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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 WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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