A large Gamecock family smiles brightly at the photographer while standing against the backdrop of Williams-Brice Stadium in the distance.

Family Weekend plays important role in student support

UofSC will host more than 2,000 Gamecock families Sept. 27-29

Family Weekend is happening Sept. 27-29, which means families will be arriving on campus not only to cheer on the Gamecocks against Kentucky but also to get an inside look at students’ lives on campus. Since move-in day in August, parents and other family members have been counting down to the moment they get to step foot on the Horseshoe and into the classroom to get a taste of campus life.

“For about 18 years, families have experienced and participated in almost every aspect of their student’s life,” says Skylar Pritchard, coordinator of communications and engagement for Student Life. “As the student transitions to life in college, that active participation decreases, but Family Weekend provides a nice bridge for families between the active involvement of high school and the supportive role necessary in college.”

Family Weekend is part of the university’s wide-ranging commitment to delivering a superior student experience in a welcoming, inclusive environment. It helps to connect a student’s personal support network to the university experience, so that family members can feel engaged in the journey and students can feel a deep level of support both on- and off-campus.

A big part of Family Weekend involves interaction with faculty. Among the colleges and schools that will be hosting Family Weekend events are the College of Education, the Darla Moore School of Business, the College of Engineering and Computing, the College of Information and Communications, the College of Nursing and the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Events range from a simple Q&A session to a paid soiree.

“We will have up to two faculty members per department present,” says Anna Westbury, special events and alumni relations coordinator for the College of Education. “Our event will be a classic open house where parents can meet their student’s professors, ask questions and mingle with other parents during a light reception.”

When faculty mingle with family, it could help students feel more supported and add to their social capital, helping to support positive mental health.

Ryan Carlson, College of Education associate professor

Faculty attendance is vital to the success of Family Weekend events, helping parents learn what is going on in their student’s college. It is also a great opportunity to promote college programs that students might want to take part in and successes such as high employment rates after graduation.

“Parents are interested in what their family’s investment will lead to after a four-year education in terms of jobs and employment,” says Janice Bass, associate dean of undergraduate programs and professor of economics.

Connecting faculty and family can not only improve the student experience — it can even help with student mental health. Reminders of home can be energizers for students and improve student and faculty relationships.

“When faculty mingle with family, it could help students feel more supported, and add to their social capital, helping to support positive mental health,” says Ryan Carlson, associate professor in the College of Education.