good moments and bad. As the name suggests, the conversation specifically focuses on how to actively reflect on and plan for the future, without losing sight of the value of being present to immediate experiences.


Spring Convocation

Much as we welcome First Year Students during the Fall Convocation, during the Spring Convocation we come together in January to welcome our newest community members back to their new home after Winter Break. Spring Convocation is also meant to be a celebration of student voices and student success, and provides a space where we get to honor Eloquentia Perfecta finalists, first-semester Dean’s List recipients, and the faculty members who help make the First Year Experience what it is.

a large crowd of students winds around the Quad flanked by applauding faculty in regalia at Spring Convocation


Fr. Greg Boyle signs a book for a student after his presentation in the Regis Chapel

One Book, One Regis

Every year, the entire Regis Community is invited to engage with a shared text, typically though not exclusively a memoir or other piece of creative non-fiction. Having a common read serves as the foundation for a wide variety of shared intellectual experiences, both in and out of the classroom. While the common read is for everyone at Regis, First Year students are actively and consistently encouraged to engage with the text as part of their introduction to university life (so, this is sometimes also called the “First-Year Read). This can include integration of the text into the RCC200 curriculum, co-curricular workshops hosted by different departments, and even a visit from the author!

  • 2023-2024: Solito, Javier Zamora
  • 2022-2023: Read Until You Understand, Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin
  • 2021-2022: Vox, Christina Dalcher
  • 2020-2021: Difficult Conversations, Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen, Bruce Patton
  • 2019-2020: Keeping a Nature Journal, Leslie A. Roth || Crossings: A Liminal Spaces Collection
  • 2017-2019: Tattoos on the Heart, Fr. Greg Boyle (pictured)

The Good Trouble Conversations

Facilitated by the Office and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence and typically co-sponsored by numerous units and departments across Regis, like the FYE, the Good Trouble Conversations are a regular forum for engaging with difficult topics. These conversations are inspired by the late Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis, who passed away in 2020. Beaten by police during the "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, Lewis called on people to "get in good trouble, necessary trouble and redeem the soul of America." He urged young people to speak out, be persistent, and be non-violent in demanding transformational societal change

Good Trouble Conversations: Race and Justice at Regis logo