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War Eagle is Auburn’s battle cry, but it’s also the name of a unique summer tradition through which first-year students begin their journey with the university — that of Camp War Eagle.

The program – which is the subject of the latest Everything Auburn podcast episode — is offered by Auburn’s First Year Experience Office and provides orientation, transition and retention programs for incoming first-year students. As part of the camp experience, more than 70 Camp War Eagle counselors who are current Auburn students provide guided tours and cover such topics as financial aid, the AU Medical Clinic, campus safety, housing and dining as well as recreation, sports, Greek Life, Tiger Transit, Auburn’s new app and more.

Auburn topped 55,000 first-year student applications for fall 2024 — an all-time high. The applicant pool included more than 12,000 Alabama residents, with representation from every county in the state and all states in the nation. Nearly 6,200 admitted first-year students — another record — are on campus this summer to attend one of Camp War Eagle’s 12, two-day orientation sessions.

Everything Auburn sat down with Mark Armstrong, executive director of Academic Partnerships who oversees Auburn’s First Year Experience team, to talk all about the summer tradition.

“We want them to feel comfortable with confidence about the choice they made to attend Auburn, and being here helps them do that,” he said. 

Everything Auburn also recently visited the Melton Student Center to catch up with a few Camp War Eagle participants to get their thoughts on it all.

Emaira Jose-Alamo, a resident of Orlando, Florida, will pursue an animal sciences pre-vet major.

“I fell in love with this school,” she said. “Everyone’s so friendly here. The entire state of Alabama’s so nice. So, I applied. I got in, and I love it here.”

Nate Schambam, of Huntsville, Alabama, plans to focus his studies on hospitality management.

“I saw the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center get opened up and I was like, yeah, I need to do that. I fell in love with it,” he said.

Spanish Fort, Alabama, resident Owen Wheeler will study biomedical sciences.

“I felt like I would get a great education and a great head start for what I want to do in my life,” he said of his choice to attend Auburn, adding that his favorite part of Camp War Eagle was the pep rally. “It was really fun, and I got to meet a lot of different people.”

To hear more about the Camp War Eagle experience, listen now to the Everything Auburn podcast.