Clemson Athletics has always had a strong relationship with Habitat for Humanity, with many student-athletes and staff members volunteering to help build homes all across the upstate of South Carolina as part of their involvement in community service over the years. In the fall of 2017, however, Clemson Athletics, with the support of Student-Athlete Development and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, took that relationship a significant step further.
After discovering that a local family was in need of a home in the Clemson area, the department saw an opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity, not only in terms of securing the financing for the home, but also with Clemson student-athletes, coaches, administrators and members of the support staff providing all of the physical labor for the building.
Since the first build on Nov. 16, 2017, 10 of Clemson’s 14 teams have participated in at least one build on the home, and several departments across athletics, including athletic academic support, compliance, nutrition and the grounds crew, have also been involved. In total, Clemson Athletics has already spent over 800 hours building the home.
In addition, 230 student-athletes, 25 coaches and 27 staff members have donated their time and efforts to the project. On Jan. 15, 2018 (the MLK Day of Service), 57 student-athletes volunteered, on their day off from classes, contributing 126 hours in one day. Clemson’s student-athletes have shown impressive commitment in identifying free time in their already-rigorous academic and athletic schedules to help build the home.
Building the home has been a rewarding experience for all members of Clemson Athletics, and particularly for those on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee who had the opportunity to meet the family, hear their story and learn about the impact having a permanent home will have on their lives.
It has also been a learning experience, about the Habitat for Humanity process, the building process thanks to working with the Habitat construction supervisors, and also about the importance of giving back to the community. Finally, it has been a bonding experience, as teams, coaches, administrators and staff members have all been united in working together for a single cause and towards a single goal.
As of early May, the next step in the building process was putting the roof on the home. While great progress has already been made, there is more to be done, with the goal being to complete the home by September 2018, when the family in need is expecting its second child.
The Clemson Athletics family has taken a lot of pride in the partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of a local family. Taking ownership of the entire process, including the financial piece as well as providing all of the manual labor to build the home, has been a significant commitment.
In addition to labor and materials (the Clemson Athletic Facilities department has already donated more than 250 sheets of plywood), the project is also in need of additional monetary support. If any member of the Clemson Family is interested and able to donate to the project, please visit the Pickens County Habitat for Humanity website (www.pickenshabitat.org/athletics/). For more information about the project, contact Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Development Tori Niemann at 864-656-2095 or email@example.com.