The Daily Gamecock

Sophomore Carnival: Inflatables not just for freshmen anymore

Sophomore carnival gives free food, jump castles to students

On Tuesday afternoon, USC really was full of hot air.

Or at least Greene Street was, as The Office of Student Engagement gave USC sophomores an energetic welcome-back carnival complete with large bouncy inflatables.

The event promoted the beginning of Sophomore September, a month-long outreach effort by Sophomore Initiative, a program of the office of Student Engagement to connect second-year students to the campus resources they need, such as the Career Center, academic advising, Undergraduate Research, Study Abroad and Campus Recreation.

The Sophomore Initiative began in 2005, but this is the first year the program has come out with an entire month of events.

“It’s a way to welcome back the sophomores; a lot of them get lost in a mix of second year expectations,” graduate assistant Chika Kusakawa said. “There’s so much focus on orientation for the freshmen, but when sophomores come back, they’re expected know everything about what’s happening on campus, and that’s not always the case.”

Student engagement staff were busy helping second-year students sign up for “passports” to the remainder of September’s events, which include a Study Abroad Fair Sept. 9, a Snow Cone Stop-In Thursday, Sept. 15, a Major and Information Fair Sept. 20 and a Career Fest Sept. 28.

Students who bring their passports to certain events can earn points to receive a free T-shirt and other prizes.

Electrical engineering student Magnus Farr was one of many second-year students notified about Sophomore September via e-mail. Farr said he thinks the concept of helping returning students to find their niche is a good move.

“I know a lot of students would still like something to figure out what they want to major in,” Farr said.

In past years, Student Engagement has hosted a Welcome Back Beach Bash at the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center, but Student Engagement coordinator Kim Dressler said the Greene Street carnival had already attracted more students within the first hour.

“This was a great idea and it gives us an idea of what we can look forward to this year,” said second-year broadcast journalism student William Wall.

Another aim of the carnival was to keep sophomores involved on campus and get students who had not been very involved in their freshman year to explore new opportunities.

Dozens of student organizations provided information for the event.

“To be honest, I didn’t really know what was out there before, but I’m seeing a lot today,” said second-year information technology student Cal Funderburk. “I’m not very involved on campus, but I probably should be. A lot of sophomores go off campus [for housing] thinking ‘Oh, I’m not a freshman anymore, I don’t have to hang around’, but this is a fun event that draws us back to campus.”

Many students, including Funderburk, gave the event a very positive reception.

“This was a great idea; it definitely brought me down here,” Funderburk said. “It was very nice of USC to do this for us.”

Wall, who plans on participating in SGTV and WUSC, USC’s television and radio stations, respectively, agreed, adding: “It’s great to get people hanging out and to draw them in with fun stuff.”