Who We Are
Clemson ENGAGE is a Creative Inquiry research and translational education organization working to bring industry professionals, academic faculty, staff, and students together in an effort to improve the living conditions of partnering communities in developing countries.
In establishing the core values of our organization, we have made sure to keep effective and compassionate community service at the center of everything we do. We have adopted the “Oath For Compassionate Service” model described by Robert Lupton in his book Toxic Charity: (1) never do for others what they can do for themselves, (2) limit one-way giving to emergency situations, (3) always seek to empower, (4) put the interests of the poor above my own, (5) listen to both words spoken and unspoken from those I seek to help, and (6) above all, do no harm. All of our projects start with an expression of need and investment of time and money from the communities we partner with, ensuring they are completed effectively and sustainably over a long period of time.
By partnering with academic faculty and industry professionals in the technical aspects of our projects, students are networking and learning real-world skills that can be directly translated to their future careers. ENGAGE students come from many colleges on Clemson’s campus, with majors ranging from Civil and Biomedical Engineering to Economics, Education, and Health Sciences. Students solve developing world problems in a diverse setting, learn to communicate their research to a wide array of audiences, and improve their own resumes and online presence throughout the semester.
Where We Work
Dominica is a small, mountainous island nation in the Eastern Caribbean with a population of only about 73,000. It is primarily English-speaking with some of the more remote regions speaking a dialect of Creole inherited from African slaves brought to the island originally by the French and British. Its current inhabitants are primarily African descendants with a small population of tribal natives known as the Kalinago or Carib people. Amongst its Caribbean neighbors, Dominica is known as the ‘nature island’ due to its lush landscape, exotic marine life, and geological features such as sulfur springs and active volcanos.
ENGAGE was founded as an objective of the Clemson Office of Global Engagement to support the many communities devastated by Tropical Storm Erika that hit Dominica in 2015. Clemson University was given a 198-acre portion of Springfield Plantation, a property known for its incredible views and untouched nature, by John D. Archbold, its former owner. Archbold was an avid agriculturalist, sportsman, philanthropist, engineer, and conservationist, well known and loved by the citizens of Dominica. Upon the donation of this property, Clemson established the Archbold Tropical Research and Education Center (ATREC) for students and scientists of all kinds to use, honoring Archbold’s legacy. This property will serve as the home base for our students as we work with communities around the island. ATREC is centrally located just north of the capital city of Roseau on the Imperial Highway.
We will be focusing a great deal of our beginning efforts in the village of Soufrière and its surrounding communities. This area is located along the south western coast of the island, about a half hour drive from ATREC, and is prone to frequent tropical storms, earthquakes, and is in a highly active volcanic zone. Road problems and mudslides make accessibility difficult, even on clement days, and virtually impossible during heavy storms when there are often weather-related emergencies. Our teams will be working with the communities to improve disaster-resilience and design a solution for rapid evacuation of the area.
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