by Whitney Smith
Preparing for the 5,000 incoming freshmen this fall, the University of South Carolina has worked to improve upon its campus, resources and programs to ensure that each Gamecock has access to the best possible experiences, both in and outside the classroom.
This is the third year for the Gamecock Gateway, with substantial growth to 330 this year from 168 students in 2013. The increase can be attributed to the program’s success since it started in 2012, as it serves as a way to continue expanding pathways that provide qualified South Carolina residents access to a UofSC undergraduate degree.
With more than 6.1 million meals served annually in on-campus dining units, Carolina Dining has added yet another option for students. Mindful by Sodexo, an approach to make it easier for diners to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, will be installed throughout campus. Carolina Dining will offer Mindful foods that balance nutrition with enticing flavors. The Mindful approach focuses on transparency of ingredients, delicious food, satisfying portions and clear messages. Students can quickly see the ingredients of the food along with how many calories, saturated fats, etc., they are consuming. Every Mindful recipe meets the Healthy Carolina standards for a healthy choice.
The incoming class
In a sea of 31,000 students on campus, UofSC’s freshman class may feel like they don’t stand out. However, this year’s freshman class has: 71 high-school valedictorians, 441 students entered in the South Carolina Honors College, 19 sets of twins and 113 student-athletes. They are also composed of students from 45 states and 28 countries.
Freshmen who are unsure of how to get involved on campus will be pleased to know that there are more than 400 student organizations, including 32 religious student organizations and 41 fraternities and sororities. There are 64 first-year students registered to be part of the Minority Assistance Peer program, a program designed to help minority students make a smooth transition from high school to college.
Anxious about the upcoming football season, or sports in general? There were 69,169 students who attended the seven home football games during the 2013 season, and 156,000 athletic student tickets were distributed during the 2013-14 season. There were also 2,846 intramural games played during 2013-14, with 11,223 participants.
At UofSC, students are served 24/7, as our university strives to make sure that all students are provided with valuable experiences. There are 255 residence-hall mentors and 4,060 undergraduates participating in Learning Communities within residence halls; numbers that reflect UofSC’s commitment to making sure students have mentors outside of the classroom. There are 217 sections of University 101, UofSC’s seminar class for first-year students.
To ensure UofSC students’ health, wellness and safety, there are 72 sworn police officers in the UofSC department, 243 campus safety presentations given to students by university police, 240 police call boxes throughout campus and 52,685 users registered to receive Carolina Alert Emergency Notifications. There were 16,244 patients who had health or wellness visits with Student Health Services departments in 2013-14, 2,426 flu shots administered by Student Health Services in 2013-14 and 34,053 prescriptions filled by the Student Health Services pharmacy in 2013-14.
Whatever each of the 5,000 incoming freshmen choose to participate in and experience, they should anticipate four years that will be packed with people and possibilities, and a number of ways they can make their time at UofSC count.