May 13, 2020

Pastides Alumni Center served as home for accelerateSC



On April 20, 2020, as a result of COVID-19, Governor Henry McMaster announced the launch of a task force dedicated to the safe re-opening of South Carolina.

This accelerateSC team quickly needed a large, clean space in which it could safely meet to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on our state and create a roadmap to an effective economic revitalization plan.

The governor’s office asked The Pastides Alumni Center at the University of South Carolina to be that space.  And since the first meeting on April 23, the accelerateSC team or its subcommittees met at the Alumni Center fourteen times with the Alumni Center hospitality team serving as hosts at each meeting.

“When we needed a space that could safely accommodate accelerateSC, the [staff at the] Pastides Alumni Center didn’t hesitate to say yes,” said Governor McMaster. “We’re grateful for this invaluable resource as we gather the team to work together to reinvigorate South Carolina’s economy as quickly and safely as possible.”

Meetings were held in the Grand Ballroom of the Alumni Center. The ballroom encompasses 10,000 square feet which is enough space that allowed the 39-member team to spread out and comply with social distancing guidelines. Only one accelerateSC team member sat at each table, with appropriate spacing between each attendee.

To accommodate these meetings with the highest regard for health and safety, Alumni Center staff members changed linens, sanitized each table and microphone and placed clean materials at each table. Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the building and housekeeping staff members regularly cleaned high-touch surfaces with EPA and CDC recommended disinfectant. 

“The Pastides Alumni Center has been a great partner,” said James Burns, accelerateSC’s Executive Director.  “When Governor McMaster created accelerateSC, he knew that we needed a large space to safely accommodate the team and the Pastides Alumni Center was a great setting.  The staff members at the Alumni Center have become critical teammates as we seek to safely help businesses get back to work and to re-energize the South Carolina economy.” 

A vibrant event venue space, the Pastides Alumni Center hosts weddings, conferences, meetings and other celebrations and events throughout the year. In spring 2019, the Alumni Center was named in honor of Dr. Harris Pastides who served as President of the University of South Carolina from 2008 to 2019.

Pastides served on the accelerateSC protection team responsible for identifying protective protocols for practical implementation and long-term mitigation efforts to ensure economic revitalization.   

As the task force worked to reopen the state’s economy in a safe and proficient manner, the Pastides Alumni Center was the host meeting site, serving the accelerateSC team as they discussed decisions crucial to South Carolina. 

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