Freshmen Send-Offs welcome new students and their parents
This summer’s Freshmen Send-Off parties stretch from Atlanta to Boston, and from Charleston to Philadelphia. Thirteen events are planned from July 18 through August 9.
What is a Freshmen Send-Off?
Incoming freshmen meet other incoming freshmen, parents meet other parents, alumni trade stories of their time at Carolina, and everyone celebrates their Carolina connection at a Freshmen Send-Off.
Events in Greenville, Charleston, and Philadelphia draw as many as 30 to 40 freshmen, their parents, and area alumni for an average attendance of 100 people.
Carolina Alumni Clubs
Each Freshmen Send-Off is hosted by the Carolina Alumni Club in that area.
There are currently 45 Carolina Alumni Clubs nationwide, said Kinsey Cooper, director of Alumni Programs for the Carolina Alumni Association. She and Andrew Christopherson, director of alumni programs, coordinate the events.
"Freshmen Send-Offs are an important part of the summer orientation process," Cooper said. "They are a way for the newest students to connect with the University and stay involved the rest of their lives."
More than 30 percent of Carolina freshmen attending summer events join the Student Alumni Association before classes even begin. With more than 4,000 members, the Student Alumni Association is the largest student organization at the University.
Sharing Carolina experiences
University President Harris Pastides is scheduled to attend the August 9 Freshmen Send-Off in Philadelphia. It will be hosted again this year at the home of Kevin Lahn, a 1983 business administration graduate who is president of the Philadelphia Carolina Alumni Club.
“Freshmen Send-Offs are a perfect way for alumni to become involved and share their wonderful Carolina experiences with incoming students,” said Marsha Cole, executive director of the Carolina Alumni Association. “For the students, one of the first contacts that they have with the University is a reminder that they are becoming a Gamecock for life.”
First stop: Myrtle Beach
A menu of Bang-Bang shrimp, tuna sashimi, mussels Josephine, and Singapore calamari was an instant ice-breaker at the summer's first Freshmen Send-Off on July 18. The Carolina Alumni Club of Myrtle Beach, led by club president Chris Stockman, a 2002 retail management graduate, hosted the event.
Cheryl Holmes of nearby Conway, S.C., attended the Myrtle Beach Send-Off. She was representing her son, Colby, and his father, John, who could not attend.
"Colby will pitch for the Gamecock baseball team, and he also has been drafted by the Atlanta Braves," she explained. "He and his dad are traveling throughout the South so Colby can play summer baseball for teams including the Braves’ scout squad.
“Just from the times we’ve been to Columbia, the University seems like a very close-knit community with people who are very nice and eager to help us,” Holmes said. "Colby is excited about being a Gamecock."
Carolina and Leiber Scholar
Freshman Elizabeth Wilson of Georgetown has been accepted to study international business at the Moore School Business. Her goal? A triple major that includes management and marketing. A Carolina Scholar and Lieber Scholar who was accepted into the Honors College, Wilson attended the send-off with her father, Laurin, her mother, Cynthia, brother, Preston, and friend Chris Shumburg.
“We have been impressed with the overall organization of the University, and how thorough the orientation process is,” Laurin Wilson said.
Elizabeth and her family have been visiting the University campus for three years. One summer, she attended a weeklong Wachovia Scholars Program for high school students. During the program, she and the other students wrote business plans and created their own commercial. The students also met Moore School of Business benefactor and financial expert Darla Moore.
Freshman Brandon Truss of North Myrtle Beach, who will be studying chemistry for premedicine, said he chose Carolina over other universities in state because “this University has better value” in what it offers academically.
"That’s important for students like me," said Truss, who has received a Pell Grant in addition to scholarships from Palmetto Fellows and the International Association of Firefighters.
A Gamecock football fan, Truss will have a great view of the games this fall: he will be playing trombone in the marching band.