All Aboard | Beaufort County Now | Admitted students, parents enjoy first Pirates Aboard session

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

All Aboard

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Ken Buday.

Parents and students are treated to lunch during Pirates Aboard Admitted Students Day on Friday. The event featured informational sessions as well as tours of campus and residence halls, all with COVID-19 safety measures in place. | Photos: Cliff Hollis

    Jackson Faircloth looked at stacks of shirts in the Dowdy Student Store in the East Carolina University Main Campus Student Center. You could say purple and gold run through his veins.

    "My parents went here," he said.

    Faircloth was one of about 100 students who came to campus Friday for the first Pirates Aboard Admitted Student Day session. Masked and safely distanced, students and parents heard presentations on campus living, dining and student life, toured residence halls and the campus, enjoyed lunch in the West End Dining Hall, met current students and received information about the College of Business, the focus of the first session. They were reminded of important deadlines for deposits and room contracts that are approaching.

    "It's been great," mother Allison Faircloth said. "We're getting a lot of information."

    Pirates Aboard was a homecoming of sorts for her. She graduated from ECU in 1997 with a degree in education and is an elementary school teacher.

Delaney Mcginniss leads a tour of campus during Pirates Aboard.
    "The recreation center was being built when I was here, and the student center wasn't here," she said. "A lot has changed."

    Pirates Aboard sessions are organized by college this year with COVID-19 precautions in place. In the past, sessions would involve thousands of students, but each session this year is limited to just 100 future Pirates, with each allowed to bring one parent or guardian.

    "They're doing great," Allison Faircloth said of the safety measures.

    Stephanie Whaley, assistant vice chancellor and director for admissions, said participants in each Pirates Aboard session will fill out a COVID screening form and have their temperatures checked at registration.

    "The event schedule was extremely structured and was intentionally designed to reduce density and provide social distancing," Whaley said.

    Whaley said she felt excited to show off ECU's campus and culture while giving students an idea about what their freshmen experience would be like.

    "We were thrilled to host the first of 17 Pirates Aboard sessions, and we are looking forward to the 16 sessions we will be hosting over the next two months," she said.

    Students and parents were happy for the chance to attend the on-campus event.

Emmanuel Ruffin and his mother Ekram Ruffin listen to a presentation in the Main Campus Student Center.
    "I'm excited about looking around the campus," said student Emmanuel Ruffin from Rocky Mount. "I've driven around it before, but I've never really been inside. I was excited to see the dorms because I know some of them have been renovated and to see the classrooms."

    Mother Ekram Ruffin supported her son's decision to come to ECU.

    "As a parent, you want your children to get their education wherever they feel at home," she said.

    And that was among the reasons her son chose ECU.

    "I was looking at the business program here, and it's one of the top ones in North Carolina," he said. "I like how diverse ECU is, and I like Greenville in general. I come here a lot, and I didn't want to go someplace where I didn't enjoy the feel of the city."

    Kevin Williams, director of undergraduate programs for the College of Business, presented an overview of the college and its degree programs but said his main goal was not to talk but to listen.

    "We're giving them a 10,000-foot view of the college, but my main thing is to answer their questions," he said. "We want to answer their questions and let them know that we are here and are happy to speak with them at any time."

    Kaitlyn Hart of Mooresville stocked up on Pirate gear in the student store. She said she learned a lot during Pirates Aboard and enjoyed "just looking around campus."

    "As soon as I stepped on campus and just talking to everyone, it felt like home," she said.
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