South Carolina State University students, faculty and staff joined an effort to improve their campus on Wednesday though the Retool Your School program.
The program, sponsored by Home Depot, is an annual competition among Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation seeking a chance to win money for their schools.
“Home Depot depends so much on the community. Our sales come from the community and our staff come from the community, so I think it’s important that when we have time to give back to our communities like this, we take advantage of it, especially with HBCUs,” said Stephen Harris, store manager for the Home Depot on Two Notch Road in Columbia. “We really enjoy doing things like this and look forward to working with S.C. State again.”
This year, Home Depot selected 30 winners out of 62 participating HBCUs to invest in campus improvement grants for the Retool Your School competition.
This is S.C. State’s fourth year winning the competition.
The university was awarded $30,000, which was utilized for new patio furniture and other upgrades for the campus.
“I’m very excited that we won this competition. I participated in it myself and encouraged my friends and family to participate in the voting,” S.C. State Interim President Alexander Conyers said. “I’m excited that our students and our faculty and staff are getting the opportunity to share in this excitement provided to us by Home Depot.”
During the Retool your School Kickoff, S.C. State students, faculty and staff volunteered to help Team Depot staff in installing new outdoor furniture and equipment for the campus.
S.C. State cheerleaders and Marching 101 band members started the kickoff with an enthusiastic performance followed by a few words from Conyers.
After that, Conyers got a chance to engage with students and also jumped in to help student volunteers.
“I wanted to come and volunteer because my dad is building a house right now and I usually help him out. I like doing things like this because I’ve always been a hands-on person,” said DeSharah Israel, SGA secretary for the junior class.
“I think this will benefit us because it will give us more areas to relax and play games instead of doing things we shouldn’t be doing,” Israel said.
A gaming area was set up for students outside at the Student Center Plaza. The gaming area includes an LED lighted beanbag toss tournament, outdoor connect four games and life-sized checkers.
“I think this reward is helping us tremendously. Even with the new outdoor gaming activities, it will be good entertainment for freshmen who can’t go off campus and get bored on the weekends,” SGA Attorney General Zyah Cephus said.
Four locations on campus received new upgrades: the Bulldog Express pantry, Student Center, library and the Walnut Room outdoor area. After the kickoff, Bulldog volunteers broke off to their designated locations to start helping with the projects.
The Bulldog pantry provides resources and toiletries free of charge to students on campus. These items are collected by alumni, faculty and staff. Because of Retool Your School, the pantry received plenty of other toiletries and resources for students.
It also received extra storage shelves and hangers so clothes could be added to the pantry.
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Patio furniture sets were assembled and placed at the Student Center and library. With help from the Team Depot volunteers, S.C. State student volunteers started building a cedar pergola that is featured near the plaza. New desks and chairs were also assembled in classrooms and computer labs inside the library.