At home in USC's Women's Quad
By Liz McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-2848
When Lorie Bellot first visited campus to interview for a job with University Housing, she visited many of the residence halls and the Horseshoe. The campus was beautiful. Then she stopped by the Women’s Quad. That moment felt like a movie, she says.
“We rode the cart through the middle of the quad and it just felt like – I don’t even know how to describe it,” she says. “It’s like when the clouds open up and the sun rays come through. You hear the birds chirping. In my heart I thought ‘I just have to work here. I must work in the women’s quad.’”
That was two years ago. Bellot, a residence life coordinator, helped kick off the Carolina Women’s Community, a living and learning community that aims to develop USC’s young women academically, socially and personally. The community brought the women from the three buildings – Wade Hampton, Sims and McClintock – together with programs aimed at empowering them.
“The community in those three buildings was exceptional,” she says. “That community helped transform what women thought when they first moved in. It’s not about community showers. Slowly as the semester went on, it became a family. It was ‘I don’t care if I live in a shoebox as long as I live in a shoebox with people who love me.’”
This year the quad is closed for renovations but through the years the Women’s Quad has taken a special place in many young girls’ hearts. Marjorie Riddle, assistant director for special programs at the Visitor Center, lived in McClintock for three years – as a freshman and then as a resident mentor. McClintock was more than a building, she says.
“I began and established some of the best relationships of my life with friends who will always be dear to me,” she says. “I’m anxious to see what the ‘new’ McClintock will be like and am a little sad that a building that meant so much to me for three years won’t really exist as I remember it, but I’m glad to have been part of its history.”
Annie Felder has been a housekeeper in the Women’s Quad for more than three years. She came to know the halls of Wade Hampton pretty well. She says she hated having to take the stairs.
“It’s much better than the boys’ dorms,” she says. “I enjoy seeing the students when they are here. I miss them when they are gone. If they need something they let me know and I try to get it for them. It’s no different from my own children.”
Felder has been mostly cleaning women’s residence halls in the 11 years she’s worked at USC. This year while the quad is under construction, Felder may be stationed in Patterson Hall – where the women’s community will live as well.
“When they get it finished, I hope I will be able to go back in there to work again, back on the quad,” she says.
Bellot says she hopes to return to the quad when construction is finished as well. The quad is a place for young women to be the best versions of themselves, to be free to be silly, goofy, smart and have an opinion, she says.
“A lot of women who left always came back. When you are a part of Women’s Quad, you’re always a part of it,” she says.
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