Skip to Content

Leadership and Service Center

  • students in a game of tug-of-war

Pillars for Carolina

Our Mission 

Pillars for Carolina is a student-led program that creates a foundation of community and confidence through activities centered around leadership, service, and active citizenship to inspire first-year students to leave their mark at the University of South Carolina.

Our Vision 

To build a community of passionate people so that participants leave with a sense of belonging, confidence, and a jumpstart on their Gamecock experience.

Our Values

Community, Connection, Belonging, Fun, and Self-Discovery.

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.

Students who participate in the Pillars for Carolina program 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.

Registration for Pillars '24 is open now! 

Please read through the information below for registration requirements:

Both weeks provide the same experience and you will be asked to choose which week you are attending during registration.

    • Week I: Tuesday, July 16th - Friday, July 19th, 2024
    • Week II: Tuesday, July 23rd - Friday, July 26th, 2024
  • Registration cost is all-inclusive (lodging for 3 nights on-campus, activities, and meals are included in the registration cost).
  • For information on scholarship opportunities, please view our scholarship information on the right-hand side of this page.

Paying for Pillars for Carolina:

  • Registration cost: $350
  • Payment Options:
    • Payments may be made in-full or with a deposit and second payment (if registration is completed by May 31st). Below are dates for the payment plan option:
      • May 31st: $100 deposit due (non-refundable)
        • Participants who would like to register before May 31st without paying the full $350 up-front may make a non-refundable deposit of $100. This deposit will hold your registration for Pillars. A second payment of $250 will be due by June 30th
      • June 30th: Final payment of $250 due
  • Refund / Cancellations:
    • If you are unable to attend Pillars for Carolina and would like to request a cancellation, please email Bridget Duignan. Request made prior to May 31st will be eligible for a partial refund ($250 if payment in full has been completed).  Request made after May 31st will not be refunded. For all registrations, there is a $100 non-refundable deposit.

To register, please complete registration and payment HERE.

*Additional Registration Information:

  • Registration is best completed on a computer.
  • Registration is available on a first-come-first-served basis. Once capacity is reached, participants may be placed on a waiting list.
  • Registrations will not be refunded unless Pillars for Carolina is rescheduled or cancelled.


What is Pillars for Carolina?

Pillars for Carolina is a four-day experience where participants will have a unique opportunity to become acquainted with campus, explore the USC and Columbia community, and have an opportunity to transition to Carolina with other incoming students. Pillars for Carolina is committed to helping students develop self-awareness, enhance relationships, and prepare you for your first semester at USC! 

Through Pillars for Carolina, incoming students will have the opportunity to spend three nights in a residence hall, serve the Columbia community, learn the traditions of Carolina, make new friends, and most importantly, have fun!

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.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Pillars for Carolina prides itself on making the transition to USC more comfortable for first-year students by providing an opportunity for self-discovery and campus exploration before you come for your first semester.

  • 99% of participants agreed that they would recommend Pillars to other incoming students.
  • 98% of participants agreed that because of attending Pillars, they felt more comfortable coming to USC.
  • 97% of participants agreed that because of attending Pillars, they felt more prepared for their first year experience.
  • 96% of participants agreed that because of attending Pillars, they felt more confident in making friends with other first-year students.
  • 100% of participants agreed that their XM's (eXtended Mentors) served as mentors and built community within their family groups.

*data collected from 2022 participants

  • USC New Student Orientation and Pillars for Carolina are separate programs. While New Student Orientation is mandatory for all incoming students, Pillars is an extra way to meet fellow Gamecocks and spend time on campus before move-in day.
  •  No, Pillars is offered to all incoming first-year Gamecocks, as well as incoming transfer students.
  •  Yes. Parking information will be provided to you closer to your program week in July.
  •  All food, sleeping accommodations for three nights, and four days of activities are included in the registration cost. Participants will also receive a t-shirt.

**Registration fees go towards all space rentals and activities for participants during the program**

  • Check-In information will be provided closer to your week, but will be between 2:00P-5:00P on Tuesday with check-out at 3:00P on Friday. 

**If you are participating in New Student Orientation on July 15-16 or July 22-23, you will be able to check-out of orientation and check-in to Pillars on time.

  • Participants will be staying in a residence hall on USC’s campus. Information about residence hall is provided after registration.
  •  Please list all dietary restrictions in your registration form and we will accommodate as necessary. 
  •  Clothes for 4 days of activities in and around campus
    • Be mindful of the South Carolina summer heat. The average temperature in Columbia in July is 95 degrees.
  • Comfortable shoes to walk around in
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Hat / Sunscreen / Sunglasses - protective sun wear 
  • Portable Chargers for your phones
  • Hygiene products 
  • Medications
  • Bedding for a twin XL size mattress, including sheets and a pillow
  • Spending money
    • Students will have the opportunity to shop around some off-campus locations

After registration, you will receive an email with a full packing list. 

  • Yes! The link to with more information and to apply for scholarships is located on our website on the right hand side.
  • "Pillars went above and beyond my expectations in so many ways. I not only made some amazing friendships and bonds but I learned about my campus and so much about myself. I not only watched myself grow so much within the week but I got to see the people around me grow as well. I think that is such a wonderful thing. I was blessed to have amazing staff with us every step of the way, and amazing opportunities to highlight our personalities. I feel so much more comfortable to be coming to campus now." - Participant, 2022
  • My time at Pillars was unforgettable and while I was there I formed multiple close relationships. During my time at Pillars I definitely built a better sense of community in Columbia and stepped out of my comfort zone." - Participant, 2022
  • "I can confidently say that I would not be the person that I am today without my experience from Pillars. I met so many people who I now consider close friends, got to step out of my comfort zone, and gained so much confidence speaking with people and making new friends. I cannot thank the staff enough for what they've done turning a shy, quiet high schooler into a confident, outspoken, college student." - Participant, 2021

Pillars '24 Lead Team

Co-Director Headshot

Evey K.

Overall Director
Major: Dance & Social Work
Hometown: Glen Burnie, MD

Co-Director Headshot

Jack H.

Overall Director
Major: Environmental Science & Political Science
Hometown: Midlothian, VA

Co-Director Headshot

Delaney N.  

Director of Staff Development
Major: Exercise Science
Hometown: Great Falls, VA

Maddy Reed

Maddy R.  

Director of Staff Development
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Chicago, IL

Scott Senkowski

Scott S.

Director of Operations and Curriculum
Hospitality Management
Fredericksburg, VA

Jenna Syslo

Jenna S.

Director of Operations and Curriculum
Fort Pierce, FL

Delaney Flanagan

Delaney F.

Director of Outreach and Marketing
Broadcast Journalism
Cary, NC

Molly Griffin

Molly G.

Director of Outreach and Marketing
Mass Communications
Fort Mill, SC


Staff Advisors

Joshua Cauble 

Pillars for Carolina Advisor
Associate Director, Leadership and Service Center
Leadership and Service Center

Bridget Duignan

Pillars for Carolina Advisor
Coordinator for Leadership and Service
Leadership and Service Center

Mai Francis

Pillars for Carolina Graduate Assistant Advisor
Graduate Assistant for Leadership and Student Organizations 
Leadership and Service Center


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.