By Michelle Chacko, 10th Grader, Brien McMahon High School
Alonzo Webster founded Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1896; it is one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. There are approximately 2,000 students enrolled at the university. We walked around with Chelsea, our tour guide, who is a high energy, graduating Senior originally from Georgia. She’s an English Education major and is teaching 9th and 10th grade English at a local high school. This summer she will be moving to Washington, D.C.
The campus is designed as a circle and is surrounded by a black wrought iron fence separating it from neighboring South Carolina State University. The oldest building on campus is Trustee Hall made by bricks that have weathered storms, years of the hot southern sun, and generations of students.
The Campus Center is where students usually hang out with their friends but it’s also the place where students get academic tutoring to become successful. Standing outside of the Campus Center, a student stopped by our group to tell us she’s originally from Nigeria but came to Claflin for more opportunity. Dr. Karl S. Wright, Provost at Claflin also stopped by to introduce himself to our group and to encourage us as students.
Chelsea told us one of the most significant opportunities Claflin offers is its study abroad program. The university pays the full study abroad fee and gives students $1,000 for travel! Chelsea has been to the Caribbean and South America as a Claflin study abroad student. For many Carver College Tour participants, this was a fascinating fact!
The H.V. Manning Library has many collections of poetry and stories written by Black people. Minister Hall was built in 1913 was recently renovated as a dining hall. The James S. Science Center is designed for STEM majors, and as we walked through it we saw many students learning in stadium-style seats.
Claflin University also has a court where a board comprised of students, faculty, and a school Vice President rules on whether or not students can dispute the grades they’ve earned.
Incoming Freshman are required to have a minimum GPA of a 2.8 and 880 SAT score or a 17 on the ACT. For students seeking entrance to the Honors program, a 3.0 GPA is required. Claflin University is a tiny campus with robust security, friendly students, and caring faculty.