January 2020
In This Issue
  • Senior Awards
  • Talking Points
  • Meal Plans
  • Tuition Payment
  • Student Leadership & Diversity Conference
  • Student Health Services
  • Answering your questions
  • University news
  • Important dates
The sun sets over the Thomas Cooper Library on a chilly winter day.
Greetings!

Happy New Year, Gamecock families! I hope you've enjoyed having time to reconnect with your student over the winter break and they have been able to rest from an exciting first half of the academic year!

The spring semester is sure to be as jam-packed as the fall for your student. So many opportunities will be available for students to build greater connections with each other and our community including: the Student Leadership & Diversity Conference, the Ring Ceremony on the historic Horseshoe, Student Government elections, Thursday After Dark programming across the city and much more. Encourage your student to follow @UofSCStuLife on Twitter so they don't miss out on any of these events or experiences.

Getting back into the routine of classes may be difficult for your student after having time off to reflect on the fall. If they begin feeling discouraged with classes or roommate woes, remind them of the times they've persevered through adversity. Resiliency is a trait that students build in college which ultimately helps them throughout the rest of their life and career. Establishing positive routines at the start of the semester can assist with making it a successful one for them!

If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to the Office of Parent & Family Programs by phone (800-868-6752) or email ( scparents@sc.edu). We're here to help!
Anna C. Edwards, Ph.D. 
Associate Vice President for Student Life 
Senior Awards Application Now Available
Outstanding senior students are encouraged to apply for senior awards.

The University of South Carolina's Honors and Awards Commission is accepting applications for the Outstanding Senior Award. Students selected for this honor will also be considered for the university's top undergraduate honors - the President's Award, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and Steven N. Swanger Leadership Award.

The deadline to apply online is Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m.
Family Talking Points
UofSC Parent
The end of the holiday season and the start of a new semester often leads to students feeling much gratitude and joy for the things they have and the people in their life. With this newfound attitude, your student may be wondering how they can give back to the community and pay it forward to those around them.

The Leadership and Service Center (LSC) houses many opportunities for students to get involved around campus and the city of Columbia. Students can speak directly with a leadership coach to discuss their options or they can look into participating in the following service opportunities to help spread joy and give back.

  • Service Saturdays - Each month during the semester, students gather to assist with projects around the city of Columbia. From helping clean up parks to serving at food banks, students can get an array of service experience.
  • Alternative Breaks - During fall, winter and spring breaks, students can apply to volunteer for a cause outside of Columbia. These week-long service projects assist community organizations across the southeast to build opportunities for their residents. Students interested in taking part in arts outreach or environmentalism spring alternative breaks can apply online through Feb. 14.
  • Gamecock Pantry - Available to students facing food insecurities, the Gamecock Pantry is located on campus and is a great option for students looking to serve their peers. Volunteers assist with sorting and stocking items, as well as the general management of the pantry during regular hours. Student organizations can also work directly with the LSC to create food drives to help stock the pantry.
  • The Big Event - Each spring, UofSC participates in a large-scale day of service to benefit local community members and organizations. In 2019, 450 students, faculty and staff completed a combined total of 1,800 hours of service creating a $45,540 economic impact. The Big Event 2020 will take place April 4, so encourage your student to mark it in their planner.
  • Student organizations - There are also approximately thirty student-run organizations on campus with a focus on serving communities and giving back. Encourage your student to search Garnet Gate for a list of the student organizations who have volunteerism and service as part of their mission.
 
Looking for additional ways to support your student this semester? Be sure to review the "Conversation Kick-Starters" tab on the Parent & Family Programs mobile app for discussion topics and tips for talking with your student.
Meal Plan Reminders
Students living on campus will automatically be enrolled in the Garnet 14 traditional meal plan option. Students looking to upgrade or add a meal plan for the spring semester can do so by logging in to Self Service Carolina. As a reminder, meal plan dollars differ from CarolinaCa$h in that meal plan dollars are non-taxed dollars that can only be used on campus at dining locations.

Spring 2020 Meal Plan Dates:
  • Jan. 5: CarolinaCa$h loads from optional fees
  • Jan. 6: Meal plans will load to student’s account
  • Jan. 8: Residence halls open; meal plans begin at dinner
  • Jan. 14: Last day to make changes to meal plans using fee payment
  • Jan. 24: Last day to downgrade or cancel meal plan by 5 p.m.
Tuition & Fee Payment
Spring 2020 Fee Payment and Bills
Tuition bills are now available on Self Service Carolina (SSC) for students who registered for spring semester classes. Please be sure your student reviews their bill thoroughly to ensure all charges are present and accurate. The online payment deadline is Jan. 8. Failure to pay the balance in full or set up a payment plan by the deadline can result in the course schedule being dropped.

