2015 Pre-Wildcat Welcome

Pre-Wildcat Welcome programs offer an opportunity to meet fellow new students before move-in day. Through community service, exploring the many different neighborhoods throughout Chicago, leadership development, backpacking and camping new students will share experiences to form close bonds before arriving on campus and gear up to transition to Northwestern. 

Four programs to choose from:

Application Checklist for Pre-Wildcat Welcome Trip

  1. Application - Submit the Pre-Wildcat Welcome Trip Application by June 1.
  2. Non-refundable fee - Pay the non-refundable $100 application deposit by June 1:
    By Credit Card www.nbo.northwestern.edu
    By Check - Payable to Northwestern University. Mail to:
    Northwestern University
    Center for Student Involvement c/o Pre-Wildcat Welcome
    1999 Campus Drive Evanston, IL 60208
  3. Signed waiver for travel (word doc) - Submit signed waiver for travel to the Center for Student Involvement by June 1:
    By Email: csi@u.northwestern.edu
    By Fax: 847-467-6878
    By Mail:
    Northwestern University
    Center for Student Involvement c/o Pre-Wildcat Welcome
    1999 Campus Drive Evanston, IL 60208

Alternative Student Breaks

Alternative Student Breaks is a service-learning organization that sends Northwestern students to volunteer at non-profits across the country. ASB seeks to involve, educate and heighten students' social awareness and strives to encourage lifelong civic engagement. Each trip highlights a different issue, and participants have the opportunity to do work that ranges from teaching English to newly-arrived immigrants to staging a get-out-the-vote campaign. No matter the issue they work with, participants build close relationships with their group and their upperclassmen site leaders. After spending a week exploring and serving in one of seven Midwestern locations with their small group, students meet up with all the other ASB participants in Chicago, where they'll spend a day discovering the opportunities for fun and service that the city has to offer. Following an unforgettable week, students immediately become part of the ASB community, a dynamic group with a year-round presence and continued opportunities for leadership and service.


CATalyst, held at a retreat center in Michigan, is an innovative and inspiring leadership development program for incoming students. Our program encourages participants to step outside their comfort zone through "challenge by choice" activities. Experiences on CATalyst will develop effective group communication skills, increase self-awareness through guided reflection, and foster team building through small group development. We dedicate one day to a high ropes course and low ropes challenges in an effort to encourage students to problem solve while earning the trust of their peers. Participants will also have the opportunity to develop authentic mentor relationships with upper-classmen counselors. CATalyst is designed to equip students with the tools and insight they need to grow and succeed at Northwestern.

Freshman Urban Program (FUP)

The Freshmen Urban Program is an introduction to the neighborhoods within Chicago and Evanston. The program examines the issues that face these communities, the organizations that serve them and the means by which Northwestern students can effect change. FUP employs the theory of Asset-Based Community Development in teaching participants about issues as varied as housing, education, health care, politics, gentrification and community organizing. FUP is a Pre-Wildcat Welcome activity open to all incoming freshmen and transfer students. During this five day program, participants will stay in a youth hostel in Chicago's Loop area. From there they will be dispatched to volunteer at community centers, urban schools, homeless shelters and advocacy organizations throughout the city. Northwestern faculty and various community leaders will lead discussions on a variety of issues facing urban communities.

Project Wildcat

Project Wildcat is a week-long wilderness backpacking program designed to build leadership and teamwork skills through experiential learning. Practicing "leave no trace" environmental principles, groups of eight incoming freshmen - each led by two trained upperclassmen counselors - hike through several of the nation's beautiful national parks. Project Wildcat is a fun opportunity to enter into Northwestern life with a heightened sense of confidence, a week full of fantastic memories, and a good bunch of new friends. A week spent enjoying the wilderness allows you to take a step back and get to know yourself and your group before being immersed in the hustle and bustle of your exciting new life at Northwestern. Project Wildcat takes place in a wilderness setting with varying weather conditions and strenuous physical activity.

  • When: September 3-11, 2015 (students will campout on campus the evening of 9/14 and will be finished the morning of move-in)
  • Where: Various Midwest hiking trails and campsites
  • Cost: $350 + rentals
  • Apply by: June 1
  • Contact: projectwildcat@northwestern.edu
  • Apply for the Pre-Wildcat Welcome Trips