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Comfy Partnership Between Rooms To Go And St. Augustine's University

St. Augustine's University, HBCU, Rooms to Go
Leoneda Inge

One of the largest furniture companies in the country has dropped off more than $20,000 in new furniture at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh. Rooms to Go is helping to establish the university’s Reading for Excellence Center.

St. Augustine’s Chief Operating Officer Steven Hairston said there’s nothing like a new sofa and chair to encourage school work.

“Education doesn’t just stop in the classroom, you are supposed to bring it back to your dormitory, where you live," said Hairston. "And you sit down with your colleagues and have the opportunity to talk about the class, talk about other things, find common interests and develop life-long friends.”

Hairston said the small, private, historically-black university has been working for years to renovate its aging dormitories. Reading rooms with new furniture are now set up in three dorms on seven different floors.

Christopher Ingram, of Freeport, New York, is a freshman at St. Augustine’s and he lives in the all-male Latham Residence Hall. Ne was voted "Mr. Latham Hall" and said he is glad he and the guys got some of the first new furniture.

“It feels like you are right at home, honestly," said Ingram, leaning back into the pillows on a new sofa. "I kick back all the time. And I feel like I am in the living room at my house. Even though my home is plenty of miles away, I feel like I am right at home.”

Malcolm Nightingale is Regional Operations Manager for Rooms to Go. He said they will continue their relationship with St. Augustine's for the next several years, which includes scholarships for Student Government Association leaders. It also includes annual check-ups on the furniture, to see how it is holding up.

"We're looking to make this a comfortable place for students," said Nightingale." "Places they can go and feel comfortable, studying."

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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