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Students jumping while watching fireworks in front of Russell House.

Fomo No More

Mark your calendars for these can't miss Carolina Welcome events

As the home to the nation's best first-year student experience among public universities, you better believe that we pull out all the stops when we welcome Gamecocks back to campus each fall. This year is no exception. From major annual traditions like First Night Carolina and Cocky's Call to lesser known but equally awesome events like watching a movie in the outdoor pool at the Wellness and Fitness Center, get out your calendars and make plans to make the most of your Carolina Welcome Experience.


Bustle at the Russell 

📍     Russell House   
⏰     7-10 p.m.
📅     Monday, Aug. 21

Think of this event as your Russell House orientation. Whether it's to grab a bite to eat, pick up mail, attend a student organization meeting or check out one of the hundreds of events that happens here every year, as a student at South Carolina, you will spend a lot of time hanging out at Russell. This event is a great excuse to learn about what resources exist in the student union and to learn your way around the building. This year, check out the skating rink in the ballroom and don't miss the dance party in Russell Underground among other engaging activities throughout the building.

  • Two girls taking a picture of themselves while rollerskating.
  • Three sets of roller skates with neon lights.
  • DJ stand lit up.
  • Girl with sunglasses on and a cocky-shaped balloon hat.


First Night Carolina 

📍    The Horseshoe and Greene Street
⏰     7 p.m.
📅     Wednesday, Aug. 23

Picture this: You're on the Horseshoe Sandstorming for the first time as a student with 7,000 new friends at Cocky's Call. Your next stop is Greene Street for a huge block party and fireworks. You and your new friends decide to check out the photo ops by the Thomas Cooper Fountain and Cocky statue. Life is good. Pro tip: don't party too hard! First Night Carolina always takes place the night before the first day of classes.

  • A group of six students smiling on the Horseshoe at First Night Carolina.
  • Two boys watching fireworks.
  • A group of girls swinging rally towels and smiling at First Night Carolina.
  • A DJ in front of a crowd of people on Greene Street


  • RecFlix N' Chill

    📍    Wellness and Fitness Center pool
    ⏰    7-10 p.m.
    📅     Thursday, Aug. 24

    Rex Flix N' Chill kicks off Gamecock Entertainment's Thursday After Dark (TAD) series. Nothing fishy here! Enjoy free snacks and treats and, this year, watch the Little Mermaid while floating in the pool at the Wellness and Fitness Center. Many TAD events are at venues off-campus and transportation is provided. TAD events include free mini golf, skate nights, axe throwing, goat yoga (not to be confused with doing yoga with Dawn Staley) and more.

    TAD Events

  • Two girls smiling while swimming on a flamingo float in the Strom pool.
  • Marshmallow being roasted over a fire pit.
  • Woman teaching Zumba outside.
  • Woman and man walking by pool at the Wellness and Fitness Center and smiling.
  • Person getting a dino chicken nugget from a buffet.


AAAS Cookout

📍     Greene Street   
⏰     5-8 p.m.   
📅     Friday, Aug. 25

Every fall, the Association of African American Students (AAAS) starts off the school year with a block party and cookout open to all students. This August 25th from 5-8 p.m., join AAAS to learn more about the student organization and celebrate a new school year with food, fun and music by DJ El Doggin. Make sure to be on the lookout for our NPHC organizations, also known as the Divine 9, as they will be strolling throughout the event. These historically African American fraternities and sororities represent the unity of their culture through in the form of synchronized movements that are specific to their organization, known as a stroll. You don’t want to miss this awesome experience of culture going down right outside Russell House on Greene Street!

  • Girl "strolling" on Greene Street.
  • Two girls smiling and eating outside.
  • Man dancing outside in a crowd wearing a USC shirt.


  • Girl signing up for a student organization.
  • Student Org Fair

    📍     Greene Street and Davis Field  
    ⏰     11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. 
    📅     Wednesday, Aug. 30

    The number one piece of advice we get from our alums to incoming Gamecocks is to get involved and the student org fair(s) that take place throughout the semester are the best opportunity to find your fit. With over 300 student organizations on campus, there is something for everyone. Did you know you can search for organizations on Garnet Gate? Log in to Garnet Gate to check out the complete student organization directory. There's a student organization for everyone! Don't bee-lieve us? Check out orgs like the Bee Keeping Club where you can get up close and personal with our honey-making friends.

    Garnet Gate


  • A man holding a small child smiling with Cocky at Segra Park.
  • Night at the Fireflies

    📍 Segra Park   |   ⏰   6 p.m. gates open   |   📅  Thursday, Aug. 31

    New to Columbia and want to know what “glowing garnet” really means? On August 31st, students can make their way to Segra Park for a Gamecock takeover of the Fireflies’ stadium. If munching on hotdogs and Dippin’ Dots while cheering on your local minor league team sounds like the perfect summer night to you, we’ve got you covered. This night at the ballpark is free for students with a valid Carolina Card, and complimentary shuttles are available from the Horseshoe throughout the event. Faculty and staff, if you're reading this thinking this sounds fun, you're invited too!

    USC Night at the Fireflies

  • Segra Park
  • Two girls at USC Night at the Fireflies smiling and doing a spurs up.


Football Season Kickoff 

📍  Greene Street   |   ⏰  12-2 p.m.  Carolina Kickoff     📅  Friday, Sept. 1
📍  Russell House Theater   |   ⏰  7 p.m.  Watch party  |   📅  Saturday, Sept. 2

Before the team takes over Bank of America Stadium, they’ll need the ultimate hype man: you! Attend a pep rally on September 1st ahead of their departure to get you pumped for kickoff. Can’t make the trek to Charlotte for the first game against UNC? Never fear! Be surrounded by your fellow Gamecocks as you cheer on South Carolina from the Russell House Theater, featuring snacks, friends and a lot of garnet and black. Pro-tip: residence halls do not provide cable for students, so skip the subscriptions and experience the game on the big screen. 

  • A group of students smiling at a USC football game using a spurs up hand sign.
  • USC football players singing the alma mater in Williams-Brice Stadium.
  • Cocky doing a spurs up hand sign on a football field.


USC Events

Whew. We're really just scratching the surface in this roundup. To keep your calendar up-to-date with all of the best ways to make the most of your time on campus, make sure to bookmark the USC Calendar and follow Gamecock Entertainment and UofSCStudents.