My experience in SC has been great! Staying with our Financial Advisor, Bryant Blakeslee, I had the best tour guide a Consultant could have. He and his little dog Otis really made me feel like I was a part of the Columbia community within a matter of only six days. I have thoroughly enjoyed everything about Columbia, well except for the parking. The food, people, sweet tea — everything reminds me of back at home, but in a different way.
Thursday night, I experienced my first pimento cheese burger at a local restaurant called Pawley’s. It was fantastic to say the least. Saturday, Bryant drove me around the different parts of the city and showed me all of the local hot spots. Columbia has been moving through a revitalization effort with their downtown to increase the traffic for the local restaurants and shops. From the progress that I noticed, it seems like this effort is definitely working. Columbia is the capitol city of South Carolina, but it has a very small town feel about it, something that I value very much. I understand what they mean by Southern hospitality, now.
To talk a bit about work here in Columbia: we have an amazing group of men and volunteers. The advisory board is very diverse and they all bring in their own specialties. This is great because each can work off of each other and bring a unique perspective to the colony. The colony itself is made up of student leaders across campus, including the student body president. They are all motivated to live out the values of Beta. This is an exceptional task because the culture of SC is much like that of most southern state schools. The colony wants to be a catalyst of change for the university and bring more relevance to the Greek system as a whole. What a task, huh? They have worked very hard and continue to do so every day. They have a scholarship banquet planned to award their Men of Principle Scholarship, as well as the scholastic achievements of their bothers on September 8th. At this banquet, they will have the University President, Dr. Harris Pastides, present their keynote address. We are hoping that this can become an annual event that Dr. Pastides will participate in. This is huge for Beta and huge for the Greek community! I am hoping that this is the start of academic relevance for the SC Greek system.
I have posted several pictures of the SC campus and several of the Columbia area. Check them out when you get a chance. I have also posted a video of sorority recruitment. This is just fascinating to me. It was a “running of the bulls” type of event. Pure pandemonium! I have never seen anything like this before and it is really different from the way things are done at Oklahoma.
I wanted to give a shout out to my advisory team at South Carolina! We have one of the best groups of advisors in the SE at the Upsilon chapter. Chapter Counselor is headed up by Rachel Westra-Marsh, who lives in Charleston, and she has done a phenomenal job of really bringing the group together and centered to serve the students in their specific roles. They also have fantastic faculty advisors in Dr. Hickey, Katie Coley, and graduate students, Erin Sylvester, Erin Ramaker, and Anna Todora. They have community leaders on the team such as Joel Helm, Ben Herritage, Bryant Blakeslee, and Derrick Nattier. They are in the process of leading a great change and influence on the SC campus. I have been very blessed to have worked with such a wonderful group over the past four days.
I will be off to Greenville, SC to visit the Furman colony starting Wednesday, September 25. I am looking forward to helping the chapter with different recruitment techniques as well as showing them different ways they can live the ritual in their everyday life. Until then, I hope everyone takes care and enjoys what’s in front of them!