University of South Carolina Columbia

University of South Carolina

September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Activities

Each year, thousands of University of South Carolina students, faculty and staff use their skills outside of the classroom to benefit the community.    Our remembrance activities will honor the fallen while addressing the issue homelessness in our community.  Special focus will be related to veterans, as many of the homeless in our community are also veterans.  Our plan is to build an engagement and service template for students over the course of a “Remembrance Weekend” that will allow for remembrance and reflection, as well as a call to action for interfaith dialogue and community service.  Participants in the service experiences will have an opportunity to learn about the issues of homelessness, discuss solutions with their peers and faculty, staff and community mentors, and apply their knowledge, skills and abilities in a focused and organized manner.


Participating Organizations

wStudents, faculty and staff from the University of South Carolina, including Community Service Programs, Community Service Council, Department of Religious Studies, Campus Religious Workers, Student Government, Newman Club, Hillel, and the Muslim Student Association.

wTransitions homeless facility, operated by Midlands Housing Authority


Overview of Activities

Friday, September 9

Department of Religious Studies will host a seminar on religious tolerance to coincide with the 10th anniversary remembrance programs


Saturday, September 10

Community Services Programs and the Community Service council will host a “Service Saturday” program for up to 200 volunteers.   These students will participate in opening activities that will honor the South Carolinians who died as a result of the 9/11 tragedies.  To date, 27 military personnel and 29 police, emergency medical services or firefighters from South Carolina have lost their lives while serving since Sept. 11, 2001.  We hope to involve local leaders of the “SC Remembers 9/11” and National Guard in our opening ceremony.  The service projects, ranging from working with homeless populations to supporting the efforts of our local food banks, will give our students an opportunity to reflect on the needs of our local citizens.  Through guided reflection, participants will have a chance to address the impact they can have on the community and be asked to sign the Community Service Pledge.  This pledge will challenge students to give at least 10 hours of service to the community during the academic year.


A significant part of our university and community culture is celebrating our student athletes.  On September 10, our South Carolina Gamecock football team will travel to Athens, GA to engage in friendly competition against the Georgia Bulldogs.  Because many of our students won’t be able to travel to the game, the student union is hosting a tailgate and viewing party on campus.  To highlight a community need and provide another opportunity for service, we will host a “sock and underwear” drive as part of this activity.  The items will be donated to the Transitions facility that supports homeless and formerly homeless adults in our community.  We’ll also be promoting our upcoming Service Opportunities Fair which will help students connect with agencies addressing community needs.


Our student leaders will issue a ‘challenge’ to their student counterparts at the University of Georgia to participate in a similar collection drive for homeless members of their community.  This can increase awareness of the remembrance and service initiatives on both campuses and promote service and understanding.


Sunday, September 11

Sunday’s activities will feature an interfaith remembrance and memorial service coordinated by student leaders from various faith cultures.  These students participated in the Fall 2010 on-campus appearance of Eboo Patel, Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, and have been meeting informally since that visit for interfaith dialogue involving the Newman Club (Catholic), Hillel (Jewish), and Muslim Student Association.   This program will honor the individuals who lost their lives during the 9/11 tragedies and highlight the historical involvement of communities of faith in modeling service delivery in communities.


Anticipated Participation and Tracking

Religious Studies Seminar:  100

Service Saturday:  200

Tailgate/Sock & Underwear Drive:  500

Interfaith Remembrance Service:  250


A simple headcount will take place at the Friday seminar.  At the Service Saturday Program, Student Tailgate and Remembrance service, we will swipe student ID’s to collect participant demographics.  We can then evaluate how wide-spread our initiatives have been by evaluating classification, major, residence, gender, etc.  Our goal is to involve over 1000 individuals over the course of the activities throughout the weekend.



Activities will be promoted via a variety of print and electronic mediums, including the Daily Gamecock (student newspaper), flyers and digital displays in university buildings and residence halls; tabling at the student union, and invitations to service learning classes and University 101 freshman seminar classes. 



Kim McMahon

Director, Campus Life/Russell House University Union

1400 Greene Street, Suite 218

Columbia, SC 29208