FMU signed a mutual aid compact, inspired by the pandemic, with three other local colleges in South Carolina.
Coastal Carolina University (CCU), Florence Darlington Technical College (FDTC), Horry George-Town Technical College (HGTC) and FMU all agreed to the compact.
The compact will provide broadband support and open up FMU resources to students from each of the three schools; the same will be offered to FMU students.
“So, if you need support from your institution and you’re not able to get it in the middle of the pandemic and one of the other four institutions can provide that support, let’s provide that assistance,” FMU President Fred Carter said.
Vice president of student life and professor of history, Christopher Kennedy, said the compact is new and has never been done before. Kennedy said FMU hopes to continue the compact in the future.
“We thought that we should have been doing it all along, and I think it’s going to stay beyond COVID,” Kennedy said.
Carter said the four schools have always had a good relationship, particularly CCU and FMU.
“The president of Coastal, Dr. David Desenzo, and I have been very, very close friends, good friends, for the last 12 or 13 years,” Carter said.
Carter said once the schools realized they would have to transition to an online platform, they began to plan for ways to help support their students.
“We started thinking of ways in which our students could be supported by each other’s campuses,” Carter said.
Several of the schools were already in separate partnerships with each other.
FMU had a bridge program with FDTC and CCU had a similar partnership with HGTC.
At FMU, the mutual aid compact has also created more opportunities for FDTC students to have access to housing.
“This year we are allowing some Florence Darlington students to be in our dorms,” Carter said.
Carter said FDTC reached out to FMU to see if they could come up with a deal that would allow the athletes on their baseball team to be housed on campus instead of having to rent apartments.
The mutual aid compact will allow students in the bridge program, who meet the criteria, to also be housed on campus. Carter said he thinks CCU is doing something similar with HGTC.
Although the pandemic created the need for an agreement between the four schools, Carter said he believed the deal was sensible and should already have been in place.
“It shouldn’t take a pandemic for our four schools to develop an agreement,” Carter said.
Students from any of the three schools just have to show their school ID and they will be permitted to use any of the FMU resources that are a part of the mutual aid agreement.
This agreement will make sure that any students from these four universities can get through the pandemic and not have to worry about being without the necessary resources and facilities.
Some students at FMU are really excited about the agreement and think it will be very beneficial.
Senior finance major and Resident Assistant Amanda Wagner said she knows a lot of people who live in Myrtle Beach but commute to FMU.
“It’s a good resource,” Wagner said. “Especially the computers.”
Carter said he hopes the compact between the schools will only be the beginning of ongoing aid and support between the universities.