Orientation Information for Families

Welcome to Occidental College!

The first year at Oxy represents a new beginning for both students and their family members. As you prepare for the start of the fall semester, we cordially invite you to participate in our 2020 Virtual Family Orientation Program. A combination of pre-recorded content and live webinar events, the Family Orientation Program is intentionally designed to introduce you to the campus, and the resources and support that will be available to your student during their Oxy journey.

The programs and events are organized into several categories to help you navigate the online content:

Explore the recorded content at your leisure. Registration information for the live webinar events will be available soon. Check back regularly for program updates. Emails will also be sent to you every Monday until the semester begins with just-added content and updated event information.

2020 Virtual Family Orientation Program

Fall 2020 Virtual Town Hall

As a follow up to the College's Fall 2020 remote semester announcement, parents and families of first year students were invited to a virtual town hall with Oxy leadership on July 22. The forum provided a space to discuss the decision and talk about how Oxy plans to maintain academic rigor and student life and support in a virtual environment.

Oxy Traditions

Community Book Program Presents: President Harry J. Elam Jr. and Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone: A Novel in conversation

Occidental College President Harry J. Elam Jr. in conversation with Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone: A Novel. This was the first event in the College’s new Community Book Program, in which the entire Oxy community is invited to read the same book and come together to discuss its themes and importance through shared programs.

The theme for this year is “Oxy Reads Together: One College, One Book.” Red at the Bone: A Novel is President Elam’s personal choice as the first community book. Woodson is the best-selling author of more than two dozen award-winning books. She is a four-time National Book Award finalist; a four-time Newbery Honor winner; a two-time NAACP Image Award winner, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her New York Times-bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, received the National Book Award in 2014.

Io Triumphe: Oxy Traditions

In the 132 years since Oxy enrolled its first students, the College has accumulated a unique mix of traditions, rivalries, movie appearances and myths. In a COVID-19 era that is anything but traditional, join Director of Communications Jim Tranquada for an entertaining primer on everything Oxy that has stood the test of time-- from Io Triumphe and senior comps to Olympic medals and the "Oxy statistic."

Summer Community Celebration

Celebrate the start of the new academic year with incoming students and families, virtually! President Elam kicked off with all students and parents at 1pm PDT. Smaller, geographic-based virtual meetups occured before and after this kickoff.

Oxy in the Movies

Featuring clips you will surely recognize, this video celebrates the campus' starring role in many movies and television productions.

Dance Production Virtual Performance Series

New Videos Uploaded Daily at Noon
Dance Production is a student-led, student-choreographed, and student-danced organization that has prospered at Occidental College for 73 years. With over 200 students involved every year, Dance Production is the largest student-run organization on campus with a massive alumni base.

Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is a favorite Los Angeles summer destination, and a traditional staple of our family orientation schedule. While we won't be able to take you there in person this year, the Bowl has made some great concerts and other content available online.

Student Support & Services

“Your Student is in College... Now What?”

Join Dean of the College Wendy F. Sternberg and Dean of Students Rob Flot to learn more about what you can do to support your student in their transition to college, both academically and personally. 

Disability Services Presentation

Meet Luci Masredjian, director of Disability Services and Student Support, for a presentation on how Oxy supports students physical, medical, learning and psychological differences. 

Hameetman Career Center Programs and Services

Join the professionals and faculty from the Hameetman Career Center for an overview of the services they offer in career services, national and international fellowship awards, pre-health and pre-law advising

Sexual Respect and Your Student

Alexandra Fulcher, Title IX coordinator, and Marianne Frapwell, Project S.A.F.E.'s senior manager and survivor advocate, speak to how Oxy's affirmative consent and sexual misconduct policies apply to members of the Oxy community, even in a virtual setting, as well as the resources available to your student.

Nuts and Bolts of Student Wellness

Senior Director Sara Semal provides an overview of the services available to students through Emmons Student Wellness Center and answers questions about student health insurance. 

Faculty Work & Student Collaborations

The Matrix: Conversations and Transformations

The Department of Critical Theory and Social Justice presents a Summer 2020 webinar series. All are welcome, and past recordings are available.

“The Economics of College Choice” w/ Prof. Jorgen Harris

Students’ college choice has a large effect on every aspect of their lives, from their incomes, to their careers, to their friendships, to their view of the world. Professor Harris considers how economic theory and research can help make the decision of whether and where to go to college, and how the current health and economic crises influence that decision.

Oxy Arts

Oxy Arts is the hub for interdisciplinary arts on campus and in the community. OxyArts engages the Oxy community in a socially-conscious discourse around contemporary arts practices. View works from students, faculty, and community artists.

Statute 21.06: Homosexual Conduct by Prof. Sarah Kozinn

Theater Professor Sarah Kozinn's new play about Lawrence v. Texas was set to open on March 27, 2020 at Oxy Arts. Because COVID-19 prevented a live peformance, Sarah, co-director M. Graham Smith, cast, and crew created an audio version of the play.

Alumni Seal Conversations: Prof. Dale Wright

Dale Wright, David B. and Mary H. Gamble Professor in Religion/Religious Studies Emeritus speaks on mindfulness meditation – what it is, how it's done, and why it's helpful in the face of coronavirus and the injustices of racism.

Campus Tours & New Facilities

Guided Campus Tour

Student tour guides are on-hand to give you a virtual tour around the campus of Occidental College. Hear about student life, get a look at academic buildings and find out more about the opportunities that await students at Oxy.

Occidental's Campus: Beauty, History, and Innovation

Associate Vice President of Facilities Tom Polansky presents a webinar exploring the architectural foundations of the campus' design, how and where changes were made, and the philosophy Oxy employs to stay true to this historical vision while meeting modern accessibility and sustainability needs.

The De Mandel Aquatics Center

The De Mandel Aquatics Center is designed to foster the highest level of competition at Occidental College. Take a tour around the new facility, which will transform the athletic experience at Oxy.

Interactive Campus Map

Click into a point on this interactive campus map to find information, photos, and video about the location. Access various themed tours of campus.

Alumni Spotlight

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Statistics, Mitigation and Treatment

Join renowned infectious disease specialist Dr. Kimberly A. Shriner '80 for a conversation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Shriner practices at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA, and has been a critical expert consultant for Oxy as the administration developed plans for the fall semester. She discusses the latest statistics on the virus and transmission of the disease, as well as treatments, vaccines, and mitigation.

Alumni Seal Conversations: Louis '80 P'12 and Randall Hook '12

The third webinar in Oxy's Alumni Seal Conversations series features 2020 honoree for Service to the Community Louis Hook '80 in conversation with his son, Randall Hook '12. They discuss Louis's work in helping to found and steward the Compton Jr. Posse Youth Equestrian Program and the Compton Cowboys. A collective of lifelong friends on a mission to uplift their community through horseback riding and farming lifestyle, Randall now "holds the reins" of the Compton Cowboys. Recently in the headlines for their social activism and profiled in the book The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America's Urban Heartland (Walter Thompson-Hernandez, HarperCollins, 2020) they continue to mentor young people and highlight the rich legacy of African-Americans in equine and western heritage.

Alumni Seal Conversations: Chris Varelas '85 w/ Professor Woody Studenmund

The 2020 Alumni Seal honoree for Professional Achievement Chris Varelas '85 and Woody Studenmund, the Laurence de Rycke Professor of Economics, discuss Chris' new book How Money Became Dangerous and the impact of the last several decades of finance on the world today.