Winthrop hosting more than 100 evacuated College of Charleston students as Hurricane Dorian approaches

Winthrop hosting more than 100 evacuated College of Charleston students as Hurricane Dorian approaches

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - In Rock Hill, more than 100 College of Charleston students are finding refuge from Dorian’s expected impact on the coast at Winthrop University.

There, the students are making the most of their situation – all 120 of them.

“It just feels like a normal day, but with a bit of a twist,” College of Charleston student Sam Naradowski says.

They are sleeping on cots in Winthrop’s campus center, and staying in empty dorms. For some, it is a sight they have seen before, because evacuations for storms approaching Charleston have become annual.

“You just expect it, it’s our Hurri-cation,” student Zachary Adler says, laughing.

This year, there are nearly double the normal number of young men and women taking shelter on the Rock Hill campus. Many point to the fact that it is the start of the school year, after students who live further away just paid for plane tickets back.

“We just got here two weeks ago,” Adler says. “I’m not ready to go home to mom and dad just yet.”

Winthrop officials say they had about a day to get things in order, between official confirmation the students were on the way, and when they arrived Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s not exactly where they wanted to be this week,” Winthrop President Dan Mahony says. “But we try to make it as nice for them as possible.”

One priority was making sure they had enough beds.

“We had to reach out to the emergency operations commission here in York County, and they provided us with additional cots,” Winthrop’s Vice President for Student Affairs Shelia Higgs Burkhalter says.

The group is settling in for what, right now, is an undetermined number of days.

“I was kind of expecting to be sleeping on the ground,” Naradowski says. “But they already had everything ready.”

Even the College of Charleston’s women’s soccer game was moved to Winthrop. Students will be able to cheer their team on, tomorrow.

The school says they have everything they could need ready for the students, including mental health professionals on hand, to help deal with any potential worry over what is happening back at the coast.

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