By Hannah Sykes

CLEMSON — The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education has awarded this year’s Service Learning Award to a.LINE.ments, a public service design studio in Clemson University’s department of planning and landscape architecture.

a.LINE.ments is a multi-disciplinary community design studio that allows both graduate and undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience in designing projects that solve a problem or a concern in local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2006, more than 270 Clemson students have helped create community master plans, parks, streetscapes, playgrounds and civic spaces.

Under the guidance of director Mary Beth McCubbin, a lecturer in the department of planning and landscape architecture, student designs often lead to city grants and plans to put the designs into practice. Past projects include plans for a park with activities for people with disabilities in Greenwood and Safe Routes to School, a project in which students evaluated the safety of every street in Fountain Inn and proposed recommendations to improve pedestrian walkways. Both projects are currently being implemented.

The studio is funded by donations from communities and clients served. Graduate students are eligible for assistantships, and undergraduate students participate through the Creative Inquiry program, a Clemson imitative to engage undergraduate students in multiple semesters of research.

“The review panel was particularly impressed with the studio’s activities and its impacts on the communities with which the students work,” said Trena Houp, program manager for the Commission on Higher Education.

The commission will present the award to McCubbin, collaborating faculty and students at its Thursday, March 4, meeting.