With the start of the 2023–24 academic year nearly here, the College of Charleston campus will soon be abuzz with new students just joining the Cougar family as well as returning students who have spent the summer away from their College home.

Whether you’re embarking on your first year at the College or settling in for your final year, starting the school year off right is essential. We’ve got you covered with helpful tips including ways to stay healthy and stress free, getting around campus and finding a bite to eat. Classes for the fall 2023 semester begin on Aug. 22.

Stay Healthy This School Year

If you start to feel under the weather, the College’s Student Health Services (SHS) is available to evaluate and treat your medical needs. Visits to SHS are included in your Student Health Fee. SHS does not charge for visits but does bill for lab work and some immunizations.

And if you’re feeling sick early in the morning or late at night, don’t worry: College of Charleston students who are physically in the state of South Carolina can also seek care through the Medical University of South Carolina’s 24/7 Virtual Urgent Care Platform. A voluntary health insurance plan is also available to students through the College.

Here are some of the health care services SHS provides:

5 Essential Move-In Tips

Move-in day is always exciting (and a little bit hectic). This year, students head back to the residence halls on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19, 2023. Check out this list of what to bring to campus.

Here are five ways to make move-in go smoothly:

1. Write your name and room number in big, clear letters on everything. With everyone moving in all at once, it’s easy for an unlabeled box to get misplaced.

2. A rolling handcart or dolly can save you time as you haul your clothes, bedding and tech into the residence hall. There will be a limited number of moving bins available.

3. Only bring what you need: For example, every residence hall has some form of refrigerator in the room or suite, so students don’t need to bring a mini-fridge.

4. The use of extension cords in residential spaces is prohibited. Power strips are recommended instead. Power strips in residence halls should be a UL-approved, grounded, three-wire model equipped with a fuse or circuit breaker.

5. Collapsible bins, hangers, stackable plastic drawers, over-the-door hooks – anything to maximize storage and space – are a must.

Get a Ride

As an urban campus, it couldn’t be easier to make your way to class or explore the historic city of Charleston. Here are some great ways to get around:

Cougar Shuttle: This CofC service offers free, safe rides to students anywhere on the Charleston peninsula at night. The Cougar Shuttle operates during the fall and spring semesters from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., seven nights a week. Call 843.352.8886 when you’re ready to ride. Reservations are not accepted. Students must present a valid Cougar Card to shuttle staff to board.

Bike Share: Need a free ride? The College’s Bike Share program offers free bike rentals to any current students, faculty and staff. Short-term bikes can be rented for 24 hours, while long-term bikes can be rented for a semester.

Catch the Bus: The Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority (CARTA) manages the bus system around downtown and the greater Charleston area. The system has routes that serve the Charleston peninsula, North Charleston, West Ashley, James Island and Mt. Pleasant — and CofC students ride for free. All you have to do is present your Cougar Card (College of Charleston ID), and you’re good to go. For full information on CARTA schedules and routes, visit the CARTA website.

Get Involved

One great way to meet fellow students at the College of Charleston is through any of the more than 150 clubs on campus. With offerings ranging from Greek life and a cappella groups to the Asian Student Association and Collegiate Curls to the College of Charleston Film Club and the CofC Running Club, there’s a club for every interest at CofC. View a full list of clubs and organizations.

And if you’re the kind of person who wants to stay active or try a new sport, the College has a variety of intramural sports and sports clubs where students can sharpen their athletic skills or just have fun playing a range of club sports like rugby and hockey as well as a variety of intramural sports like dodge ball, futsal and fishing.

Of course, you should always go cheer on the College’s myriad of athletics teams: from basketball and baseball to softball and track and field, there’s always a game or match to catch and show your Cougar pride!

Weeks of Welcome

Get into the swing of things with Weeks of Welcome, a multifaceted program that offers six weeks of events for students ranging from cookouts to dog therapy nights to festivals.

