Niyesha McDaniel

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University hosted more than 100 College of Charleston students who were forced to evacuate their campus last week due to Hurricane Dorian.

The students were housed in empty dorms and in the Richardson Ballroom within the DiGiorgio Campus Center from Sept. 3-6.

Winthrop opened its campus to accommodate the students by extending its services — including access to video games, ping pong and pool services — at no charge to those who evacuated Charleston.

Additionally, a women’s soccer game between the schools, which was originally scheduled to be played in Charleston Sept. 4, was moved to Rock Hill.

“People here have been very hospitable, everyone is pretty nice. I went to the soccer game yesterday, so it has been a pretty good overall experience,” said, Yoni Toledano, a first-year College of Charleston student.

“York County’s emergency preparedness (office) brought over some cots, so we had mattresses, but it was great to have some cots for them too; and then we had to work out a meal plan with the dining services for the students here with Sodexo before their arrival,” said Judy Longshaw, Winthrop news and media services manager.

Joe Vallee, assistant director of Residence Life at the College of Charleston, said a number of college staff were available to help students with the transition.

“We have resident assistants helping us out in terms of check-ins, so the student staff that are here do daily check-ins with the students to make sure that they are okay, make sure they are still here, answering any questions, as well as the liaison between Winthrop’s staff and our College of Charleston staff,” said Vallee.

Included among the evacuees were 20 international students from Japan who spoke little to no English and had only recently arrived on the College of Charleston campus.

A number of the Charleston students even decided to document their stories and transition to Winthrop by creating a short film.

“We just started recording a couple of people and just talking to everyone like “what are you going to do today,” said Zachary Alder, a junior business administration major at College of Charleston, who helped produce the film.

“It hasn’t only been our students it has been staff, students here and it has just allowed us to get to know the culture here at Winthrop,”

The documentary was set to be screened at Dina’s Place in the DiGiorgio Campus Center on Friday, Sept. 6.