Calling all Tigers: Student-led group seeks help for Clemson Family members in need
The university’s longest-serving student-led tiger conservation group is calling on fellow students to join the effort to protect Clemson’s adored mascot.
Entering its 20th year on campus, Tigers for Tigers (T4T) will hold a series of informational meetings in early September for students interested in joining the effort to protect tigers.
“The club really thrives on the different types of people and their majors because there are so many different aspects to it. There’s marketing, graphics, policy, along with conservation and biology,” said T4T President Evelyn Ann Borucki, a senior in the department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences. “People just have to have a passion for the conservation of tigers and then use their skills, whether it’s knowledge about tigers or photography, for the cause.”
T4T members lead local, state and national educational campaigns to raise awareness about tiger poaching and habitat destruction. Fewer than 3,900 tigers remain in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
“There are barely as many tigers in the wild as there are freshmen on campus this semester,” said Diane Dotson, a graduate student in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and former T4T president.
The effort has allowed Clemson students to view tigers in the wild in India. They’ve lobbied legislators on Capitol Hill to adopt laws protecting exotic animals like tigers. They’ve collaborated with conservation groups and universities across the country. T4T alumni have gone on to work or intern at the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Kanha Jungle Lodge in India, the Wild Bird Society of Japan and Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Some have pursued graduate degrees in conservation or attended veterinarian school.
“I have gotten internships that I would not have been able to get if I had not gotten involved in Tigers for Tigers,” Dotson said. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”
T4T has about 30 active members. The group organizes numerous events throughout the year to raise funds for tiger conservation efforts, including a 5K run in the spring and numerous events during Tiger Awareness Week beginning Nov. 6. As part of their Cubs for Cubs program, T4T members also visit local elementary schools to teach children about the importance of tiger conservation.
Additionally, two Creative Inquiry courses are associated with T4T: Tiger Conservation, FNR 4700 Section 045; and Tiger Awareness, FNR 4700, Section 046.
“T4T works toward a great cause and offers incredible opportunities to Clemson students,” said Shari Rodriguez, assistant professor of human dimensions of wildlife in the department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. “If you have a passion for tigers or a passion for wildlife conservation, we’d love to have you. It doesn’t matter what major you are.”
Rodriguez, whose research includes the impacts of human-wildlife interactions, is the group’s new faculty advisor.
“This is an extension of the research I love doing,” Rodriguez said. “And this is the only student-run tiger conservation group on campus and it has a long, rich history.”
T4T is open to all students. Informational meetings for those interested in tiger conservation will be 6 p.m. Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, 6:15 p.m. Sept. 7, and 6 p.m. Sept. 13. All meetings are in Martin Hall, room M-105. Pizza will be provided.
The group’s first official club meeting of the semester will be 7 p.m. Sept. 7 in Martin Hall, room M-105.
Tigers Awareness Week beginning Nov. 6 will feature numerous events, including a tiger skit, a wing-eating contest, and a speaker.
“It’s our biggest event of the fall. It allows for us as a club to educate our students and community and partner with an organization that we support,” Borucki said. “There is so much time and planning that go into our events and Tiger Awareness Week is a great example of how we try to involve our campus.”
Follow #SaveOurMascot or @t4tclemson on Twitter to keep up with T4T’s latest efforts and visit t4tclemson.org for more information.
T4T student leaders include Borucki and club vice president Maxton Shaw, a senior Animal and Veterinary Sciences student.