Payment Plans 
Payment plans for the spring semester are available through your student's SSC account and students must re-enroll each semester. These plans allow payment throughout the semester, per a monthly schedule, until the balance is paid in full. To facilitate the payment plan process, an initial payment of 25% of the total balance is to be paid after all financial aid has been applied, plus a $75 administrative fee. The spring 2020 payment dates are: Feb. 10, March 10, and April 10. The payment plan covers tuition, housing, meal plans, technology and program fees. Parking citations, health service charges and student conduct fees are not covered by payment plans and must be paid manually through students' SSC accounts.

Refunds
We encourage students to set up a direct deposit account for potential refunds in order for funds to be received most efficiently. This can be done through SSC. If direct deposit is not set up on a student's account, a paper check will be issued and mailed to the address listed as current on their record.
Student Leadership & Diversity Conference
Student Leadership & Diversity Conference 2019
Consider registering your student for the university’s annual Student Leadership and Diversity Conference! This one-day on-campus conference is an opportunity for students to develop important skills related to leadership and inclusion while networking with student leaders from across the southeast. Each year, approximately 500 student attendees from 30 different higher education institutions take part.
 
This year’s conference will take place Feb. 15 with an inspirational theme of "Chain Reaction." Students can expect to leave the conference with a newfound understanding of their leadership style, how they can foster sustainable positive change and the impact they have on creating a diverse society. Encourage your student to register by Jan. 17 to receive the early registration price. Registration includes a keynote presentation, over 30 different workshops, lunch and more.
Student Health Services News
Flu Season
The peak flu season continues through March, so Student Health Services will continue to provide flu shots to students throughout the spring semester. They can visit the Allergy, Immunization and Travel office in the Center for Health & Well-Being during regular business hours to be vaccinated. Flu shots are available to students at no additional costs no matter their health insurance policy.

If your student is not feeling well and thinks they may have the flu, they can also schedule an appointment with their doctor online at sc.edu/myhealthspace. If they don't want to leave their residence hall or apartment, they can also use the convenient Telemedicine app to schedule an appointment with a doctor over a secure video link.

How Can Counseling & Psychiatry Help My Student?
There are many ways a student can access mental health services at UofSC. The first step to getting the best and most effective care is to make an appointment for an assessment. A triage counselor assesses the student then makes recommendations for a treatment option that is best for their individual needs. Treatment options can include facilitated self care, group counseling, online therapy, individual counseling or a psychiatric appointment. A student can schedule an appointment through sc.edu/myhealthspace with their university username and password.

Students also have 24/7 access to counseling services. A student can walk in to the Thomson Building during normal business hours and be seen by a counselor. During the spring and fall semesters, walk-in appointments are available Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m. After regular hours, students can call 803-777-5223 to speak with a counselor about urgent concerns.  If the student is in distress and in immediate danger of hurting themselves or others, they should call 911.
While home for winter break, my student talked a lot about changing their major. What are their options in doing so?

Changing majors in college is not an uncommon experience. It often isn't until students take a course in their major that they realize it's not what they want to pursue. Students should set up an appointment with their academic advisor or an exploratory advisor in the University Advising Center right away to discuss their options. Exploratory advisors can help students determine their interests, find career fields that align with those and establish a path toward a more suitable program of study.

You can find additional ways to support your student through the process of changing majors on the Parent & Family Programs mobile app under the "Conversation Kick-Starters" tab.

Have a question? Contact the Office of Parent & Family Programs at 1-800-868-6752 or scparents@sc.edu, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for assistance.

"20 in '19"

From soccer champions to woolly mammoths, record research funding to a record-setting freshman class, the University of South Carolina had a lot to be proud of in 2019. Here are 20 of the year’s highlights.
"New graduate follows her path to broadcast journalism"

Dara Khaalid earned her degree from UofSC in December, ready to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. It’s a path she set out on years earlier – when she was just a fifth grader.
Jan. 8: Residence halls open for spring semester at 8 a.m.
Jan. 12: Greek Village opens for spring semester at noon
Jan. 13: Spring semester classes begin
Jan. 20: MLK, Jr. Day - no classes, university offices closed
Jan. 21: Last day to change/drop a course without a grade of "W"
Feb. 17: Spring 2020 graduation application due
March 2: Midpoint in semester
March 8-15: Spring break - no classes
Please continue to visit the Parents & Families Gateway for information and resources at sc.edu/parents .

Office of Parent & Family Programs
University of South Carolina
Website:  sc.edu/parents  
Parents Assistance Line: 1-800-868-6752