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Leadership and Service Center

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Pillars for Carolina

This four-day summer program is designed for first-year students who want to explore UofSC and learn about student life before arriving on campus for the fall semester.

Pillars for Carolina registration is temporarily closed. If you would like to receive information about the program and be notified when registration is opened please fill out the interest form below. Additionally, questions about Pillars for Carolina can be directed to Lauren Haynes , staff advisor, at  

Pillars for Carolina Interest 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

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

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

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

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 Snively

Jackson Snavely

Overall Director
Pillars Engage and Pillars Capstone Scholars
Major: Political Science
Minor: Economics
Hometown: Hurricane, WV
Fun Fact: I taught myself woodworking through YouTube videos
Why Pillars?
In my experience, 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: 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
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! 

Aiden Smith

Aidan Smith

Director of Visual Communications and Content
Pillars Engage, Serves, & Capstone Scholars
Major: Visual Communications
Minor: Media Arts
Hometown: Buford, GA
Fun Fact: Cheesecake is my favorite dessert
Why Pillars?
Pillars has developed me into who I am today, and defined my college career thus far. Without Pillars, I am not sure as to where I would be today because of how much it has provided for professionally and personally.

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.

bhamini kalia

Bhamini Kalia

Director of Operations and Curriculum
Pillars Engage and Pillars Serves
Major: Public Health
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Greenville, SC
Fun Fact: My name means sunshine!
Why Pillars?
Because it’s bigger than us. It’s a constant reminder of the impact and relationships we can make.

Staff Advisors

Lauren Haynes

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

Carly Zerr 

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



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