First-Year Experience

First-year students have several unique opportunities to explore disciplines, interact with faculty, and make lasting friendships with peers. Those include First-Year Interest Groups, Academic Residential Communities, and the Common Reading program.

First-Year Interest Groups

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) bring students with similar interests together to collectively explore a theme framed by two lecture classes. Incoming first-year students experience their first term at the University of Oregon alongside other FIG students, a faculty member, and a student mentor. Take advantage of a FIG to dive into our disciplines. Some of the FIGs affiliated with the College of Design include Food and the Garden, Inside Architecture, and Portable Life Museum.

First-Year Interest Groups

Art and Design Academic Residential Community

The Art & Design Community is an academic residential community (ARC) for students excited about sharing creative ideas, making art, and exploring design. Community members will live and work together in a brand-new building that features a maker space studio.

This community is open to undergraduate students interested in making art, viewing art, or exploring a range of design practices. You will be introduced to studio-based learning and foundational concepts of art and design. As part of our creative community, you will connect with peers, faculty, professional artists, and designers through special events and activities. No previous experience is required, although priority will be given to students accepted into a major in any College of Design department or program.

ARC students can:

  • take classes and live with three dozen other creative thinkers and makers
  • connect with working artists and designers from the university and beyond
  • share work with the campus community through exhibitions and events
  • generate and support activities such as drawing marathons and making zines
  • take behind-the-scenes museum tours


We are looking for a wide range of students from different backgrounds, so all are encouraged to participate. To live here, apply to the Art and Design Community when you fill out your application to live on campus. For more information contact

Academic Residential Community

Other Housing Options

Visit University Housing to learn about the wide variety of housing options.

Common Reading

Building community, enriching curriculum, and engaging research through the shared reading of an important book is what the Common Reading program at the UO is all about. Each year, the Division of Undergraduate Studies selects a book that all incoming first-year students are asked to read. Sometimes it's a work of fiction, sometimes it's nonfiction; but it's always thought-provoking and related to several disciplines.

Learn more about the Common Reading program, how books are selected, what books were chosen recently, and the related activities and learning opportunities.