Clemson ’55 Exchange engages students in entrepreneurship

People have been eating world-renowned Clemson ice cream since the 1920s. Available in the student-run ’55 Exchange store on campus in the Hendrix Student Center, this delicious ice cream not only is tantalizing taste buds, it’s also helping prepare students to become entrepreneurs.

Serving up nice cold ice cream from the ’55 Exchange are Clemson students Kay Senn from Lakeland, Florida; Micah Floyd from Charlotte, North Carolina and Helen Ballew from Charlottesville, Virginia.
Image Credit: Denise Attaway/Clemson University

The ’55 Exchange is a student-run business where students design, manufacture, sell and serve Clemson’s world famous ice cream, shakes, coffee chillers and smoothies. Other Clemson products such as blue cheese, t-shirts and more are sold in the store as well.

Johnny McGregor, a professor in the Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences, is the lead advisor for students working in the ’55 Exchange. McGregor said Clemson students who work in the operation are “way ahead of their peers” when it comes to “real world” experience.

“This operation is totally 100 percent student-run,” McGregor said. “We have students who are involved in management positions, as well as production and retail positions. We have students who are shift supervisors, associates and every other position that is needed to effectively run the enterprise.”

Made possible by a generous gift from the Class of 1955, the entrepreneurial center is totally self-supporting. Funds generated from sales pay for the lease and utilities, as well as pay the staff, which usually is between 15 and 25 students.

“The store is very unique in the way it operates,” McGregor said. “The students do it all. They run the retail and manufacturing operations, work with suppliers and make sure the business meets food safety standards.”

An example of this is a food safety plan prepared by students in December 2016. This plan meets the Food and Drug…

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