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INSPIRE ME | Partying for the love of history

Beginning today and throughout the year, The State will share the stories of peoplewho create a sense of fun, celebration and reverence amid the mad dash that is ourdaily lives. They make us smile. They help feed our souls. And they make our lives togethera little richer, a little more unique.

Who they are

Two seniors in USC’s Honors College who have been best friends and roommates for three years. Laura Golson, 21, is a chemistry major from Columbia and a Dreher High graduate. Sarah VanderWood, 22, is a business major from Charlotte.

What they are doing

For their senior project in the Honors College, the two women are throwing a 19th century community garden party Saturday to raise awareness of the Historic Columbia Foundation. They have recruited friends and family to help with the “Afternoon on the Lawn” from 1- 4 p.m. at the Robert Mills House at 1616 Blanding St. The day will include some historically accurate events, such as croquet games, waltz lessons, writing with quill and ink, finger sandwiches, lemon squares and performances by the USC School of Music. Admission is free.

Why?

Golson and VanderWood both have volunteered and worked part time at Historic Columbia. They want to make more people aware of the sometimes-overlooked gems just a few blocks from USC — places they say most of their classmates don’t even know exist.

After a few hours of brainstorming at the Cool Beans coffee shop, they agreed to do something to help the foundation’s ongoing project to restore the historic gardens at its seven downtown properties.

“We know we can’t raise nearly enough,” VanderWood said.

But they can let people know what’s out there, encourage volunteerism — and help the community enjoy a spring afternoon.

They said it

“When (VanderWood) started to volunteer (at Historic Columbia) I made fun of her. ‘You’re such a nerd.’ Then I went for one day and I fell in love with it ... I hope we can get people excited about it. I’m proud of Columbia. I’m from here, and it’s part of the history of our city that I never knew about.”

— Laura Golson

“You don’t always expect young people to have that love of history. It’s refreshing. They give us an entirely new perspective on things.”

— Robin Waites, executive director of Historic Columbia

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