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Coming to a new campus can be both exciting and overwhelming. The CAFE Pre-Orientation program smooths the transition to college by connecting first-year and current students who have a shared passion for understanding and creating change in ourselves and communities.

CAFE seeks incoming student participants from diverse religious, non-religious, spiritual and ethical identities. All are welcome.

Mission Statement

The mission of the CAFE Pre-Orientation Program is to welcome, gather, equip, and network the religious, spiritual, ethical, and interfaith leaders of the incoming class–leaders who are committed both to mutual inspiration and to making positive change in the world. The program involves:

  • exploration of self and others;
  • identifying strengths in religious and philosophical literacy and room to grow;
  • consciousness-raising about issues of social justice on campus and in the wider community;
  • and training on how to make a positive change through community organizing and activism.

While this program provides an introduction to local issues and organizations working to address them, it is not focused on direct service, but rather on using systemic analysis, advocacy, and action to change adverse eco-social circumstances and promote wellbeing. This program explores the connections between inspiration and action, and the integration of the life of the mind and that of the heart to improve and liberate oneself and the world. The CAFE Pre-Orientation Program was first offered in August 2009, and was offered in summers 2010 and 2011. It resumed in August 2015.

Student Leadership Opportunities

CAFE is organized and led by staff members from the Tufts University Chaplaincy and a team of student leaders. As one of the University Chaplaincy’s hallmark interfaith initiatives, the Tufts University Chaplain provides overall direction and guidance for the program’s vision and content, and the University Chaplaincy Program Coordinator Shelby Carpenter implements the programmatic vision and recruits, hires, supervises, and coaches from among returning students two paid Student Coordinators and a team of volunteer Peer Leaders. The student leaders work with the staff members to help plan aspects of the program and to guide the program in August.

Applications for CAFE Peer Leader are now closed. They will reopen in the Spring of 2023.

The applications for the CAFE Student Coordinators are now closed. They will reopen in January of 2023.

Contact Us

For questions about the CAFE Pre-Orientation Program, please email the University Chaplaincy Program Coordinator, Shelby Carpenter, at

For general questions about the Pre-Orientation registration process, financial aid, etc., please contact the Pre-Orientation Office.

Check out the official Tufts CAFE Pre-Orientation Facebook Page and instagram account (@tuftscafe).