By VICKI BROWN
USC Salkehatchie in Walterboro had a “welcome back” event for students on Wednesday, August 25th.
The local branch of the University of South Carolina began fall classes on August 19th, but, according to Stephanie Gruber, coordinator of communications and marketing, it’s not too late to register and apply to take courses for the Fall II semester, which begins on October 18.
“We have room for students who want to begin taking college courses or continue their education,” said Gruber. “College doesn’t have to be expensive. Between financial aid, grants, and scholarships, you can come for free and avoid the student debt. And, people age 60 and over can take classes for free as well.
“We have yoga, golf, and computer literacy classes for anyone who wants to take them,” she added.
According to one local USC-Salk official, attendance is down, but that is part of a nationwide trend.
“System-wide across the country, college student numbers are down because of the pandemic, but we are excited about the students coming to SALK and we have a wonderful opportunity to shape the workforce and impact this community,” said Jackson Alexander, leadership institute director.
To prepare for incoming students from outside of Colleton County, free Covid-19 vaccinations and booster shots were made available. “I want to continue to help people with the pandemic and reach out to people to make sure they have vaccines,” said Kristie Seymour, a registered nurse.
Fetter Health Care Network representatives were there to give students information about health care services available to insured, uninsured, and underserved residents.
Elizabeth Laney, reference librarian at the Colleton County Memorial Library was also at the welcome event to talk to new students about library assistance: the local library is located just down the street from USC Salk.
Nearby, several First Baptist Church members were welcoming students, along with Title One program representatives who were promoting children’s programs to adult students with families. Always looking for volunteers, Colleton County Animal Services’ Director Laura Clark, along with Mark Cobb, were present and ready to speak to students looking for ways to help and give back to the community.
Dr. Sarah Miller, professor of history at SALK, and Christie Slocum, an official with the Colleton County Museum and Farmer’s Market, provided historical information about Colleton, as well as news about upcoming events at the Museum and Market.
There were also treats from the museum deli passed out to students who stopped by the booth.
Incoming freshman Devlyn Mock said she is excited and interested in the school’s Welcome Event. She signed up for information at several booths and said the event made attending the local university more comfortable.