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CCU board of trustees recognizes Teal & Tech Experience program developed for eighth grade students

May 2, 2024
CCU President Michael T. Benson (right) and his wife, Debi, with several Teal & Tech Experience small-group leaders.CCU President Michael T. Benson.

At its meeting today, the Coastal Carolina University board of trustees received an update about a new initiative geared toward eighth grade students. During his report to the board, President Michael T. Benson spoke about the first-ever Teal & Tech Experience, a partnership between CCU and Horry-Georgetown Technical College. This unique daylong event held Tuesday, April 9, introduced more than 350 Myrtle Beach Middle School eighth grade students to the educational opportunities available at both institutions.

“We fully intend to do this for every middle school within Horry County Schools,” said Benson. “It’s ambitious to do this countywide, but we will do it.”

During the event, which was the brainchild of CCU first lady Debi Benson in her work with Myrtle Beach Middle School’s improvement council, 23 CCU students served as volunteer small-group leaders. The CCU students were able to meet the middle school students and escort them through the day’s various activities on both campuses. Debi Benson and the small-group leaders were invited to the board meeting and recognized for their efforts.

Delan Stevens, board chairman, said: “These CCU students guided the middle school students to the interactive demonstrations representing various areas of the University. Our students also worked to answer questions and shared about their campus experience. These CCU students were critical to the success of the day, and they worked to carry the CCU flag in the way they connected these students to our campus.”

In acknowledging the student leaders, Stevens said, “Thank you for all your commitment to this incredible experience. You were a part of changing the lives of young people on April 9, and that is truly the spirit of the Chanticleer and Coastal Carolina University.”

The Teal & Tech Experience provided the middle school students the opportunity to explore the academic programs and facilities of both campuses. CCU orientation leaders opened the day as part of a high-energy event with music, prizes, and a step exhibition from the CCU chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. In addition to a full tour of campus and enjoying lunch in CCU’s Hicks Dining Hall, the students concluded the day by taking a class photo on the teal turf of Brooks Stadium. The students were greeted on the field by the mascots from both institutions as well as CCU’s student-athletes, dance team, and the Chanticleer Regiment. A copy of the photo will be provided to each student when they graduate from Myrtle Beach Middle School at the end of the academic year.

During these meetings, discussions around new initiatives included VOTE 1954, which is led by the Student Government Association to increase civic engagement among students both on campus and in the community, and information about potential academic programs in the future for the University to explore.

Sara Hottinger, CCU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, shared information regarding the Office of National Scholarships and students receiving national awards.

Ashley Holloway, associate vice president for University marketing and communication, provided the board with an overview of CCU’s new branding initiatives. A redesigned website is expected to be launched early this summer. She also shared details about a promotional campaign in the Myrtle Beach International Airport and new billboards that will be strategically placed across South Carolina.

The board’s next scheduled meetings are Aug. 15-16, 2024.