During Student Body President Issy Rushton’s involvement with the Future Planning Group, it became evident to her that there was a need for guidelines to be put in place for the health and safety of the student body.
“Student’s understanding of these guidelines and an awareness of their greater social responsibility is imperative to a successful fall and thus, #IPledgeColumbia was founded,” Rushton said in an email interview.
#IPledgeColumbia is a collaboration between student body leaders and administration to promote “student awareness and social responsibility” in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon returning in the fall, students will be asked to sign an electronic pledge promising they understand they have a role “in the fight against COVID-19 and commit to responsible actions and to being an accountable member of both the Gamecock and Columbia community.”
“We are also working with departments such as housing to include copies of the pledge in move-in packets & when receiving a university face-covering,” Rushton said.
Students who sign the pledge will receive a free campaign-branded face covering, laptop stickers and a wristband.
“It is not mandatory that students sign the pledge,” chief of staff Hannah O’Toole said in an email interview. “The goal is that it will bring attention and awareness to the changes around campus this upcoming semester, and encourage students to be responsible and protective over their campus and their city.”
The webpage and pledge will launch on June 30. To advertise the campaign, student body leaders have organized student influencers and promotional materials, such as stickers and sidewalk decals.
“We are also partnering with off-campus housing offices and local businesses around Columbia to help spread the message and create awareness,” O’Toole said.
As of now, the program has budgeted about $50,000 for 4,000 face coverings and advertising.
“If there tends to be an appetite for [face coverings] when we roll them out ... we’re happy to seek more budget if it’s available,” CJ Lake said, the senior social media strategist for the program.
Student organizers are also reaching out to local universities and colleges to offer potential partnerships.
“It is important for students to realize that this effort is not just for them or their fellow students, but for everyone on our campus and in our city as well. As a Gamecock community we love showing our support for the city our campus calls home,” O’Toole said.