4 things to know about Mercer’s 2023 Opening Days and Bear Beginnings

people form MU on field
The Class of 2026 forms an MU on Cruz Plaza during 2022 Bear Beginnings. Photo by Matt Smith

Mercer University will welcome the Class of 2027 to the Macon campus during two move-in days Aug. 18-19. Then, first-year students will get to know their new home during a special program just for them Aug. 20-22. Here are four things to know about this special time we call Opening Days and Bear Beginnings

1. Leave the heavy lifting to us

A student carries a rug
A Mercer University volunteer helps a new student move in during 2022 Opening Days. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

Mercerians have volunteered to help our new students move in this year. That means parents can pop the trunk and let our volunteers unload students’ belongings and carry them to their rooms. To help this process run smoothly, we ask that all boxes and items are labeled boldly using a permanent marker with the student’s last name, building and room number. After students are settled, they are invited to head over to Cruz Plaza to take a family photo, stop by information tents and enjoy an ice cream float.

[Related: Class of 2023 graduates offer this advice to incoming freshmen]

2. Ask questions 

student holds up sign while talking to others
A peer adviser talks to students in her O-Group during 2022 Bear Beginnings.

Before arriving on campus, each student is assigned to a peer adviser and Orientation Group, or O-Group, which consists of 15-20 other first-year students. Peer advisers are volunteer student leaders who help our new students transition to Mercer. They know what these students are going through because they’ve done it before, so this is a prime time to ask questions. Students will attend a variety of sessions with their O-Group, and while there will be a lot of time for bonding, they’ll also learn about important topics, such as the honor code, health and safety, and technology. Before arriving on campus, peer advisers will add students to their O-Group on GroupMe, so they should go ahead and download the mobile app.

[Related: Mercer visitors can get discounted hotel rates through new University partnership]

3. Handle last-minute tasks

students sit at tables eating
Students grab a bite to eat in the University Center during 2022 Opening Days. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

We want to make sure our new students are ready for classes to start on Aug. 22, so we’ve built time into the Opening Days and Bear Beginnings schedules for them to handle any last-minute tasks. This includes talking to an academic adviser, finding buildings on campus, picking up a parking decal or talking to someone in financial aid. If students are unsure how to do something, they can always ask their peer adviser. 

4. Get involved

people dancing
Students participate in the 2022 campfire social, which was held inside Penfield Hall due to weather. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

We have so many fun activities planned during Bear Beginnings that are aimed at making sure our students’ first college experience is memorable. We find that those who actively participate get the most out of the experience. New students have the opportunity to participate in an opening picnic, campfire party and Bear Fair, where they can learn about all the activities they can get involved in on campus. 

Welcome to Mercer! This is just the beginning.


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Jennifer Falk
Jennifer Falk is director of digital communications at Mercer. She edits and writes feature stories for The Den and examines web data and analytics to drive content decisions. She also creates and supervises the creation of content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters.