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University Honors Program Annual Welcome Retreat

Join us August 19-20, 2015 at YMCA Camp Kern!

The University Honors Program's Annual Welcome Retreat is a tradition that has been going strong for over a decade. Every year over 150 incoming first-year students participate in this overnight experience to form relationships with peers, learn about the honors program, and have fun! The retreat is led by returning UHP students who look forward to sharing their experiences with the incoming class. The retreat takes place just prior to the start of fall semester classes at the YMCA Camp Kern in Oregonia, OH. Capacity is limited and is done on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to register today! All retreat participants are able to move-in to campus housing early.

It's the perfect opportunity to meet both incoming and returning University Honors students in a comfortable, interactive, and fun setting.  Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to participate in a pre-retreat social activity the evening of Aug. 18th.

You'll be in a small group facilitated by an upper-class UHP student leader. You'll also participate in student-led breakout sessions focused on the thematic areas of the University Honors Program - leadership, community engagement, global studies, research and creative arts.

Some benefits of participating:

  • Make strong connections with other incoming UHP students, as well as returning students, that last throughout your time at UC (and beyond!).
  • Become familiar with the University Honors Program through the perspectives of returning students.
  • Hear from faculty and staff from around campus in engaging panel discussions
  • Have fun learning UC traditions such as the alma mater and fight song.

The Welcome Retreat Staff

The welcome retreat has a student staff comprised of returning UHP students who serve as retreat leaders and retreat coordinators.  Retreat leaders lead the small groups throughout the retreat and will be one of your first contacts here at UC.  Retreat coordinators help to plan the retreat and lead sessions looking at the UHP's four thematic areas.

The Annual Welcome Retreat Fight Song Competition

Since the 2004 retreat, participants have competed in the Annual Fight Song Competition.  Get creative in your interpretation of Cheer Cincinnati as you display your UC pride.  See last year's competitors on the UHP Annual Welcome Retreat YouTube channel.  Below is the winning entry from the 2013 retreat.

Registration Information

Registration for the 2015 UHP Annual Welcome Retreat can be found here!

Additionally, please print and complete the waiver forms.

You will complete the registration form online, but will need to download and sign the waiver forms. Please note there are several waivers to complete, including one for Camp Kern.

Submit your completed forms to:

University Honors Program
ATTN: Honors Welcome Retreat
700 Swift Hall
PO Box 210007
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0007


The cost for attending welcome retreat is $50.  This cost will be added to your student bill once your registration and waiver forms have been received.  You will pay for the retreat when you pay the rest of your fall semester student bill.

The deadline to register is Friday, July 24, 2015.

Please note: Cancellations received on or after Friday, July 31, 2015 cannot be refunded. Cancellations made on or prior to Thursday, July 30, 2015 will be refunded.

Other Commitments?

Camp Bearcats

Camp Bearcats is a great way to engage with the broader UC community. It is possible to participate in both, Camp Bearcats and the UHP Annual Welcome Retreat. Students participating in the Welcome Retreat will be excused from serving a shift on the Hall Opening Team (H.O.T.) as long as they inform the Camp Bearcats that they are also participating in the UHP Welcome Retreat prior to the start of Camp.

Other Involvement

Students participating in the following programs will not be able to participate in the Welcome Retreat:

  • UC Bearcat Band's camp
  • CCM Auditions and Programming (all majors except E-Media)
  • International Student Check-in & Orientation

Don't worry.  There will be opportunities to connect with other University Honors students during the year and through the Gateway to University Honors course during the fall semester.

Move Into Your Residence Hall Before the Retreat

Students who are attending the retreat and have an on-campus residence hall assignment can move into their room beginning on August 18. Students will be required to pay an early move-in fee of $25/night for every night prior to the official opening day of their assigned residence hall.  Generally, the residence halls open on either the Wednesday or Thursday before classes (depending on the hall) so students will pay either $25 or $50, payable to Housing and Food Services. The charge will be added to your student bill by the Housing and Food Services office prior to arrival.

To sign up for early move-in authorization, visit after receiving your housing assignment. DO NOT fill out the form without your residence hall assignment.  Please list the University Honors Program as the group requiring you to arrive early.  The residence hall opening schedule is available through the Resident Education & Development website.

Students moving into University Park Apartments or other affiliated university housing should contact the management office for personal arrangements.

Meal plans generally do not begin until the first day when the residence halls officially open.  So while students participating in the retreat have an opportunity to move in early, dining options are limited or available on a cash or credit card basis.

Check-In and Transportation

Welcome Retreat participants are asked to arrive at the UC Alumni Center (near the Campus Green Garage and the Lindner College of Business) beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 19.  Students will be directed to the ballroom to check-in and pick up their retreat materials.  Students are welcome to wait for the bus in the Alumni Center and/or Campus Green.  Buses will arrive to load students onto the buses and will leave for the YMCA Camp Kern by no later than 9:30 a.m. 

The buses are estimated to return to campus by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 20.

The Alumni Center parking lot is an easy drop-off and pick-up location if someone will be giving you a ride to and from campus. Please note that we do not reimburse for parking in the garages during the retreat.