By ANNA HALL - The Brunswick News
Standing in the shade offered by the Student Center building, Julianna Speer explained to some dozen new College of Coastal Georgia students the rules of the team building game she was leading them through.
“Ok, so I say something about myself and if you have that too, say ‘Hey cool, me, too,’ then switch places,” Speer said. “Just don’t be the last one to find a new place, because then you’re stuck in the center and then it’s your turn. Get it?”
As Speer and her Blue Crew of new students laughed their way through the lighthearted project Monday morning, lines of other new students walked by, with fellow freshman taking in the Mariner’s campus and imagining what the next four years of their academic career may hold.
“It can be kind of scary when you are on your own and in this new school and with this huge idea of earning a degree,” Speer said. “Having a few friendly new faces there just before the whole thing starts up is a good way to really get into your new groove.”
New College of Coastal Georgia students filled the Brunswick campus Monday for the first of two Anchor Days, following the weekend move-in days. Today will the second Anchor Day will take place.
Classes begin Wednesday.
Energy has been running high on the college campus for weeks with professors, college staff and administrators prepping for the 2015-2016 school year, said John Cornell, marketing and public relations director for the college.
This year, several new projects have been launched to help energize students and staff, Cornell said.
“We have an exciting year at hand and from what we’re seeing early on, energy is high and we’re all ready to have our students back on campus,” Cornell said.
Throughout the weekend, some 350 students loaded with packed boxes moved into the college’s Lakeside Village student housing unit. Cornell estimates the college will see enrollment numbers hovering near 3,100, a slight rise over last year’s 3,080 students. Cornell said adjustments to overall student population enrollment tallies are likely to change a bit due to students dropping or adding classes this week.
“Either way, we’ll be seeing an increase in enrollment, which is a positive sign,” Cornell said.
Cornell said several projects and programs are creating excitement campus-wide. A new website for the school was launched, allowing for more mobile-based access and responsiveness from users.
“A new website is a great way to start a new school year,” Cornell said. “It’s fresh, more modern and easier to use for everyone.”
The school also has ushered in two new degree options, adding baccalaureate degrees in French and Spanish, as well as minors in French and Spanish.
Two career-oriented certificate programs were tacked on to the college’s certificate options. Spanish for Professionals and a Teacher/English to Speakers of Other Languages, or TESOL/ESOL, certificates are now available.
Off campus, the college has also expanded, reaching into the center of downtown Brunswick to host arts courses at the Brunswick Stewdio. Located at 1407 Newcastle St., the art arena was launched earlier this year under the guidance of Harlan Hambright, an area photographer, graphic designer, author and cook. The space was created as an open area where artists and now students can work and interact with one another.
Hambright and college officials hope the partnership can be similar to one the city of Savannah created with the Savannah College of Art and Design.
“Students will be based here, at the college and take trips to the studio to work with artists and find inspiration,” Cornell said. “This is not only a great way for our students to see this whole other side of the city, but it’s also a great way for them to have that hands-on experience to really practice their craft and further develop their talents.”
In addition, college leaders are looking to the future, hoping a partnership with the Glynn County Board of Education comes to fruition to create a community arts center on the college campus.
To be voted on by taxpayers this November, the proposed ESPLOST 3 list of projects includes a community arts center, which will be housed on the school campus and will be mostly managed by the college.
Greg Aloia, president of the college, said he feels strongly that an arts center would not only add a new dynamic to the overall college campus, but it also would be a great benefit to the community as a whole.
With all the upbeat and progressive news streaming from the college early on this fall semester, Cornell said he feels confident in saying the 2015-2016 academic calendar will be one of the best years yet for College of Coastal Georgia.
“Classes start Wednesday, kids are feeling excited and campus faculty are ready to go,” Cornell said. “Once again, we’re off to a great start.”