Tasting for Donations: Who knew reaching out to the community could taste so good?
Through the years the student-run ice cream shop, the ’55 Exchange, has held contests for food science majors to create their own flavors. There have been flavors like sweet potato pie, pineapple upside down cake and mint julep. Some students have even won contests to secure a signature flavor, like Brad’s Caramel Cookie Dough or Heather’s Goober Goo.
But this month it’s about the flavors of charity with the Ice Cream with a Heart Contest.
John McGregor, faculty adviser of the ’55 Exchange, presented the students with the idea of coming up with a unique and fun way to give back to the community.
“The students are really proud of themselves. It’s turning out to be bigger than they expected,” he said.
Here’s how the contest works: Any student from any organization can submit an ice cream flavor idea to the ’55 Exchange Facebook page. The submission must include the flavor concept, the student organization, a description of what the product will taste and look like and the charity the flavor will represent.
Fifteen flavors will be chosen based on the number of “likes” the flavors receive. From those, four flavors will be chosen by the contest committee based on creativity, market potential and ease of manufacture. The top four flavors will be produced and sold in the ’55 Exchange, where 20 percent of all sales of the organization’s flavor will go to the represented charity. The flavor that sells the most will get a free ice cream party for their organization.
“The great thing about the project is that it gets the community involved,” McGregor said. “We’ve only received a few submissions so far, but they have all been great ideas.”
The motto of the ’55 Exchange is “Where tradition flavors the future.” The ’55 Exchange has a rich tradition of giving back to Clemson, be it through selling delicious ice cream or providing priceless opportunities for its workers. Students who have worked in the ’55 Exchange often go on to work in highly competitive companies in the food science industry.
“Students graduating from Clemson with work experience in the ’55 Exchange are coming out ahead of everyone else. They get the practical business experience that other graduates applying for jobs don’t have,” McGregor said.
The ’55 Exchange is about giving hands-on experience to students who seek a career in food science, business, marketing and many others. The retail center is self sufficient and separate from the University, so when something happens to vanilla crops or cocoa bean trees, the students have to figure out how to solve the problem.
Amanda Spatharos, the store’s retail operations manager, says her experience is an essential asset to life after Clemson.
“After growing and learning as a manager at the ’55 Exchange, I have gained the motivation and experience to go after a career I feel passionately about. Dr. McGregor has been a great mentor, and I wouldn’t take anything back,” she said.
The ’55 Exchange also unites Spatharos with a strong sense of Clemson pride. “I can guarantee there won’t be a time I come back to Clemson as an alumna without having to make a trip to get some ice cream.”
The Ice Cream with a Heart Contest is just one of the many ways in which the ’55 Exchange develops business ventures and enhances marketing skills and creativity.
So log on to Facebook today and submit a flavor for your favorite charity; the deadline is December 1. There’s no better way to help out the community than through America’s favorite dessert and Clemson’s favorite ice cream franchise.
The ’55 Exchange is located in the Hendrix Center at the corner of South Palmetto Boulevard and Cherry Road. Hours are: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 1 to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 6 p.m.