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New Student and Retention Programs

Spark Sophomore Program



What Is Spark?

Spark is a program just for sophomores at Southern Miss, designed to help tackle the “sophomore slump.” Instead of your feeling stuck, lost or confused during your time at USM, we want to help you thrive! Participating in Spark can ease the transition from freshman to sophomore to junior year by encouraging students to make the most of their second year.

Earn $200 by Attending Campus Events

Who Can Participate?

Any sophomore student can participate just by attending events on campus! These events will help you gain direction for your future; make a connection to Southern Miss, your peers and the community; and gain awareness about your own strengths and skills. Our goal is to assist you in becoming a more involved and informed student, so you’ll feel confident and prepared to enter your last two years of college.

To complete the Spark program you must be a sophomore, or second year college student. (If you started college in Fall 2018, this program is for you)!

What Is Required (and What Do You Get)?

Simply attend at least one event from each of the following 4 categories, and be sure to track your progress. Once you’ve attended an event from each of the four categories, complete the Spark audit form. At the end of the semester, we’ll confirm your participation and award you with a $200 textbook stipend to be used on textbooks from Barnes and Noble the following semester.

All event attendance will be tracked and verified through Eaglelink. Don’t forget to swipe your USM ID at each event in order to receive credit.

Fall 2019 Events


Wednesday, September 4

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. 

Student Involvement Fair 

Interested in getting involved, but don’t know where to start? Come find your match at the student organization involvement fair!

The Union

Wednesday, September 18

12:30 p.m. 

Sophomore September: Ask an Eagle

Learn from the experiences of other Southern Miss students on how to navigate your sophomore year.

The Hub (LSI Office)


Monday, November 4

11 a.m .


Getting Involved with LSI

Come hear from the LSI Involvement Ambassadors on how you can benefit from a leadership role in an organization, and how to find one! 

The Hub (LSI Office)


Friday, November 15

1 p.m.


Sophomore Day of Service

Give back to the Hattiesburg community with an afternoon of service just for sophomore students! Sign up here:

Meet in McLemore Hall on the 2nd Floor
On your own time in the Fall 2019 semester, deadline is 11/8/19

Complete a meeting with a Student Involvement Ambassador

Meet with an involvement ambassador and find your perfect fit for a student organization! To set an appointment, click here.   

The Hub 

Career Focus  

Tuesday, September 10

5 p.m.

Sophomore September: Explore Your Skills

All jobs require a set of skills, and there are soft skills that employers are looking for no matter the job. Come learn about how to make yourself marketable in the job hunt and put your soft skills to the test!

Union Room B

Tuesday, October 8

1 – 5 p.m.

Career and Internship Expo 

Learn more about your internship and career opportunities with Career Services.

Thad Cochran Center 

Tuesday, November 12

5 p.m. 

Finding Your Pathway

Internships are an important part of your college experience. Come learn about how you can begin your career pathway with an internship from previous USM students.

Thad Cochren Center 216

On your own time in the Fall 2019 semester, deadline is 11/22/19

Complete a resume review with Career Services

Do you need help with your resume? Visit career services and meet with a career counselor to get real time feedback on how to make your resume stand out.

 Career Services


Thursday, September 5

5 - 6:30 p.m.

Sophomore September Kick-Off 

Join other sophomores for a sophomore only tailgate as we kick off the new school year!

Location TBA

Wednesday, October 9

7 p.m. 

USM Has Talent

Come cheer on your fellow students and discover the hidden talents of Southern Miss students!

 Bennett Auditorium

Wednesday, December 4

9 - 11 p.m.

SMAC Late Night Meal

Come socialize and relax before finals week with a late night breakfast at The Fresh Food Company! This event is sponsored by the Southern Miss Activities Council.

Fresh Food Company

Ongoing on your own time during the Fall '19 semester

Eagle Spirit

Attend at least one Southern Miss Athletics fall sporting event, take a picture of yourself at the game, and post it to Instagram using the hashtag #SouthernMissSpark.

Any Southern Miss sports arena


Monday, September 23

4:30 p.m.

Re-Orientation to Library Resources/Services

The library is so much more than a place to check out books. There are many staff members and resources available to you for free, you just need to know they are there!

Cook Library 123

Tuesday, October 29

4:30 p.m.

Citation Management

Join us for a citation management workshop to become a pro at citing all your sources for your next paper.

Cook Library 110

Ongoing on your own time in the Fall 2019 semester, deadline 12/6/19

Complete an appointment with NSRP

Struggling with time management or study skills? Visit our website and make and appointment with one of our staff members for one-on-one assistance.

McLemore Hall 214
Ongoing on your own time in the Fall 2019 semester, deadline 11/22/19

Complete an appointment with the Speaking or Writing Center.*

The Writing and Speaking Centers are a free, valuable resource for all students, be sure to take advantage of their services.

Cook Library

* Writing and Speaking Center appointments must be made to receive guidance with a specific academic assignment. To make an appointment at the Speaking Center, call 601.266.4965 or make an appointment online. To make an appointment at the Writing Center, call 601.266.4821 or make an appointment online. You must have an official and documented appointment with the centers to receive Spark credit. Walk-in appointments do not count. 

Verifying Your Participation

Once you have completed the requirements of the Spark program, you must complete the Spark audit form. NSRP will verify your attendance and eligibility for the textbook stipend only after you have completed this form. THIS FORM IS DUE ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6. 

Spark audit forms will be reviewed the week after Fall 2019 exams and you will be notified of your Spark status before you return to classes in January 2020. Stipends will be awarded and loaded on to your student account by January 27 to use toward textbooks purchased for Spring 2020 classes.

The textbook stipend is only redeemable at Barnes and Noble on the Southern Miss campus.