CLEMSON — The Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences will open an on-campus Cooperative Extension office run by students to help familiarize them with the Extension program and serve the campus and surrounding community.

“The goal of the on-campus Cooperative Extension office is to serve the Clemson community’s Extension needs and to provide a training ground where students can be introduced to the rewards of helping people and can learn skills necessary to become future Extension agents,” said Extension Director Tom Dobbins.

Student extension agents standing in front of paw.

Samuel Quinney (left), Raleigh Dawson, Hope Morris and Hunter Morton will staff the office.

The Cooperative Extension Program fulfills one-third of Clemson University’s land-grant mission of research, teaching and Extension by serving as the primary public service outreach arm of the university. With offices in all 46 counties of South Carolina, Clemson Extension provides qualified agents in a wide range of fields, including agribusiness; natural resources; 4-H youth development; and food, nutrition and health.

“Extension is a source of knowledge for the Clemson community. We aid in teaching students life skills in not only agriculture, but also in being an informed consumer regarding topics such as horticulture, food and nutrition, water quality and agriculture. The everyday consumer should refer to extension as their ‘Google’ or ‘YouTube’ to learn unbiased information regarding anything they need to know,” said Raleigh Dawson, a senior animal agribusiness major.

The new office will include many resources to help students, employees and the community with a variety of topics. The office will assist students with soil, plant and water sampling for horticulture and agriculture classes, as well as answer their agriculture-related questions. It will also highlight the available resources throughout the state at other Extension offices. The student staff will offer programs and events throughout the year consisting of agricultural awareness, hunting tips and calling contests, and a horticulture field day on Bowman.

“We will work together to make sure that there is always an agent around to help with any questions that the students may receive either over the phone or from walk-ins,” said Charly McConnell, a water resources Extension agent and an adviser to the program alongside Matt Burns and Danny Howard.

The office staff hopes to collaborate with other clubs and organizations on campus and will serve as a “home-base” for Extension agents in Pickens and surrounding counties.

The office will be run by University Professional Internship and Co-op (UPIC) interns. The office will help connect students at Clemson with other Extension offices for future job opportunities and highlight the available resources throughout the state at county offices.

“I believe the connections made within Clemson Extension, as well as outside of Extension, will be the most beneficial to student interns due to the fact that even if the student does not decide to pursue a career in the Extension field they will get the opportunity to work with subject matter experts in soils, water quality, agriculture, arboriculture and forestry and livestock — anything that an Extension agent could face in daily tasks,” said Samuel Quinney, a senior agricultural mechanization and business major.

The on-campus program will also provide faculty with mentoring opportunities and give students a sneak peak into what life as an Extension agent is like and the day-to-day tasks they encounter.

The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Science will hold a grand opening of the Extension office Friday beginning at 10 a.m. with a tailgate in room A 107 in the Poole Agricultural building.