Weeks of Welcome will kick off on Aug. 19, 2023, at 7 p.m. in TD Arena with First Night Charleston where students will get into the Cougar spirit with a pep rally that introduces College of Charleston traditions to new students. The fun will continue on Aug. 21 from 3-6 p.m. with Maroon Mayhem, a street festival taking place along George and St. Philip streets where students can enjoy free food, giveaways and games. Go to the Weeks of Welcome website to check out the full list of events, which run through Sept. 28.

Keep Your Stress in Check

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you might feel stressed as you settle into the fall semester.

The Counseling Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to provide consultations, individual sessions and support groups. Students can request appointments or information by phone at 843.953.5640 or by filling out the “Online Appointment Request” link on the center’s webpage.

Students 4 Support, the College’s trained and certified student-run volunteer group, is available Monday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. during the school year. Students can reach out by texting “4support” to 839863 to find support.

7 Buildings to Know

If you’re not new to campus, then you should know your way around, but just in case, consider this a refresher. For those students who are new to the College, these seven buildings are essential to student life.

1. Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun St.: This is the main College of Charleston library. You’ll likely spend a few learning-filled days (or nights) in this location.

2. Johnson and Silcox Centers, 30 and 24 George St.: These two gymnasiums are the hub for Campus Recreation Services, where you’ll find everything from an indoor running track to badminton and volleyball courts, squash courts and a workout area.

3. Mail Services/Public Safety, side-by-side at 89 St. Philip St.: Located on the ground floor of the St. Philip Parking Garage, these two offices are essential to student life. Offering full postal, shipping and passport services, the Office of Mail Services is located next to the Department of Public Safety, which provides crime prevention, event management and police services to campus 24 hours a day. This is the place to register your bicycle.

4. Stern Student Center, 71 George St.: This is the epicenter of campus life at the College of Charleston and houses everything from a Wells Fargo ATM to a game room, as well as meeting spaces.

5. Multicultural Center, 14 Green Way: The Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services coordinates the Mentoring Matters, SPECTRA and Safe Zone programs. It also hosts cultural events and campus dialogues.

6. Lightsey Center, 160 Calhoun St.: The Lightsey Center houses the College of Charleston Bookstore and a number of support services for students, including the Academic Advising and Planning Center, the Career Center, the Center for Civic Engagement and the Office of the Registrar.

7. Beatty Center, 5 Liberty St.: Home to the School of Business, the Beatty Center is the business hub at the College and includes computer labs, smart classrooms and the Wells Fargo Auditorium.

Get to know all of the College’s buildings by checking out the campus maps.

A student at Liberty Street dining hall's salad bar where lettuce from Vertical Roots and vegetables from the Grow Food farmer's is available.

Let’s Eat

Charleston has a reputation as a foodie town, but you don’t have to leave campus for a good meal. Dining Services provides plenty of tasty options close to class and the residence halls. Fall 2023 meal plans begin on Aug. 18, with dinner. Please visit charleston.campusdish.com for location hours and menus. Be sure to download the Transact app for mobile ordering to use at our campus Chick-fil-A, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Starbucks and Marty’s Place. Here’s a line-up of where to eat on campus:

Liberty St. Fresh Food Company: Focused on locally inspired menus and fresh ingredients, this all-you-care-to-eat location features made-to-order pizza and pasta; salad, grill, and deli stations; allergy-friendly options; Lowcountry favorites, Chef’s Table exhibition cooking and an in-house bakery.

Chick-fil-A: A favorite for chicken sandwiches, chicken biscuits, salads and more!

City Bistro: Enjoy a variety of lunch, dinner and late-night dining options at this sleek bistro-style dining location.

Marty’s Place: Made-to-order vegan, vegetarian and kosher-style dishes, plus choices without gluten.

Einstein Bros. Bagels: Check out a wide variety of fresh baked bagels, sandwiches, salads, pastries and homemade desserts.

Starbucks: Stop in for coffee of all kinds, cold beverages, pastries and much more!

And don’t forget the POD locations for snacks and full meal options and then, coming soon, The Market for fresh produce and convenience items!