crowd of students ant an event on green street

UofSC Welcome

Each fall, we roll out the garnet carpet for our new and returning students and their families. The bustling week of activities, which begins on Move-In Day, includes a number of fun, on-campus events such as First Night Carolina, Convocation, the start of classes and more.

During UofSC Welcome 2018 more than 8,000 students will move into their on-campus residences beginning on Monday, Aug. 20 and enjoy several, action-packed days before classes begin on Thursday, Aug. 23.

Welcome (or Welcome Back) to All

It's just a few days, but it's a busy time for new and returning students. Take a glance at top events and tips. 

rocking chairs on the porch watching the sunset

Where to Stay

Many local hotels offer special rates for visitors to campus so mention us when you make your hotel reservations. If you're planning to stay in town a few days, see our calendar for events and Explore Columbia for can't-miss local experiences.


Welcome Events

Take a few days to get to know campus and meet your fellow students. Plan to attend First Night Carolina and Convocation — two important moments you'll never forget.

August 20 – 25, 2018

Monday — First Night Carolina featuring Cocky’s Call

When: Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, 9 – 11 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Student Life

The class of 2022’s first night at Carolina will be unlike any class before them! New for 2018, Cocky’s Call is the start of a new USC tradition where first year students meet on the Horseshoe to take part in their first “Gamecock” chant. Following Cocky’s Call, students will head to Greene Street for a street fair that will include food trucks, novelties, a DJ, fireworks and more!

Tuesday — Student Media Showcase

When: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Student Media

Student members of The Daily Gamecock, Garnet and Black magazine, SGTV and WUSC will be on Greene Street to answer questions about getting involved in one or more of Student Media’s four groups. All students are encouraged to join regardless of major. Student Media is a home for writers, photographers, DJ’s, videographers, graphic designers and more.

Tuesday — Carolina After Dark presents Flick on the Field

When: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, 8:30 – 10:45 p.m.
Where: Davis Field
Sponsor: Carolina After Dark

Missing Queen Bey at Williams-Brice? Come to Davis Field and watch her perform on the silver screen in Dreamgirls, a film about the history of the Motown record label and the Supremes. The film features Beyonce, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Hudson, Jaime Foxx and Eddie Murphy.

Wednesday — New Student Convocation

When: Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, 11 a.m.
Where: Colonial Life Area

New students and their families are invited to join President Harris Pastides for the Convocation ceremony, the official welcome for incoming members of the Carolina family. Stay afterward for the reception where you can meet the president, university administrators and other fellow students.

Wednesday — Carolina Productions Presents Mini Golf

When: Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, 1 – 5 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Carolina Productions

After Convocation, head up to Greene Street for a round of mini golf with your friends.

Wednesday — OMSA CommUNITY Carnival

When: Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, 4 – 6 p.m.
Where: Russell House Ballroom
Sponsor: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs welcomes ALL students to campus and invites your to celebrate the diversity UofSC has to offer with carnival games, free food and door prizes.

Wednesday — Carolina Productions Presents Peter Boie – Magician for Nonbelievers

When: Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 
Show Times: 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Where: Russell House Ballroom
Sponsor: Carolina Productions

Head over to the Russell House for a magic show like no other featuring magician Peter Boie. Bring your friends and celebrate the last night before classes begin.

Thursday — Discover Columbia Vendor Fair

When: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Student Media

Get to know who and what makes Columbia, S.C. the place to be. Visit the Discover Columbia Vendor Fair to learn about the places, people and purveyors who make our Southern spot, hot. Head to the Russell House to meet with local businesses and attractions, learn about the area and even grab a freebie or two.

Thursday — Bustle at the Russell

When: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, 9 p.m. – Midnight
Where: Russell House
Sponsors: Russell House and Carolina After Dark

Celebrate the first day of class by exploring the hub of student life: the Russell House. At Bustle at the Russell, see more of what our student union has to offer, take home great giveaways, play fun games, enjoy free food and make memories.

Friday — Faith Fair

When: Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Interfaith Initiatives

The Faith Fair is an annual, interactive experience where you can connect with religious or spiritual student organizations and off-campus, Columbia-based organizations. This event is hosted by Interfaith Initiatives within the Department of Student Life.

Friday — Opportunity Knocks Part-Time Job Fair

When: Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, 1 – 4 p.m. 
Where: Russell House Ballroom
Sponsor: Career Center

The Opportunity Knocks Part-Time Job Fair is a great opportunity for UofSC students and alumni to meet with potential employers to discuss part-time, work-study or work study positions on or off campus. Visit the Career Center for more information and tips on preparing for the job fair.

Friday — AAAS Welcome Back Cookout

When: Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, 5 – 8 p.m. 
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Association of African American Students (AAAS)

The AAAS Welcome Back Cookout welcomes students — both undergrad and graduate — to mix and mingle and learn about on-campus organizations such as the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Enjoy food, drinks and friendly conversation with new friends.

Friday — Dive-In Movie at the Strom

When: Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, 8 p.m. 
Where: Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center outdoor pool deck
Sponsors: Carolina After Dark and Campus Recreation

Join Carolina After Dark and Campus Recreation for a free "dive in" movie screening of Black Panther, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. on the Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center outdoor pool deck. This event will feature snacks, novelty floats, and fun!

Saturday — Service Saturday

When: Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Davis Field (Rain Location Russell House Theatre)
Sponsor: Leadership and Service Center

Come out to the first Service Saturday of the year. Students, faculty and staff are invited to get involved and give back to the Columbia community by serving a local organization. Sign up in advance and join us Saturday morning for a day of service and reflection capped off by a free lunch. Transportation provided.

