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New Student & Family Convocation

New Student & Family Convocation

Welcome Families!

You’re invited to the New Student & Family Convocation — a spirited celebration welcoming you into the Cougar family. Join us inside the Sports Center as you hear from university leaders, connect with families and fellow students, and participate in the ceremonial Cougar Coin Challenge. Complimentary sweet treat(s) and community-based welcomes will follow the formal program. This free event is open to all incoming first year and transfer students and their families. Convocation is broken out based on the student's college. To learn more about majors and their associated colleges, visit the Colleges and Departments website or visit the list of majors in each college page.

Location: Sports Center

Date: Aug. 24


  • 9 a.m.: College of Business Administration (CoBA), College of Education, Health & Human Services (CEHHS) and College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM)
  • 12 p.m.: College of Arts, Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences (CHABSS)

Registration form: Coming Soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

Community Family Welcomes

Form deep connections with students and families like you. These welcomes are an opportunity to celebrate culture and identity with students and families alike.

Community-based welcomes are set up as "open house" style allowing for intersectionality of identities. This year's participating communities include: 

  • Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American (APIDA) Community
  • Black Community
  • CA Indian/Native/Tribal Community
  • Latinx Community
  • Pride (LGBTQIA) Community
  • Out of State Community
two family members in csusm gym wearing csusm swag
family of 3 people outside with cougar decoration

Family Weekend

 Save the Date for Family Weekend October 25-27th, 2024 as we welcome you back to campus to get a taste of life at CSUSM. Stay tuned in for more opportunities to connect with your student and our amazing community.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Convocation?
    Convocation is a celebratory ceremony to welcome and honor the new students (first year and transfer) joining the university community.  At CSUSM we ask families to join in the celebration and present a challenge coin to their student, challenging them to complete their degree.  
  • What is a challenge coin?
    Originating its roots in U.S. military culture, a challenge coin is presented as a sign of welcoming someone to an organization or honoring a special achievement.  At CSUSM we honor our military community with the use of a challenge coin presented to new students by their families at Convocation to welcome them to CSUSM and challenge them in competing their degree.  
  • What should I wear to New Student & Family Convocation?
     At CSUSM, this event is held indoors in our Sports Center.  It will likely to be warm for the outdoor reception(s), check San Marcos, CA weather to plan accordingly.  Attire is casual, CSUSM and Cougar Blue attire is highly encouraged! 
  • Where should I park?

     Complementary parking is provided in Parking Structure 1 for the event.
    Campus Map

  • Who should I bring to the event?
     New Students, first year and transfer from the incoming class are welcomed and encouraged to bring their family support system.  
  • Some of my family will need to enjoy from afar, how can they do that?
     There will be a live stream of the event (at the top of this page) offered on the New Student & Family Convocation website.  
  • Is registration required?
     Yes, please register (using the online form) for the event for CSUSM’s planning team to prepare accordingly.  
  • If I miss the event how can I get a challenge coin?
     Challenge coins will only be available to students that attend the event.  
  • I am an Extended Learning Student, can I join?
     If you are a degree seeking new Extended Learning student from the incoming class, you are welcome to join! 
  • How long is the ceremony?
     The ceremony is about 1 hour in length.  
  • Do you provide wheelchairs for guests?
     No, we are not able to provide wheelchairs for guests. All guests requiring wheelchair assistance will need to bring their own.  We will have wheelchair accessible seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Who do I contact to arrange accessibility accommodations?
     Within the RSVP you can list accommodation needs.  Requests need to be made at least 7 business days prior to the ceremony.  All efforts will be made to try to meet the requested accommodation.   
  • Where can families find lodging?
    CSUSM has contracted rates with a few local hotels. See the list of options here! Simply mention CSUSM when booking to secure the discounted rate. Rates vary by season, so please contact the hotel for exact rates.

If you have additional questions beyond the FAQ, please call New Student and Family Programs at 760-750-4930 or email (English response) (Spanish response)