Welcome to your home away from home. SC State greets the Class of 2025 and returning upperclassmen.
ORANGEBURG, S.C. – You might call it a family reunion with hundreds of new family members joining in.
It’s been 1½ years since most South Carolina State University students were taking classes together in person, eating together and living together. That all will change this week as freshmen move into their rooms on Thursday, Aug. 12, followed by upperclassmen on Friday, Aug. 13.
These will be watershed days in the university’s efforts to get back to traditional operations with in-person classes and campus residency while retaining a cautionary approach to life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think this should be a moment to embrace the openness of our togetherness,” said Cammy Grate, SC State’s director of residence life and housing. “We all at this point in time need to respect each other and respect the fact that we need to be as safe as we can.”
Along with weekly testing requirements for residents, vaccination clinics and other precautions, SC State will designate one of its seven residential facilities, Earle Hall, as an isolation hall for students who test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
SC State will have four traditional residence halls in operation –Mitchell Hall, Battiste Hall, Sojourner Truth Hall and Williams Hall – as well as Hugine Suites and University Village apartments for upperclassmen.
Initially at least, there will be no visitation in residence halls this semester. and students will be encouraged to wear masks in group settings and practice social distancing as much as possible.
“That way we can be loyal sons and daughters, as our Alma Mater states, ‘ready all to do and dare,’ by saying, ‘Hey, this is not too difficult for me. I want family back,’” Grate said. “SC State wants them to get back to some normalcy as a family. They are in Bulldog Country now, and we want students to know that this is such good time to be back.
“I think it’s time to welcome the family back,” she said.
Well ahead of the students’ arrival, SC State’s facilities management team was cleaning the residence halls and performing any necessary maintenance. The university also installed a new chiller at its largest residential facility, Sojourner Truth, and crews painted in other locations.
As freshmen arrive on campus Thursday, they must first drop by Smith Hammond Middleton Memorial Center to check in for orientation. The schedule will be alphabetical by last name:
- 9-11 a.m., last names beginning with A-I. Students should arrive no later than 10:30 a.m.
- 11 a.m.-1 p.m., last names beginning with J-R. Students should arrive no later than 12:30 p.m.
- 1-3 p.m., last names beginning with S-Z. Students should arrive no later than 2:30 p.m.
With capacity to house about 1,500 students on campus, SC State approaches this week’s two move-in days with efficiency and convenience in mind. Housing has enlisted the aid of SC State’s ROTC Bulldog Battalion to keep traffic flowing while maintaining social distancing between families as students move into their rooms. Cadets will act as hall monitors and keep watch on elevators to make sure the process is not bogged down.
Each arriving student will receive a check-in packet, which includes a room inspection form, a roommate agreement and an inventory sheet for a student to log valuables, such as the serial numbers of televisions and mini refrigerators, for police to track in the case of theft.
“They can complete their check-in packet before they ever enter the residence hall, which will definitely speed things along,” Grate said. “We will give them numbers for entering, and the ROTC cadets will then say when it’s their turn to go in.
“Everyone wants to be first, but we want to make sure the check-in process is not compact. We want everyone to adhere to social distancing throughout the check-in process,” she said.
Grate is excited to have SC State’s residence halls filled with life again, as she considers residential campus life an essential part of the collegiate experience.
“You are living with folks of different walks of life,” Grate said. “You are making new lifetime friends. You’re not living under mom and dad, so you have to develop your own sense of responsibility.”
She encouraged all student to move forward with an end in mind – to know where they are going so they can reach their destination.
“I think it’s a time to develop your own oneness,” Grate said.
Classes will begin at SC State on Wednesday, Aug. 18.