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S.C. State updating IT infrastructure; enrollment up for spring | Local

South Carolina State University is working to strengthen its information technology infrastructure, according to its chief information officer.

“Over the Christmas break, we did a number of upgrades to pretty much all the dorms except for Truth Hall as far as ripping and replacing the old Cisco switches. They’re now like 25 years old, and we’re doing an upgrade to the Aruba 6200 CX switches,” CIO Travis Johnson told trustees during the board’s February meeting.

Johnson said the bandwidth is also being increased throughout campus to reach an ultimate goal of 10 gigabits per second.

“When we get approval for the second 5 gigs and build out the second path, it’ll be active. So we’ll be at 10 gigs. … And then in the month of March, we’re planning to change some dynamic routing to static routing, which will increase redundancy and speed across campus also,” he said.

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“As the campus grows, we’re like other institutions. No matter where we start at, the technology infrastructure has to grow as we renovate buildings, as we do other things across campus, too,” Johnson said.

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Trustee Dr. Doris Helms said, “That gets into budget matters with what we do with our indirects (indirect costs).”

Trustee Wilbur Shuler said, “We need to do more in terms of management accounting so we can track from where we receive our funds to where we send our funds. That’s the only way we can do it.”


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Student Government Association President Javonni Ayers said, “We’re grateful to see that now the university is putting funds to the infrastructure, but also as we move forward, I hope and pray that we continue to do that. I’m a Gen Z student, and the more students that come, I know for a fact that we’re always on technology.”

“I know that that was a huge issue last semester. So I hope and pray that we continue to fund our infrastructure here on campus,” Ayers said.

Also during the meeting, trustee William Oden, chairman of the sponsored research and information technology committee, reported that the total amount of grants and contracts funded from July 1, 2021 to Jan. 25, 2022 was $3.3 million.

Enrollment

Trustee Daniel Varat, chairman of the student affairs and athletics committee, reported that the university has an average full-time equivalency, or FTE, of 1,917 students as of spring 2022.

“That’s up over 8 percent from last year. For the spring, we have 51 new freshmen. That is up significantly, nearly 100 percent, over last year,” he said.

Varat also referenced the 327 students who were not able to return for the spring because of academic or financial issues.

The university is working to get the students back, “if not for summer, certainly in the fall.”

Spring enrollment stood at 2,131 students.

“That’s an increase over last spring,” Varat said.

He said S.C. State’s Celebration Bowl victory also had an impact on efforts to increase enrollment at the university.

“The admissions department has tracked 792 applications that were received after the bowl game, and they noted that 100 of those were from the Atlanta metro area. That resulted, I think, partly from our appearance there, but also during that week, the admissions department visited seven different Atlanta metro-area high schools. So all of that made a difference,” he said.

Student affairs and athletics

Varat said university students have been successful in the area of civic and community engagement.

“They have done things with food banks, they’ve done things with churches and other kinds of community engagement that help spread the brand of South Carolina State and create goodwill in the community,” he said.

Varat touted the university’s Career Center and its efforts to prepare students for the job market.

Enhancing the recognition and sustainability of the university’s band and athletics programs are also priorities, he said.

There are currently 131 band members, with a goal to reach 160 members.

In the area of athletics, he said the university’s participation in the Celebration Bowl increased its visibility and resulted in not just an uptick in student applications, but donations from the Atlanta metro area.

He also noted athletics upgrades on campus.

“The track resurfacing is going on. There’s going to be some enhancements to the softball field. (Athletics Director Stacy Danley) also talked about enhancements to locker and bathroom facilities out on the fields, tennis court resurfacing and all kinds of things across all kinds of sports,” Varat said.

Danley said attention is also being paid to the travel experience for student-athletes on trips taking more than six hours.

“We’re trying to work with our development and corporate sponsorship team to see if we can create a partnership with some of the airlines, or allocate some of these new streams of revenue that we’re creating … so we can meet that student-athlete welfare requirement,” Danley said.


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“We want them to be safe, to get there quickly, but we want to limit the amount of missed class time. Sometimes you’ve got to leave on a Thursday night and miss the whole day on Friday classes. So if we can fly more, it’d be a great experience,” he said.

Varat said, “Along with the band and lots of other departments on campus, the president has made a commitment to athletics of more resources both this year and then, I think, as we can find a way to do that going down the road.”

Contact the writer: [email protected] or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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