University officially opens Honors Residence
Students and officials at the University of South Carolina gathered on the lawn of the Honors Residence earlier Friday (Sept. 25) to celebrate the grand opening of the new home to more than 500 students in the South Carolina Honors College.
The program featured Dr. Kirsten Kennedy, director of University Housing, Dr. Davis Baird, dean of the S.C. Honors College, President Harris Pastides and Rohail Rashid Kazi, the hall government president for Honors Residence.
The remarks emphasized the building as an example of the university’s commitment to sustainability and to creating living-and-learning communities that help students succeed.
“Amazing things happen when the connections that students and faculty have move outside the classroom,” said Baird. “You can graduate with a 4.0 and earn a degree, but if you don’t get to know your professors, you will not get an education. We look forward to a great deal of interaction when students and faculty connect in this wonderful new space.”
Pastides said the best thing about the Honors Residence living-and-learning community is the students.
“This truly is a live-learn-work-play building,” he said. “It is breaking down the barriers between classroom and social engagement.”
Pastides recognized Ning Yuan, chairman and president of China Construction America, and Garvin Design Group’s Scott Garvin, principal in charge, and Mark Timbes, principal project manager, for their work and leadership in the green design and construction of the Honors Residence.
He highlighted the building’s green features, ranging from energy savings and water consumption to the recycling of the bluestone and veil block from the “Towers” residence halls that were razed in order to build the Honors Residence.
He also said the university is seeking Gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the building.
“This is the first building to be built at Gold LEED certification criteria,” Pastides said. “The university made a commitment that every building will be built to LEED standards. It’s not easy, and it’s not inexpensive. But it is better for the inhabitants.”
While students appreciate the environmentally friendly aspects of the building, it is the amenities that have excited honors students most.
“This building is great!” said Rashid Kazi, a sophomore biology-chemistry major from Greenville. “There was a lot of hype about the building, a lot like the ‘Dark Knight’ movie, but it lived up to it.”
Rashid Kazi said he thought students moving into the Honors Residence may lose the “tight knit” feeling and interaction they enjoyed at Maxcy College, which was one-third the size. That has not been the case, he said.
“We’re meeting new people and checking out and using all the spaces,” he said. “It really is awesome. We can get dinner or a coffee at Starbucks and go upstairs to study in our rooms or the many study areas and living rooms.”
He referred to the building as a “blank canvas wanting to be painted on” and that students have shared many ideas to make it feel more like home, including hosting events, adding artwork to the halls and living-room areas and pots and pans to the kitchens.
The 191,123-square-foot Honors Residence opened in August. It features 356 rooms, numerous study areas and living rooms on each floor, multiple smart classrooms for instruction, an indoor bicycle room with shower, a dining hall and a Starbucks.
The Honors Residence
- What for: To house more than 500 South Carolina Honors College students
- What color: Green. Very, very green. Eco-conscious features include recycled materials from the "Towers" and ramped-up energy and water conservation capabilities.
- What else: Amenities galore, including dining areas, a Starbucks cafe, numerous spaces to gather for studying or visiting, multiple "smart" classrooms and a bicycle room with shower.