The University of South Carolina doesn’t sleep, even when students are away for the summer.
As students return to campus Tuesday and start classes Thursday, here are 10 new things to greet them:
1. A mini-makeover for Greene Street
The road that cuts through the heart of campus is becoming more of a pedestrian pathway.
Over the summer, USC went to work widening the section of Greene Street, between Sumter Street and the gate near Longstreet Theatre, to make room for a planter with palmetto trees. The school has plans to improve the landscaping along Greene Street and to extend its bike lanes toward Sumter Street.
2. More shuttle routes
As part of an effort to discourage students from driving to campus, the school has expanded its shuttle options.
This fall, USC is adding shuttle pick-up locations at two off-campus apartment complexes: Aspyre, on Assembly Street, and Park Place, near Blossom Street. Of course, you’re welcome to hop on at those stops if you’re walking over from the Olympia area as well.
3. Campus dining has changed
Out with the Chick-fil-A Express at Russell House and in with the real thing.
A new vendor is changing some of USC’s on-campus dining options, including – to everyone’s glee – a full-service Chick-fil-A.
Aramark is also bringing:
▪ Two new Starbucks shops – one in the Thomas Cooper Library and another in the Welsh Humanities Building.
▪ Three new Russell House restaurants: Olilo, featuring Mediterranean cuisine; the Congaree River Smokehouse; and an unnamed all-you-can-eat restaurant.
But sorry, USC students. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The changeover means the Pandini’s Italian restaurant has left Russell House for good.
4. Tuition is up
Same song, different verse. USC trustees this summer passed a 3.46 percent tuition hike for the upcoming school year, the largest hike in six years.
That means S.C. students will pay $410 more in tuition next year. Out-of-state students will pay $1,082 more.
5. Better campus map
Ever try to find a class on the campus map on USC’s website? It’s not a good time.
USC is trying to help. The school is launching a 3-D online map that shows academic buildings, on-campus restaurants, landmarks, parking areas, shuttle routes and more. It even has a feature for move-in day, showing where students should park, check in and recycle trash.
6. New statues
USC has gone on a statue binge.
A bronze replica of Cocky, the school’s popular mascot, is expected to be unveiled early this fall on a bench near the Melton Observatory on Greene Street. The 400-pound bird cost USC $85,000.
A statue of Richard T. Greener, the first African-American faculty member at USC, is expected to be unveiled sometime this year next to Thomas Cooper Library. The statue and surrounding plaza will cost $225,000.
7. Welcome back, now get to class
That six-day grace period you used to get between move-in day and the start of class? Yeah, now you get two.
Blame the eclipse. But USC also has looked to shorten the transition period to keep students from getting into trouble.
8. New student health center is open
The five-story, 68,000-square-foot building under construction at the heart of campus over the past two years finally is done.
The new $27.5 million student-health center, open now next to the current Thomson Student Health Center, will offer:
▪ An eye clinic
▪ Expanded sports medicine and physical therapy services, including a rehab gym
▪ Expanded pharmacy with more prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs
▪ A demonstration kitchen to teach healthy eating habits
9. New law school building
After years of fundraising and construction, USC’s $80 million law school building opened its doors this summer at Gervais and Bull streets.
The logical next step for the law school, then, is to improve on that No. 88 national ranking.
10. New opportunity for USC’s entrepreneurs
USC students of all majors can get a taste of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur starting this fall at USC’s new McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise.
The institute will offer its first class this fall, hoping to push students toward entrepreneurship while giving them a deeper understanding of the U.S. economy and real world.