A blanket of snow covered USC's campus on Jan. 21, 2022 — the first snow in eight years.
“Snowball fights on the Horseshoe tonight!” Interim university President Harris Pastides posted to Twitter. “Haven’t seen that since 2014. Enjoy it while you can, students. Melting starts tomorrow! Have fun and be safe.”
The university canceled classes for the day because of freezing rain in the afternoon, and snowfall began around 9 p.m. By the time the snow had stopped falling in the early hours of Saturday, there was 2 inches of snow recorded.
During the night of the snowfall, many students congregated on the historic Horseshoe to throw snowballs — mimicking the last time USC saw snow in 2014. Students also made snow angels and took pictures with the school's beloved mascot. Even Cocky made a snow angel and then led the crowd in Gamecocks cheers.
Students like Hannah Wood, a fourth-year early childhood education student, said she stayed up late to watch the snow fall and woke up early to enjoy it.
“We watched some of our friends do donuts in the Retreat fields and got up early to build a snowman,” said Wood, who lives at The Retreat, an off-campus student housing location.
Other students, like fourth-year physical education student Alexis Thornton, celebrated the snow inside.
“We made breakfast and coffee and watched the snow melt throughout the day, through the window, and watched movies all day because it was so cold out,” Thornton said.
The last time it snowed in Columbia was in 2014. There was a multi-day winter storm with four inches of snow that turned campus into a winter wonderland and canceled classes for the week.
At the time, Coy Gibson, director of finance and operations at the Anne Frank Center and University 101 instructor, was a fourth-year political science student and resident mentor at Rutledge College on the Horseshoe.
“That was pretty epic. It was really fun, and one of those really special experiences when you look back on it,” Gibson said. “You got out of school, and we literally had a snowball fight on the Horseshoe.”
Gibson said the campus hills were covered in thick snow and students were sledding down Bull Street. Students were also welcomed into, then-President Pastides’ house and were able to go up to the second floor to check out his football memorabilia, according to Gibson.
Nicolette Walters, the director of communications for the SC Speaker of the House, was a first-year student in 2014 and lived in Columbia Hall. She walked home on the snow-covered sidewalks.
“I’m from the Northeast, so I grew up with a lot of snow … everyone else was so excited, it was an electric feeling almost,” Walters said. “Now that I’ve lived here for eight or nine years, it never snows like that, so I understand the excitement looking back.”
This year, some bars closed due to the forecasted snow in Five Points. Michelle Podrabinnik, a fourth-year environmental studies student and bartender at Breaker's Bar and Grill, was scheduled to work on the outside patio that night, but, after debate, the bar never opened.
"We just hung out on the patio and were watching the snow fall," Podrabinnik said. "Once it started to really stick, all of my coworkers came out, and we all had a huge snowball fight."
Katelyn Breedlove, a third-year biology student, was also in Five Points eating at Publico when she first saw the snow, and made snowballs to throw at her friends. Breedlove said she enjoyed the snow because she doesn’t think it’ll happen again while she’s at USC.
“I think it’d be a miracle,” Breedlove said. “I would love for it to happen again. That was cool.”