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Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus Residence Halls

First-Year Programs

From the summer before your first semester through the end of your first academic year, all first-year students will participate in a number of programs designed to welcome, acclimate, engage and support new students. These programs include: Via, Cougar Trax, Welcome Week and Transitions.


Via First-Year Orientation is a tribute to the University motto Via, Veritas, Vita (Latin for "Way, Truth, Life" as it appears on the Saint Xavier University Seal). Via (translated as "the Way") will help students find their way as new members of the SXU community. Via sessions take place in the summer and are designed specifically to make your transition to college life as smooth as possible by providing an overview of University programs, policies and services and introducing you to Saint Xavier's Catholic, Mercy heritage and the Sisters of Mercy. All new first-year students entering SXU in the fall semester must attend Via. Via offers students the opportunity to meet new classmates, current SXU students, academic advisors, faculty and University leadership as well as receive their first semester class schedule.

Cougar Trax

Cougar Trax is a mandatory, two-day program designed to welcome all new first-year students to the academic community and to allow them to experience a unique SXU tradition. This program includes a New Student Induction, meetings for students and more and is held on the Thursday and Friday before the fall semester begins. Welcome Week events will begin at the end of Cougar Trax and continue throughout the weekend and first week of classes.

Welcome Week

The first week of the fall semester is known as Welcome Week. This annual tradition is designed to welcome all students -- new and returning -- to the new semester. The week includes a series of social, recreational, cultural and artistic programs held on campus, in the residence halls and in the Chicagoland area.


To continue the transition into college, first-year students are enrolled in Transitions, a one-credit, semester-long course that aims to aid students in adapting to university life from a variety of perspectives. The curriculum includes an introduction to the Saint Xavier University community; development of an appreciation for the broader culture of a university education; and diversity, wellness and success strategies.

New student programs are coordinated across the University through staff in the Dean of Students Office, Campus Life, the Transfer Student Services Center and the College of Liberal Arts and Education. Please contact the Dean of Students Office at 773-298-3123 with questions.