According to Kathy Hobgood, executive director of University Housing at Clemson, 47 students and 11 staff from the university based in Conway arrived at Clemson by bus and vans on Wednesday.
Hobgood said Steve Harrison, Coastal’s senior director of housing and residence life, reached out to her Monday to discuss the possibility of Clemson taking students who were unable to go home as the hurricane moved through the Caribbean.
She said the university had plenty of space as Clemson House – a dormitory on campus - sits dormant awaiting demolition.
“We could have taken up to 500 because we have the Clemson House, which is offline,” Hobgood said. “It is perfectly functional it has just reached the end of its life and we are constructing new right behind it.”
So, the Coastal staff and students arrived and were placed in double rooms inside Clemson House. The staff and students have also been put into Clemson’s system to allow Coastal students to take part in campus events among other things as they wait out Matthew.
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"We created them a summer conference in our system and put together packets for each of them like how to get on Wi-Fi and campus events,” Hobgood said. “We will handle their Coastal Carolina ID just like a Clemson ID so they can get in to events and things like that. We programed a meal card for them to eat in the dining hall.
“We are going to treat them like our own for as long as they are here.”
She said the trek from Conway to Clemson took about seven hours as opposed to the usual three hours as traffic from the coast built up after Gov. Nikki Haley issued evacuation orders for areas from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head.
“It is so stressful,” Hobgood said. “These are students that just wanted to go on the adventure or they live far enough away that they couldn’t get home.”
She added the Coastal students will be able to stay as long as is necessary.
“We’re prepared to have them indefinitely,” Hobgood said. “The initial conversation was that we would have them until Saturday, but the storm track is all over the place. I don’t expect they would head back until it is safe for them to head back.”