CLEMSON — Twenty-two years ago, when a group of students at Clemson University wanted to clean up after homecoming weekend to preserve the campus and add to the community, Habitat for Humanity’s Homecoming House tradition was born.
“All those years ago a group of students went to then school president Jim Barker to ask about the remains of all the floats and homecoming related material which could be found around the campus. He (Barker) gave them a list of conditions which they would have to meet, and community service was one,” said Cindy Sanders, executive director of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity. “That’s how it all started. This is actually the 23rd house in 22 years, and it’s just an amazing accomplishment.”
Under normal circumstances, the home is constructed on Bowen Field, in front of Tillman Hall on campus, but following the deluge by Hurricane Joaquin, the grounds were in no shape to handle the traffic and construction.
Instead the home is being built near the university’s sheep barn at the intersection of Cherry Road and McMillan Road, where Forest House Movers will pick it up and deliver it to its new home at 302 W. Beattie St. in Liberty to assist a family looking to make a home of their own.
“This is a great opportunity for these students to learn, not only about construction, but also about the need to give back to the community, and every year they do just that,” Sanders said. “Some classes or organizations require community service hours at Clemson, and for some students that’s how they get involved. The big thing is what they learn and the fact most stay involved, even after graduation.”
What began as a measure to help manage homecoming and campus clean up evolved into philanthropy, and the reuse of materials is key in this process. But the practical experience learned by students goes a long way as well, as they take the practical experience and put it to work in the real world.
“There are a lot of construction sciences students who participate, with upper class members working as leaders on the project. And we have worked with a lot of design students from the school as well,” Sanders said. “Not only that, there are some who help write grants and raise money and the Clemson Life students, which are mentally challenged, come out and help each year.”
The home will be on display throughout homecoming weekend when Boston College comes to town to face the sixth ranked Tigers. It will shortly thereafter be transported to its permanent place in Liberty.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.