NEWBERRY — Despite the campus of Newberry College appearing like a ghost town during the summer months, the various departments are actually hard at work preparing for the influx of students next month.
The staff of Wessels Library, for instance, is utilizing the off season to tackle “special projects.”
“Special projects that we general can’t get done when there are students here,” said Information Librarian Felicia Beaudry.
These projects include taking inventory, shifting collections and, this particular summer, switching over to a new database system.
“It will be hopefully easier for everybody to use to find materials. And that’s the kind of thing you would not want to do when students are present,” said Beaudry, who explained the new system, with its cleaner interface, should prove more intuitive.
While predominately utilized by students, Wessels library is in fact open to members of the community as well.
“They’re certainly able to come in and use the facilities. They’re welcome to come and read — we have magazines and journals and that kind of stuff,” Beaudry said. “There’s wifi on campus so that’s always helpful.”
Juxtaposed against a school year filled with crisis management, summertime is reserved mostly for administrative tasks for the staff of residence life.
“We are handling room assignments, roommate requests, commuter requests, creating new segments for the handbook and trying to address issues that came up throughout the year,” said Kasey Buie, director of housing and residence life.
Roommates are paired up using computerized analytics as well as by hand based on preference forms students turn in.
“I still believe in that personal touch. That’s a big part of what Newberry College stands for,” Buie said.
Far from empty the residence halls house youth for a variety of church and athletic camps over the course of the summer.
This Friday, Walker Hall will even house several hundred bicyclists who are riding in the three-day, 250 mile “A Ride to Remember” sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Over in admissions, director Joel Vander Horst said while their busiest seasons are fall and spring, summer is important in “shaping” the incoming class.
The admissions department conducts four orientation sessions spread across the summer — one in June, one in July and two in August.
“The ones that have come to orientation seem excited. We’re expecting another good group coming in next week so hopefully it will be a good class this year,” Vander Horst said.
Additionally admissions hosts dozens of high school counselors and educators every other year in order to familiarize them with Newberry for when they’re recommending institutions to their college-bound pupils.
Adjacent to admissions is the AMC music building where Dr. Chris Sheppard, recently promoted to chair of the department, is spending his summer piecing together the performance calendar for the upcoming year, planning events and poring over thousands of pages of sheet music.
“I have lots of music — like a filing cabinet plus several boxes of just individual pieces of choir music,” said Sheppard, who, in addition to his duties as chair, conducts Newberry choirs.
Sheppard’s background is in vocal music and he will be performing in the annual faculty recital which kicks off the fall semester.
“It means I need to start practicing,” he said.
Reach Carson Lambert at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.