By Alex Tolle

Darby Ewing had ties to the College long before she was a student. Her parents, Alton Ewing ’95 and Nicole Ewing ’95, met at the College. Living an hour outside Charleston in Georgetown, South Carolina, she remembers traveling to the city for day trips and attending basketball games with her parents.  

“They would point out the dorms and where they lived,” says Ewing. “It always felt like home.” 

Charleston felt so much like a second home to Ewing that she decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps and attend CofC. Because her parents were alumni, Ewing qualified for and received the Class of 1965 Scholarship offered through the Alumni Association, beginning in her first year. The endowed scholarship was established through donations from members of that class. Beyond receiving a scholarship, Ewing embraced her new home by getting involved with the campus community through Charleston Miracle and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.  

“I’m a child of alumni, and now I am funded by alumni to attend the College,” says Ewing, who views the award as another connection to the campus and the Charleston community. “This truly means the world to me.” 

A rising senior majoring in marketing with a minor in entrepreneurship, Ewing took her passion for Charleston a step further when she enrolled in the Center for Entrepreneurship’s ImpactX program. Through ImpactX, students lead change by forming startups that make a profit and solve social or environmental problems. 

Ewing and her program partner, Evan Villamor, a rising senior majoring in biology, were struck by the number of small businesses in Charleston that had closed their doors permanently after COVID-19. From this realization grew their ImpactX project, Local Saves, a short-term project in an app format designed to help boost business for small businesses.  

Supporting small businesses has always been important to Ewing. 

“My hometown had a focus on family-owned businesses because it is a small town,” she says. “I want to bring that spirit back to the Charleston area.” 

Local Saves featured a businesses page with an emphasis on CofC alumni–owned and –operated stores and companies. The app also had a featured business of the month, which generated awareness about a select Lowcountry nonprofit of its choice. CofC alumni-owned partners included AL&EM, A|Dash, Atlyss, Bake Eat Love, The Muffin Drop and Palmetto Carriage Works. 

The app used a reward system and incentives to encourage users to frequent the featured businesses. “You accumulated points by scanning receipts and using the app to redeem them for rewards [such as a coupon or free gift], which puts money back into the local economy,” explains Ewing.  

So, what’s next for Ewing? Studying abroad in Greece this summer and applying for internships for the fall, for starters. After working for Grit and Grace Studio, one of Charleston’s thriving small businesses, she knows that she’d like to open a small business of her own in Charleston one day.  

“Now that I came here for school,” she says, “I want to stay here to grow a business.”