College of Charleston students seek safe place at Winthrop University

(Kristi O'Connor | WBTV)
(Kristi O'Connor | WBTV)

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - Universities across South Carolina are lending a hand to other campuses in danger of Hurricane Irma. Among those is Winthrop University. The school is hosting 60 students who evacuated from the College of Charleston.

They are sleeping all together in the Richardson Ballroom, which is located in the DiGorgio Campus Center. Winthrop staff provided them with extra mattresses that were not being used in the dorms.

When the Governor ordered some evacuations, the College of Charleston students all left campus, but some of them had nowhere safe to go.

Some of them are originally from Florida and Texas, places that were hit by Harvey or are likely to be hit by Irma. Other students are foreign exchange students who had no way of getting home with such short notice.

Saturday afternoon, 59 students and nine staff members loaded up on buses that were loaned to the school by the University of South Carolina. They arrived at Winthrop Saturday evening.

Because they did not have a lot of room to pack items on the bus, each student brought a duffel bag and a backpack. They say they put their other things on lofted beds in their dorms.

"Just in case I brought my jewelry, some blankets from my grandmother and a stuffed animal from my boyfriend," sophomore Emily Liddell said.

The students are sleeping in one big room, separating men and women with curtains. They are using the campus recreation center to shower and eating meals at the dining halls.

"Whatever we can do to make them feel at home here, like they are on their own college campus, we've asked them what they need, what they want to do here and so we've given them some things they can walk to around here," Student Life staff member Laura Johnson said.

Right now, they are hoping to head back home on Tuesday, but won't be leaving until it's safe.

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