Saturday — Night at the Fireflies

When: Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, 6 p.m.
Where: Spirit Communications Park
Sponsor: Carolina After Dark

Join Carolina After Dark for a Night at the Fireflies!! Tickets are FREE (w/Carolina Card), and shuttles will be provided starting at 5 p.m. at the Horseshoe. Food and drinks will also be provided at the stadium.


August 26 – September 2, 2018

Sunday — Lunch & Luau at the Strom

When: Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, 1 – 4 p.m.
Where: Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center outdoor pool deck
Sponsor: Residence Hall Association

Grab your floaties and bring your appetite! Come join RHA for a relaxing afternoon by the pool with free Carolina gear giveaways. Students must present a valid USC Student ID for admission into the facility.

Sunday — International Welcome Week Picnic

When: Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, 1 – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Davis Field II

The International Welcome Week Picnic is the perfect opportunity for students to mix and mingle with others from all different backgrounds. International students and domestic students will come together to enjoy snacks, chat, and relax as a refreshing way to begin the semester. Information about the International Student Association and upcoming cultural events will be provided as well.

Sunday — What's the Big Deal About Sweet Tea

When: Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, 5 – 7 p.m.
Where: Russell House Ballroom
Sponsor: Student Success Center

Welcome to South Carolina, y'all! If you're curious to know more about the “famously hot” place you now call home, join us to learn about all things “southern” including regional culture, the Palmetto State, Columbia and Gamecock traditions. You'll have a chance to meet fellow out-of-state students, learn the official dance of South Carolina (the “Shag") and sample local staples like sweet tea, boiled peanuts and more!

Monday — Get Rec'd Fair

When: Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Campus Recreation

Stop by the Get Rec'd Fair to learn all Campus Recreation has to offer. Watch a group exercise demo, participate in a fitness challenge, talk to a personal trainer, get your bike tuned up by a Bike Shop specialist, learn about equipment rentals from the Rental Shop, talk to a certified athletic trainer, win a prize competing in an Intramural Sports event and find out about the many sport clubs you can participate in.

Monday — Trivia Night Presented by USC Homecoming Commission

When: Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, 8 p.m.
Where: Russell House Ballroom
Sponsor: USC Homecoming Commission

Whose brain will reign? Join USC Homecoming for the prequel to their Breakfast Trivia Night, which will be held during the Homecoming Week in October. Free for students, faculty and staff with a valid USC ID.  

Tuesday — Welcome to a Healthy Carolina

When: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Student Health Services

Welcome to a Healthy Carolina! Come out to Greene Street to help us kickoff our health and wellness initiatives for the year. Learn about everything Student Health Services has to offer to keep you at your best. Pet a few puppies to relieve the stress of syllabus week, play a trivia game and even get a VIP tour of the new Center for Health and Well-Being! Check out the weekly farmers market, pet a few puppies to relieve the stress of syllabus week and play some games for the chance to win a free t-shirt!

Tuesday — Russell at the Russell Back to School Concert: Russell Dickerson

When: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, 6:45 – 8 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Carolina Productions

Let’s make this back to school week one to remember! We can’t wait to have Russell Dickerson at UofSC on August 28th for a free concert! This event will be open to anyone with a valid Carolina Card. Hosted by Carolina Productions with special thanks to CMA EDU for helping with promotional causes.

Wednesday — Student Organization Fair

When: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4 – 7 p.m.
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Leadership and Service Center

Looking to join a new student organization this year? Stop by the fall Student Organization Fair and meet with representatives from more than 170 student organizations outside on Greene Street. This year you have two session choices to meet with organization reps — late morning beginning at 11 a.m. and late afternoon beginning at 4 p.m.

Wednesday — Silent Disco

When: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, 8 – 11 p.m. 
Where: Capstone Campus Room
Residence Hall Association

Come check out the latest crazy in dance parties. Admission limited to the first 300 UofSC students with a valid USC ID.

Thursday — Community Service Fair

When: Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Where: Greene Street
Sponsor: Leadership and Service Center

The Community Service Fair is a way for students, faculty and staff to connect with non-profit agencies and on-campus service organizations and learn more about volunteering, internships and networking opportunities. Stop by to learn all the ways you can give back to the Columbia and Carolina communities.

Friday — Carolina Kickoff

When: Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Where: Greene Street
Sponsors: Student Government and Athletics

Friday — “Glowga” – Glow-in-the-Dark Outdoor Yoga

When: Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, 8:30 p.m. 
Where: Davis Field
Sponsor: Carolina After Dark

Relax after the first full week of class with some yoga under the stars. Instruction provided by Yoga Masala.

Sunday — “Comedy After Dark” Presented by Carolina After Dark

When: Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, 8:30 p.m. 
Where: Russell House Ballroom
Sponsor: Carolina After Dark

What better way to break up the weekend than with some laughs? Join Carolina After Dark for the first comedy show of the semester. Free for students, faculty and staff with a valid USC ID.

Can't Miss Events


Friday, Aug. 17, 2018

Location: Davis Field I - RHUU Side

Student Health Services Welcome & Center for Health and Well-Being Tours

Monday, Aug. 20, 2018

Location: RHUU Russell House Patio Space 01

Opportunity Scholars Pre-Orientation

Monday, Aug. 20, 2018

Location: Russell House Ballroom

First Night Carolina featuring Cocky's Call

Monday, Aug. 20, 2018

Location: RHUU Greene Street

Engage in the Process: Orientation to National Fellowships

Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018

Location: Currell 107

View the Calendar