Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Clemson University Students + Community Development

Recently, a class of Clemson University student's presented their final community development projects at the renovated Central Roller Mill located in downtown Central, SC. (I just love the Mill.) They presented the work they did in communities from Clemson to Greenville. The public was invited to attend. (Photo credit here.)

Photo of the renovated Central Roller Mill

All of the projects were great. The students put a lot of time and effort into their work. A few of the projects touched on biking in the Upstate.

For one project, a group of students ventured on their bike and mapped out some of the better known mountain bike trails of Clemson's North Forest  for their final project. What they hope to do, in working with the staff at Clemson University, is to provide a better map and updated trail conditions in the North Forest. They started this blog,, to get the ball rolling. On the site, different trails are mapped out (each path is highlighted in dark pink). The students did a lot of great work, finding trails and mapping them, but they hope that future students pick up where they left off, and continue to improve the forest's trail system along with university staff.

 Map of the North Forest

Another group of students worked on installing a very cool sculpture near the Swamp Rabbit Trail in the Nicholtown Pocket Park. They had some great photos on the final product and community input during the process. Look for it if you venture to the southern portion of the trail. There are some great things going on in Nicholtown with biking and active lifestyles. See these links: LiveWell Greenville and City of Greenville.

A third group of students talked about the transportation and recreation plan called "The Green Crescent Project." Using the existing Amtrak and CAT Bus systems, they talked about how folks from Atlanta could take the a short train ride to Clemson to enjoy a weekend of recreation in the Upstate. (For those unaware, Clemson's Amtrak Station is on highway 123, just a few blocks from downtown.) Kudos to them trying to bridge the gaps in geography by using existing infrastructure and systems, all while providing a jolt to the local economy!

Another group of civil engineering students were recently awarded a grant to implement their business plan for a bike sharing program on campus. At the presentation, they talked about their on-campus bike sharing program. Ideas include renovating the Sheep Barn to house the campus bike and repair shop, renting bikes by the week and encouraging students to use bikes more often as a means of getting around and to campus. Many in the community are very excited about the plan and the money awarded to make it a reality!

Clemson Sheep Barn

If you have any interest in knowing more about these projects, please contact Prof. Dan Harding. His energy, interests and professional skills have hand in many of the projects. (He also taught the class of students.) He can be reached at hardin4 at clemson dot edu. Congrats to the students for their hard work, completing the semester and doing projects that benefit and inspire communities across the Upstate!

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