Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- There's some extra love in the air, and some new faces on USC's campus. It's Parents Weekend and more than 7,000 moms, dads and loved ones joined the Gamecock nation for the weekend.
"I love it down here, I could almost move down here," said Russell Schieder, whose daughter is in her second year at USC.
The school set up all kinds of events for the families like a 5K run, working in the community garden, sitting in on classes, parents lectures and tailing before Saturday's game against Missouri.
"Got the Carolina dad t-shirt and I've got a very fashionable hot pink Carolina shirt by Nike that I'm gonna wear tomorrow, said USC mother Deborah Walker. She says the game and tailgate will be her first in the south.
Jerry Brewer, USC's Associate Vice President for Student Affairs says it is a time to celebrate parents and keep them involved with the university.
"It's important for us to show the parents the Southern culture, the University of South Carolina is a very southern institution, an internationally acclaimed institution, so we're excited to that them here and to show them a little bit of our southern hospitality, a little bit of SEC football and a great weekend," said Brewer.
According to USC, this year's event saw an increase with about 1,300 more people registered than last year.
Parents weekend typically see moms and dads from first year and out-of-state students.
USC says the event has parents from 38 different states and the District of Columbia represented.
Schieder is one of those out-of-state parents, but he keeps his Gamecock pride in high gear even when he is back home in Pennsylvania.
"Everywhere I go I always wear one of my hats or my shirts and people always up to me and say Gamecocks," said Schieder.
With a university that impressed them with academics and its involvement with students, parents says they're happy to be apart of the Carolina family.
"We're participators and we're just so glad to be Gamecock fans now and we embrace it all," said Walker.