Service-Learning: Leveraging Student Creativity to Solve Community Problems

Service-learning projects are valuable tools for the cultivation of ideas and creative solutions to real world problems. Community development programs can benefit strongly from establishing relationships with a university. The relationship between the Feed & Seed food hub and Clemson University’s School of Architecture is an excellent example of the benefits that can result from this kind of relationship.

Feed & Seed is a non-profit organization seeking to strengthen the local food community with a holistic program that addresses social, economic, health, and environmental issues in the Upstate of South Carolina. Feed & Seed posed the question “What can design offer the local food community?” to students enrolled in an interdisciplinary design studio. This discussion will focus on how this unique partnership became a learning laboratory for the students and community in the development of creative solutions to the community’s problems.

Presenters: Sallie Hambright-Belue is the Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies and an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at Clemson University. Her academic research areas are in beginning design-pedagogy, design-build curriculum, and merging sustainable farming and architecture. She has led numerous service learning design studios, which contribute to strengthening the local food community in the Upstate of South Carolina. Additionally, she and her husband own and operate Thicketty Mountain Farms. Mike McGirr is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Feed & Seed. His background includes growing up on an intense organic farm, running production of national brand marketing and advertising campaigns, and private cheffing as a devoted advocate of local, authentic and fresh foods. Mike and his colleagues have built a significant consortium of food-systems partners, including this Interdisciplinary Architecture Design Studio. Kathleen Peek is a Senior Undergraduate Architecture Student with a minor in Art at Clemson University. She has worked with Sallie Hambright-Belue in the Feed & Seed Studio as well as in a directed study course. She is interested in community development and outreach opportunities. Upon graduation, she will work as a college missionary with Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Aaron Peter is a third year Graduate Architecture Student at Clemson University. He has worked with Sallie Hambright-Belue in the Feed & Seed Studio and as a Graduate Assistant. He is interested in architecture’s relationship with place and culture. Upon graduation, he will work at MCA Architecture in Greenville, South Carolina.