ORANGEBURG, S.C. — New faces are on South Carolina State University's campus for the first time in about 16 months. The university welcomed roughly 680 freshmen students on Thursday.
"I've been here all my life going to football games and attending events with my family," said Marion Patterson, SC State Freshman. "I'm used to this place."
"I wanted to show peers from my school that they don't have to go out of town just to pursue football or get their education," said Christopher Austin. "They can always stay home."
"To every parent who is dropping off a child here today, I thank them for that," said Col. Alexander Conyers, SC State's Acting President. "The safety of your child is a priority."
As the newer bulldogs embark on their journey into adulthood, the school's acting president hosted the first-ever freshman legacy luncheon for the families who graduated from the school.
"It shows the investment that alumni have put in their children to feel secure enough to bring them back to South Carolina State University," said Robbertta Patterson, SC State Alumni (Class of 1996).
"I moved from Florence to attend South Carolina State," said Crystal W. Austin, SC State Alumni (Class 1989). "I feel like I did well, academically. As my son said, you don't have to go out of state or out of town to receive the same education here."
Classes begin August 18th. News 19 asked parents and students about their concerns about going to school, with positive COVID cases rising again in Orangeburg County.
"The university has been very communitive about sharing information regarding what they are doing here," Patterson said. "That made me feel at ease and knowing the things we talked about at home that he should be doing."
"Most of the time, people have to wear their masks," said Christopher Austin. "That's the main thing I'm trying to get across."