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Leadership and Service Center

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Pillars for Carolina

Our Mission 

Pillars for Carolina is a student-led organization that creates a foundation of community and confidence through activities centered around leadership, service, and active citizenship to inspire first-year students to leave their mark at the University of South Carolina.

Our Vision 

To build a community of passionate people so that participants leave with a sense of belonging, confidence, and a jumpstart on their Gamecock experience.

Our Values

Community, Connection, Inclusion, Fun, and Self-Discovery.


Pillars for Carolina registration is now open!

Questions about Pillars for Carolina can be sent to

Pillars for Carolina Registration Form 


Get a head start on making Carolina home.

When you participate in Pillars for Carolina, you'll enjoy an unforgettable week of leadership and traditions while making lifelong friends. Registration opens in the spring and remains open until the program has reached full capacity.

Students who participate in the Pillars for Carolina program, which was founded in 2011, start their first year feeling more confident about life in the classroom, with a greater knowledge of campus and gain new friendships with student mentors, faculty and staff members.

Pillars Engage (July 20-23, 2021)

A four-day program where participants will learn about campus, the ins-and-outs of Columbia, and themselves. Learn about yourself, your values, and finding your place at Carolina. Key events of this program include leadership development activities, an Amazing Race, learning traditions of Carolina, and meeting new friends.

Pillars Serves (July 27-30, 2021)

A four-day program where participants will learn about the campus and local community through the lens of service. Learn about yourself, your values, and finding your place at Carolina. Key events of this program include leadership development activities, values exploration, meeting new friends, and service in the Columbia community.

Pillars Capstone Scholars (July 27-30, 2021)

A four-day experience which provides a unique opportunity for incoming Capstone Scholars to get extra support as they transition into the Carolina community. We embrace the Capstone Scholars Program's commitment to experiential learning and use it to help students develop self-awareness, enhance relationships, and set goals in preparation for the fall semester.

Through Pillars Capstone Scholars, you will also have the opportunity to: spend three nights living in a residence hall, explore campus, volunteer with a local nonprofit, familiarize yourself with Columbia, and make new friends. This is a blend of activities from the Pillars Serves and Pillars Engage weeks.

To participate in this Pillars option, you must be a Capstone Scholar. Admissions sends notifications to students about the Capstone Scholars community in March. If you're unsure about whether you are a Capstone Scholar, reach out to

Participant Learning Outcomes 

  • Participants will develop a connection to the campus and community at Carolina
  • Participants will build meaningful relationships with first-year students and student mentors
  • Participants will reflect on personal values and identity
  • Participants will identify campus resources and opportunities

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • UofSC New Student Orientation and Pillars for Carolina are separate programs. While New Student Orientation is mandatory for all incoming students, Pillars is an extra way to meet fellow Gamecocks and spend time on campus before move-in day.
  •  No, Pillars is offered to all incoming first-year Gamecocks, as well as incoming transfer students.
  •  Yes.
  •  All food and sleeping accommodations during the 4 days of the program. Participants will also receive a t-shirt and a drawstring backpack.

**Registration fees go towards all space rentals and activities for participants during the program**

  •  Pillars Engage
    • Check-In is between 2-4pm on July 20th
    • Check-Out is between 3-5pm on July 23rd
  • Pillars Serves / Capstone Scholars
    • Check-In is between 2-4pm on July 27th
    • Check-Out is between 3-5pm on July 30th
  • Participants will be staying in a residence hall on UofSC’s campus.
  •  Please list all dietary restrictions in your registration form, and we will accommodate as necessary. 
  •  Clothes for 4 days of activities in and around campus
    • Be mindful of the South Carolina summer heat. The average temperature in Columbia in July is 95 degrees.
  • Comfortable shoes to walk around in
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Hat / Sunscreen / Sunglasses - protective sun wear 
  • Portable Chargers for your phones
  • Hygiene products 
  • Medications
  • Bedding for a twin XL size mattress
    Including sheets and a pillow
  • Spending money
    • Students will have the opportunity to shop around some off-campus locations

After registration, you will receive an email with a full packing list. 

