Bringing back the tradition

Students resurrect the Carolina yearbook

UofSC has undergone its fair share of growth and transition over the past 25 years. Enrollment continues to increase, technology has advanced exponentially and the campus landscape has changed immensely to accommodate rapid development. But many things have remained constant.

The introduction of the 1994 volume of the university’s former yearbook, Garnet and Black, laments students’ daily struggles with parking tickets and pesky squirrels, long walks between classes and getting lost in TCoop.

Anyone who has been a student over the past couple of decades knows that these occurrences are still prevalent. That's why the same introduction will be republished in UofSC’s first yearbook in over 25 years, Thee Big Spur. The name is a nod to a line from the alma mater "forever to thee" and to the Gamecock mascot.

Samantha Petrelli, a senior marketing and accounting major, says she came up with the idea to resurrect the yearbook at her Honors College orientation before her freshman year. Petrelli served as the editor-in-chief for her middle and high school yearbooks and was excited to continue the extracurricular activity in college.

However, Petrelli was disappointed to find that UofSC’s yearbook had long been discontinued, which is why she decided to a create a 50-page business plan for Thee Big Spur  as her Honors thesis. After conducting a survey and finding that students were interested, Petrelli decided to implement the plan.

The Garnet and Black was last published 25 years ago because of an increase in enrollment and a decrease in demand for the yearbook.

The yearbook had been produced from 1899 until 1994, making it the university’s oldest publication. Every volume has been digitized and can be found at the University Libraries' Digital Collections website.

The new yearbook will not have student portraits, but will serve more as a coffee table book capturing memories, achievements, traditions and events at UofSC.

Reinventing a Carolina yearbook has not come without challenges. Becoming an official student organization, dealing with technology and recruiting staff have been difficult parts of the process. There has also been a push to make Thee Big Spur a digital-only product.

“After researching, I knew the yearbook had to be a physical, tangible book,” says Petrelli. “This way, all of the senses are engaged with everything from the sensation of holding it and turning pages to even smelling the book. It's just a far better experience than scrolling.”

The uncertainty of where social media is headed is another reason Petrelli wanted to create this time capsule of the “collective Carolina experience.”

“Even though everything is online, in 10 or 20 years from now, it's not clear where social media will be or if you're going to be able to scroll back on Facebook to find pictures from different Carolina experiences.”

Thee Big Spur has been made possible by its design and business staffs. The design staff include writers, photographers, section editors, assistant editors, editor-in-chief, website designers and graphic designers. The business side includes positions dealing with operations, finances, staffing, advertising, social media and sales.

You can get your hands on one of the 500 copies of the 2019-20 edition of Thee Big Spur for $60 by visiting the Jostens Yearbooks website.

Books will be delivered to campus at the end of April and a specific pick-up date, time and location will be announced. If you’re abroad or won’t be on campus to get your copy, you can have the book delivered.

If you want to be in Thee Big Spur, you can submit pictures of you and your friends on campus, at sporting events, studying abroad or in any Carolina-related activity to

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