LAUNCH is a 4-day, pre-Welcome Week retreat designed to be fun and engaging, while also preparing new students for RMC college life -- BEFORE it even begins. Between 40-50 Randolph-Macon new students (freshmen and transfers) will begin their RMC college journey working together in high and low rope adventures, zip lining, and water trampoline challenges -- and even cooking their own meals.

Sleeping accommodations are in a co-ed bunk-house (subdivided into single-sex areas) on the grounds of Westview on the James retreat center in Goochland County. Bunk beds have a thin foam mattress. The property offers opportunity to unplug from devices, and plug into nature, people, and the life-of-the mind. LAUNCH is lead by the Director of Student Transitions and a staff of six nationally trained and certified upperclassmen mentors. Full cost of the retreat is $100 per student. 

Check out the articles about LAUNCH 2015 and Launch 2016. And the pictures from 2015 and 2016. Questions? Email us here.


1. Move into your campus room assignment early on Sunday, August 27 (all other new students will arrive Thursday, August 31).

2. Connect with established upperclassmen, meet key campus staff, and get insider tips for making the transition to college successful.

3. Start college right with friendships already in place.



What to pack:

Pillow, sheet/blanket/sleeping bag, toiletries, swim suit, towel, sunscreen, bug spray, flashlight, rain gear, refillable water bottle, copy of health insurance card, good walking shoes, water sandals (flip-flops). Bring your willingness to have fun and meet new people -- no outdoor adventure experience required.

Want to go?

Look for an invitation to participate in the mail at your home address. All incoming new students (freshmen and transfers) will be invited to Launch, but some will get priority access. Priority invitations will be mailed from Randolph-Macon late June. All other incoming new students will be mailed invitations early July. Invitations will include directions for registering. The 50 spots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis and will close by July 31.

Registration for LAUNCH 2016 is CLOSED. Online Launch 2017 registration will open in July once invitations have been extended to all new students.



Launch really helped give me the confidence to do everything I have in college so far. Launch gave me friends that I still have today and I know no matter what I do I will have those friends. Without those people and that support I don't know if I would be doing as well as I am in college or even if I would still be in college. – Tyler

After one year at Macon, I can confidently say that Launch was the 2nd best decision I've ever made; it comes right after paying my deposit for RMC. The atmosphere at Launch helps fuel the creation of friendships, you are surrounded by engaging and genuinely wonderful upperclassman, fun physical and mental activities, and the beauty of nature. Your smartphones may not get signal, but you soon realize that interacting with the people actually around you is a far more rewarding experience. Remember, you'll be surrounded by people who have the same questions about the future of their academic and social lives, so why not take a leap of faith and make new friends and have your questions answered, prior to your first day at Macon? – Paranjay (far right)
Launch was a life changing experience for me. I was very shy and attending something like this really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I walked in knowing absolutely no one and was completely terrified to be honest. However, it prepared me more than I ever thought possible to speak up for myself and take an initiative. I made countless friends and learned a lot about myself in the process. It transformed me from a quiet girl afraid of attention to a woman who goes out of her way to make new friends and take on leadership roles. - Hannah (in yellow)

Over the course of my first semester in college, I've come to realize that going to Launch was hands down the best decision I've made so far in my college career. I say this for the simple reason that had I not attended Launch, I would never have made the friends that I still have closest to me today, many of which have now become my fraternity brothers as well. Launch changed my college experience, and made my first year in college better than I could ever have hoped. -- Joe


At Launch, I realized that everyone had the same fear: none of us would make friends in college. But by the end of the trip, I feel as if I had met some incredible people who have shared a piece of their lives with the whole group, and I still say hi to them when I get the chance. Whenever I see people from the Launch group, I'm always reminded of how my college journey began. Take this opportunity to meet different people; you'll get a taste of what you're in for before the actual move-in day. - Natalie