Pic of CURI lunch 1While main campus employees were enjoying Thursday’s Employee Appreciation luncheon at the Fresh Food Company, faculty and staff working outside of Clemson were also being appreciated at luncheons held around the state.

One of those locations was North Charleston. About 50 faculty and staff members who work in the lowcountry gathered at the Zucker Graduate Education Center at the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI).

Team members from the Zucker Center as well as those from the Energy Innovation Center (EIC), the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, the Clemson Design Center, Clemson’s Charleston Extension office, and the Clemson/Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)-sponsored bioengineering program gathered for food and conversation. There were no work silos to be found as faculty and staff from different lowcountry work locations talked about their jobs, their research and much more.

“It’s important for us to come together for something like this,” said A.J. Powell, CURI campus and event manager. “We’re all really busy—our projects and departments are very different. When we get together over a meal and discuss things, we start learning about each other and we are better educated about each other and the jobs that we do.”

As wind turbine engineer Jessica Fischer was eating with her colleague, eGrid research engineer Nancy LaFlair, the pair were soon joined by others that they don’t see every day.

“I like that the lunch includes the whole campus,” Fischer explained. “We know the people in the Lasch Center and we know a few people at the Zucker Graduate Education Center, but I only interact with people from the EIC on a regular basis. It’s good to be able to talk to people that you don’t normally see in the course of your job.”

“It’s nice to get everyone together,” LaFlair added. “It’s good for morale. It’s good for team building. It’s an overall good experience.”

One of those who joined Fischer and LaFlair over lunch was Johan Enslin, Endowed Chair in SmartGrid technologies and Zucker Graduate Education center energy systems programs director. Enslin said that such appreciation events allow people, particularly in areas beyond the main campus, to create relationships, to connect with each other and to connect with the main campus.

“It’s great to have people from different areas to interface with each other,” he said. “Sometimes our employees feel a little bit disconnected from the main campus. It’s four hours from Clemson, so when employees feel they are not connected with Clemson, an event like this brings it back.”

Related: Appreciation lunches for employees held across the state