  • Yes, the link to apply for scholarships is located on our website. 
  • Additional involvement after participating in the Pillars for Carolina program can be counted towards enhancement activities in graduating with Leadership Distinction

Our Staff

Olivia Lefkowitz

Olivia Lefkowitz

Overall Director
Pillars Engage and Pillars Serves
Major: Public Relations
Hometown: Smithtown, NY
Fun Fact: I'm a twin! (Only 1 minute apart)
Why Pillars?
Pillars for Carolina is the experience that has made UofSC feel like home. From my first day on campus as a freshman, I felt prepared for college thanks to the resources provided to me by PFC. The friendships and mentorships gained through Pillars are truly like no other I have ever known in my life. So grateful for this awesome program!

Jackson Snavely

Jackson Snavely


Overall Director
Pillars Engage and Pillars Capstone Scholars
Political Science
Hurricane, WV
Fun Fact:
I taught myself woodworking through YouTube videos
Why Pillars?

Pillars for Carolina is an essential part of an incoming freshman's first year experience, primarily because the program provides the student with a tight-knit community and a sense of belonging before the school year has even begun. Being a participant and serving as an XM, I have seen this development occur organically through a variety of Pillars activities which teach new Gamecocks about the culture and traditions of the University.



Haley Kennedy

Haley Kennedy  

Director of Staff Development
Pillars Engage and Pillars Capstone Scholars
Major: Public Global Studies
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Charlottesville, VA
Fun Fact: I did a Maymester in Spain after my freshman year!
Why Pillars?
Pillars fosters an irreplaceable sense of community and provides opportunities for personal growth and development. Pillars gives students the resources and confidence to transition successfully into college and make the most of their experience at Carolina.

Kelsey Linkous

Kelsey Linkous  

Director of Outreach 
Pillars Engage, Serves and Capstone Scholars
Major: Marketing Studies
Minor: Sport and Entertainment Management
Hometown: Rossford, OH
Fun Fact: I dyed my hair purple for Dance Marathon last year!
Why Pillars?
Pillars has changed my life here at Carolina and has provided me with life-long friends and memories. I would not be who I am today without the connections and opportunities achieved through Pillars.

Jared Mundie

Jared Mundie


Director of Operations and Curriculum
Pillars Engage and Pillars Capstone Scholars
Major: Sport and Entertainment Management
Minor: Business Administration & Psychology
Hometown: Edgewater, MD
Fun Fact: I’ve been to 13 countries and 20 states
Why Pillars?
Pillars the best way to get a head start at USC. I have found some of the greatest people and opportunities this campus has to offer, and created memories that will last a lifetime! 

campbell smith

Campbell Smith


Director of Staff Development
Pillars Engage and Pillars Serves
Business Economics and International Business
Greenville, SC
Fun Fact: 
My favorite Disney movie is Frozen
Why Pillars? 
Because there’s no other program that will give you a leg up on college. Pillars gave me some of my best friends I have ever had.

Sarah Gobells headshot

Sarah Gobell


Director of Visual Communications and Content
Pillars Engage, Serves, and Capstone Scholars
Major :
Visual Communications
Hometown :
Ellicott City, MD
Fun Fact :
My roommates and I are fostering 2 kittens!

Why Pillars?: Pillars not only provides countless opportunities, but also a community for students to grow and learn from each other. I admire what Pillars stands for, and I desire to help make the transition into college memorable for new students.

Elizabeth Brouch headshot

Elizabeth Brouch


Director of Operations and Curriculum
Pillars Engage and Pillars Serves
Major: Exercise Science
Minor: Nutrition and Business Administration
Hometown : Greer, SC
Fun Fact : In high school, my track coach made our team wear sweatpants to warm up in even if it was a hundred degrees out. Now, I feel guilty when I don’t!
Why Pillars? : Pillars for Carolina has provided me with such a strong foundation for my college journey. The bonds formed during Pillars are priceless, and it’s incredible to see how we all grow in UofSC’s traditions.

Staff Advisors

Lauren Haynes

Pillars for Carolina Overall Advisor
Coordinator of Leadership and Student Organizations 
Leadership and Service Center

Carly May 

Pillars Serves Special Program Coordinator
Coordinator of Service and Civic Engagement 
Leadership and Service Center

Jessie McNevin

Pillars Capstone Scholars Special Program Coordinator
Assistant Principal
Capstone Scholars Program

Kayla Young

Pillars for Carolina Graduate Assistant 
Leadership and Service Center



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