Spartan Start

Spartan Start is UD's three-day orientation and welcome program for new students. During the program, you’ll get connected with other students, learn your way around campus, participate in UD traditions, experience your first UD college class, discover ways to get involved on campus and in the community, and a lot more! With more than 50 sessions and activities, Spartan Start provides the perfect start to a successful college experience.

Fall 2021 New Students

Welcome to the University of Dubuque family! We are excited to have you join us for Spartan Start on August 23, 24, and 25, 2021. We're working on putting together a great schedule for the program. Please check back often as this page will be updated with additional details as they become available. Here are some highlights of what we have planned for you:

Fall 2021 Spartan Start Schedule

Sunday, August 22, 2021

TimeSession TitleLocation
8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.   Residence Hall Check-In
Take care of required check-in tasks and pick up your keys.
Heritage Center, A.Y. McDonald Lobby
5:00 p.m. University Welcome

Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC)
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Evening Entertainment

Heritage Center - Babka Theater & Knapp Stage

Monday, August 23, 2021
8:30 a.m.     Breakfast and Program Overview Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC)
9:30 a.m. Educational and Campus Resource Sessions
including campus technology and campus expectations.   
Various Locations
Times vary Lunch Smeltzer Dining Hall, Peters Commons
1:00 p.m. Educational and Campus Resource Sessions

Various Locations
5:00 - 9:00 p.m. Community Night
Includes dinner.

Buses depart from Heritage Center Loop

Tuesday, August 24, 2021
7:00 a.m. Breakfast (optional) Smeltzer Dining Hall, Peters Commons
8:00 a.m. Small Group Meeting Various Locations
8:45 a.m. Educational and Campus Resource Sessions 
including Academic Advising and Library.
Various Locations
10:45 a.m. World View Seminar I Class Various Locations
Times vary Lunch Smeltzer Dining Hall, Peters Commons
1:00 p.m. Educational and Campus Resource Sessions 
including Academic Success Center and Student Success
McCormick Gym
4:00 p.m. Meet Your Major Various Locations
Times vary Dinner Smeltzer Dining Hall, Peters Commons
7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Spartan Spirit Night Stoltz-McCormick & Chalmers Field

Wednesday, August 25, 2021
7:00 a.m. Breakfast (optional) Smeltzer Dining Hall, Peters Commons
8:00 a.m. Small Group Meeting Various Locations
8:30 a.m. In-Depth Interactive Session*
Choose from several options for an experiential learning activity.
Various Locations
Times vary Lunch Smeltzer Dining Hall, Peters Commons
12:30 p.m. Campus Services Fair McCormick Gym
2:30 p.m. Select-a-Session*
Choose three conference-style special interest sessions.
Various Locations
5:30 p.m. Small Group Meeting Various Locations
6:00 p.m. Unity Barbecue
Campus-wide cookout event uniting the Spartan community.
Wallace Commons

 Please note: Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

* Part of what makes UD so great is that each student arrives on campus with their own unique background, interests, and experiences. Because we want your Spartan Start experience to be meaningful and help you connect in the ways that are important to you, we are offering you the opportunity to select which sessions you'd like to attend on day three (Wednesday, August 25). Please use this online form to review the session options and indicate your preferences.

What to Expect

Attending UD will be a brand new experience for you. While starting college is exciting, it can also be a little stressful. Spartan Start is designed to help you settle in and get comfortable with campus life. During the program you can expect to:

  • Meet a lot of other new students who, like you, don’t know a lot of people on campus and are feeling a bit nervous. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
  • Be assigned to a peer group. Throughout the three-day Spartan Start program, you will be in a group with 12-15 other new students and one peer leader. Your peer leader, an upper-level UD student, will share information and guide you through the program schedule.
  • Be busy! We fit a lot of sessions and activities into three days. We want to make the most of every moment, so you won’t have a lot of down time. It is possible that you may even feel overwhelmed at times. That’s normal; just reach out to your peer leader, and they can help.
  • Learn about a lot of resources and opportunities. There are tons of ways to get involved on campus, and a lot of helpful, free services you can utilize. Even if you think something may not be of interest to you, keep an open mind. You may find that you need the information later. Plus, college is a great time to try something new!
  • Begin to take responsibility for your education. How you participate and what and how much you learn is up to you. As a college student, you’ll need to make decisions about what classes to take, how often to study, when to ask for help, and more. Spartan Start will give you a chance to learn and practice those skills, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity by being fully engaged and asking lots of questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I move in early?

We’re glad you’re ready to join us on campus! Our staff needs time to make sure everything is just right for you when you arrive, so unfortunately, we cannot allow early move-ins. If you are a fall sport athlete and need to report for practice, your coach will contact you with more information about your scheduled arrival date. If you have extenuating circumstances that you need to discuss, you may contact Residence Life at 563.589.3438 or

Where do I go when I arrive on campus?

When you arrive on campus on Sunday, August 22, 2021, please proceed directly to the Heritage Center at 2255 Bennett Street. You will check-in and then be directed to your assigned residence hall. Keep an eye on your mailbox and email inbox; more information about move-in day will be sent with your housing assignment.

Where can my family stay?

If your family will be coming to Dubuque with you, we have arranged reduced rate rooms at the following local hotels. Please request the University of Dubuque rate when calling to make your reservation.

Best Western Plus Dubuque
3100 Dodge Street | Dubuque, IA  52003
563.557.8000 |

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Dubuque West
2080 Holliday Drive | Dubuque, IA  52002
563.556.4600 |

I’m not living on campus. When do I need to come?

Even if you will not be living on campus, you may still wish to come on Sunday, August 22, anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to take care of last-minute business items, such as getting your student ID, confirming that your medical forms and emergency contact information is on file, or testing your UD technology username and password. We’d also love to have you join us for the welcome and/or family entertainment options on Sunday evening. If you choose not to come on Sunday, you should report to the Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 23, for Spartan Start. 

Do I need to sign up to attend Spartan Start?

For your convenience, you’ll be automatically signed up for Spartan Start when you register for classes – no extra steps needed!

Do I have to attend Spartan Start?

Yes! Studies show that orientation programs contribute to a positive transition to college. Because we care about your success and want you to have every advantage possible, Spartan Start is a required component of your first week at UD. We’ve worked hard to build a fun and useful program you won’t want to miss!