Committed to CharlestonTwo years ago, Joe Busch ’14 had an abstract idea about creating a greater sense of community at the College.

Today, that idea has materialized into the largest student group on campus. Bringing more than 600 Cougars together to share their passion for the College, Committed to Charleston (C2C) has shaped that abstract idea into an actual, visible sense of community.

Busch wasn’t always so crazy about the College. As a freshman, he had trouble adjusting to his new home and finding his place. He even considered transferring out. But, upon returning to campus his sophomore year, Busch made an effort to become more involved with his classmates. He joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, became a more active member of the Charleston 40 Tour Guide Association and signed up with the Student Alumni Associates. Things started looking up.

Then, at the end of the academic year, Busch participated in LeaderShape, a weeklong retreat organized by the Higdon Student Leadership Center. There, Busch accepted the challenge not just to find his passion, but to achieve a vision associated with that passion. The result: He devised a strategy for unifying the student body to give back.

In November 2013, C2C was officially chartered, with 200 members dedicated to making the College a better place through philanthropy – giving a minimum gift of $17.70. Six months later, its ranks tripled and the organization had raised more than $13,000, which triggered a matching donation of $10,000 from Johnnie Baxley III ’92 – who’s since pledged four more years of matching $10,000 gifts. The money will go to the College of Charleston Fund, which, among other things, helps provide scholarships.

“It’s students helping students, and students helping the College be the best it can be,” says Busch, C2C’s founding president and a double major in economics and finance, noting that this summer the club will welcome new students to campus to jumpstart their sense of belonging to the College of Charleston community.

Because that’s what it boils down to: “a sense of connectedness to people” and being “a part of something bigger than yourself,” as C2C’s outgoing secretary Caroline Turpin ’14 puts it.

Having studied abroad in England, Turpin – a graduate of the Honors College with degrees in psychology and religious studies – appreciates the College community for making her “even more open-minded” and giving her a better sense of how the world works.

And she credits the C2C, too, with giving her a better sense of how important the support of alumni is to the College. She now knows she, Busch and the other outgoing C2C officers (Alex Henderson ’14, Kara Cronin ’14 and Denzell Moton ’14) will continue to support the College community now that they are alumni themselves.

They’ve come a long way together, and Busch appreciates these classmates for helping him execute his vision of C2C: “They were with me since I said, ‘I have an idea, but I need some help.’”

The results they’ve achieved together are a testament to the power of community. And to the power of finding your passion and acting upon it.