As the USC alma mater echoed through campus after the women’s basketball team’s dominant national championship win on Sunday night, South Carolina students finally got a chance to celebrate their university after years of challenges.
Adam Dinkins and Judah Rendelman were celebrating the win at the Thomas Cooper Library fountain alongside their classmates and realized they could do more than cheer — they could bring some music to the party.
Both of the third-year music education students are members of the USC marching band, and Rendelman is a drum major, so they decided to get a group together and play.
“We were sitting in Russell and then as soon as the clock hit zero, we’re all like 'go, go go,' so we ran out here, we had our fun and then Judah comes out to me and they’re like, 'we should get our instruments and play,'” Dinkins said. “And so, we ran down to my car, we got our instruments and the rest is history.”
Before long, the USC fight song attracted a crowd of cheering students around the small band, excited for the chance to celebrate a win together.
Having something to celebrate is a welcome change for USC students after four years of tumultuous protests against the administration, two problematic presidential appointments, the daily struggle of living through a pandemic and countless dismal athletic performances.
Students from all walks of campus flooded the fountain — some in their pajamas, others coming from Five Points. Tal Bakker, a fourth year mechanical engineering student, was shirtless after stepping out of the water and was excited about the change of pace for Gamecock athletics.
“It's nice to have something to celebrate with Gamecock sports,” Bakker said.
The sheer amount of Gamecock students was a stunning sight as phone camera flashlights lit up the fountain.
“I had no idea so many people would come out,” James Davis, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, said.
But after all, why wouldn’t we go all out for our celebrations? Coming together on campus after a national championship in a major sport is an incredibly special experience, especially after how challenging the past four years on campus have been.
“To come in here and just see this dominant of a women’s basketball team is just so cool, and the fact that they capped it off with a national title win is just like one of the most — I've never experienced something like this,” first-year business major Dylan Marano said, while still soaking wet from a dip in the library fountain.
Several first-year students said jumping in the fountain was “the only decision."
Watching students find each other in the surging crowd and embrace after years of keeping six feet apart felt like life at USC was truly worth celebrating.
Through all the joy and chaos that unfolded in front of the library, students only had good things to say about their school and their womens’ basketball team.
“Super proud of all those women, Dawn Staley — my queen, love her — and having everyone come together and celebrate, it’s just super amazing,” Rendelman said. "This is a once in a lifetime moment for all of us and for our school, so it’s so great.”