By: Johnson C. Smith University

Faculty, staff and returning students gathered in front of Biddle Hall Monday morning to make sure the newest members of the Golden Bulls family knew where they were headed.

The team, led by Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Davida Haywood, was on standby for those who may have questions about the location of their classes. They also handed out maps, water and juice, and plan to be available throughout the first week of class for any student who is looking for directions and refreshment.

Haywood said she’s excited about the week ahead.

“We’re always excited about Welcome Week because it’s the University’s official way of saying ‘Welcome, Golden Bulls,’” she said. “It allows our newest Smithites to get acclimated and feel like they are a part of this experience.”

Freshman Chans Strickland, who is majoring in Psychology, said he was excited to meet new people.

“I’m very excited to see everyone outside and interacting,” he said during a program on The Block. “I’m a real people person, so meeting new people is really good for me. It means a lot to me to be out here and meeting people.”

Elonne Laing, a returning sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies major, said the energy on The Block was infectious.

“It’s alive around campus,” he said. “There’s a lot more people coming outside and enjoying the HBCU culture. Last year, there weren’t too many people coming outside. If they did, they stayed apart because of COVID-19.”

There are many events planned for the rest of Welcome Week, including events such as Game Day in the Bull Pen, Color Wars, Greek Life Café Fest, Rita’s Ice and Movie Night, Student Organization Fair and a WPEG Power 98 Community Block Party.

“There’s been a lot of hard work put into the events for this week, not only from our student leaders, but some of our community partners here in the Historic West End,” Haywood said. “We’re excited because we’re trying to reach beyond the gates of Johnson C. Smith University to let people know we are still the only HBCU here in Charlotte and we’re also good stewards and partners here in our community.”

Read more about Welcome Week by visiting

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