University 101 Programs

Student Involvement and Learning: Maximizing the Carolina Experience

Involvement in beyond the classroom experiences is key to a successful college experience. However, knowing where to begin can be difficult. We are here to help! Staff from the Department of Student Life will provide an overview of the variety of involvement opportunities during the first six weeks of class. Our focus is to help students get involved right now, start connecting with the University of South Carolina, and understand what it means to be a Carolinian. We also will emphasize the importance of students taking the time to intentionally track and reflect on their involvement in order to better articulate these experiences later in their college career. This is a 30-minute presentation that can be easily adapted based on instructor, section, and class needs.

Learning Outcomes

The “Student Involvement and Learning: Maximizing the Carolina Experience” presentation supports University 101 learning outcomes:

II. Help Students Discover and Connect With the University of South Carolina

a. Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement

Students will learn about campus units within the Department of Student Life and about specific programs that provide the opportunities for out-of-classroom engagement.  They will also learn the importance of planning and reflection as it relates to involvement so they don't get "over involved.”

c. Describe what it means to be a Carolinian in context of the history, traditions, and culture of the University

Out of classroom engagement is a priority for Carolina students, and this presentation will showcase the value and importance of this priority.  Our traditions are the result of students' involvement beyond the classroom, and the culture of learning outside the classroom will be explained and celebrated.

As a result of attending this presentation students will:

  • Have an understanding of the role and value of beyond the classroom involvement as it relates to learning
  • Have specific examples of activities to engage in during the first 6 weeks of class
  • Learn about departments and resources sponsored by the Department of Student Life

Presentation Outline

  • PLAY the Icebreaker – “Never Have I Ever…Been Involved”

  • SHARE the Goals of the U101 Involvement Session
    • To educate students on the importance of getting involved on campus
    • Focus is on participating in the USC community first…”sample the buffet”
    • To set the expectation that involvement beyond the classroom is vital to the Carolina experience
    • Draw connections to USC Connect and how this first year is about adjustment to USC, settling in to beyond the classroom opportunities and identify their plan for long-term learning beyond the classroom
    • To present the opportunities available within the Department of Student Life as a “first choice” for getting involved
    • Present ‘signature’ Student Life initiatives or programs central to the USC experience
  • ASK the Students about the Benefits of Involvement
    • Name two of the top five benefits of getting involved on campus
    • Name some easy ways to learn about the opportunities for getting involved on campus
    • TAKEAWAY: Students have to be engaged and “participate” in their new community before they can lead in it. Sample the buffet in this first year… that is your job!
  • CREATE “Involved Student” Profiles
    • Students will have opportunity to create “involved student” profiles. (8 cards; 2-3 people in small groups)
    • TAKEAWAY: Do what you like…this is how you build confidence as you transition to your new community
    • Integrate Student Life Departments and Programs into the discussion
  • FINISH with Student Life Program Information and Signature Events in First Six Weeks of Class as Additional Examples of Involvement
    • Play a few rounds of Student Life Trivia (so they can be further informed about SL initiatives)
    • SHARE upcoming Student Life Signature Events that are great for the first semester of college
    • REMIND them that how they “participate” is by staying informed
    • Provide Twitter and Facebook and website information

Presentation Length

30 minutes or Other Presentation Length

Presenter Training

Senior directors in the Department of Student Life nominate employees from our departments to serve as the presenters.  They are carefully selected to ensure their comfort with the material and their enthusiasm for selling the message of involvement on behalf of the entire department.  This group meets 2 times over the summer to build the presentation and agree on the common script so that it is the same message for all classes.  Graduate and undergraduate students are paired with a professional staff member when they participate in the presentation.