Orientation week aims to welcome and orient new students. During this period, freshmen get a lot of useful information that will be helpful during studying in AUCA. Freshmen participate in a wide range of social activities, including break out sessions and sports challenges.
On the second Wednesday of November 1997, Hillary Clinton officially opened the American University in Kyrgyzstan. Prior to that date, AUCA was called Kyrgyz American Faculty (KAF), which was a part of the Kyrgyz National University. So, every year on the second Wednesday in November, the Student Life Office organizes the Initiation Day, the day freshmen are officially initiated into the university and traditionally held the new Student Senate inauguration. After the official part of the ceremony, the AUCA Student Theater "Mirrors" annually presents a 50-minute musical. Initiation Day is indeed one of the most significant ceremonies at AUCA and everyone loves to get an invitation to it! Freshmen and their parents are obviously all invited.
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. During the holiday students post their “THANKS” for faculty, parents, friends, those they love, and whatever else they are grateful for on the walls to make a remembrance of their love and appreciation. Traditionally, we are here today to recognize the achievements of our students who devoted tremendous amounts of time, energy and have been working hard from their freshmen years in university "corridors". This is the award for student life excellence for outstanding contribution to extracurricular activities. Then, at the end of the day, all students gather at the main foyer and eat turkey and other foods and enjoy the concert that was prepared by the Student Life Office.
AUCA is really unique as it has students of more than 20 ethnicities. Diversity week is a cultural week that gathers all nations to perform and show their traditions and culture. There are 4 days of diversity week: Presentation Day, Video day, Food day, and Final concert day.
In the middle ages, the Pythagorean theory was considered as a very hard one and sometimes was called “Donkey Bridge” or “escape of cripples”. Because some cripple students who did not have serious training were skipping the geometry, they had to leave the school they were in to. Some weak students learning by heart the theory without understanding it, were called “donkeys”. They couldn’t overcome the Pythagorean theory, which was an impassable bridge for them. Those students who got over this bridge were considered as real students and they deserve to graduate the university. Passing the “Donkey bridge” was considered as the festival of the certain year, where students were initiated to the graduates (in those who have to graduate from the university). This festival had a form like a ball.
AUCA juniors have the “Donkey Bridge” ceremony as well. The ceremony is conducted in the form of a ball, where juniors get over the bridge and become real students who will soon graduate the university.
It is the graduation ceremony, traditionally helds in early June. In this day students are awarded Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, receive their Kyrgyz and US-style diplomas, and actually leave AUCA. It is called Commencement because it is thought to be the beginning of a new life. Greetings from honored guests, the President, faculty and students form an integral part of this ceremony. The awards ceremony is a real holiday and one of the most memorable events in the students’ lives.