Wildlife and fisheries biology student Christian Blackburn found his outdoor voice in sustainability and service. 

Christian Blackburn has always considered sustainability and service integral to his life and personality. The son and brother of Clemson graduates, Christian realized early on in his college search that the land-grant university just a few hours from his hometown of Charleston had the potential to offer everything he was looking for and more. 

“There was a sense of family I always got from this place,” he recalls of early visits to campus. “And once I knew what I wanted to study, it all fell into place.”

That place started when he interviewed for the National Scholars Program and received the scholarship and resources that went along with it. Being able to focus completely on his major and giving back to the community was an opportunity too good to pass up, and acceptance to the Clemson University Honors College opened up further possibilities through study groups, professor engagement and hands-on learning. 

Christian Blackburn, part of the Honors College’s SASH Seniors Helping Sophomores walks with Sara Alkelani.

Most important to Christian was making connections on the Clemson campus and with its surrounding community. He joined the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, an organization committed to giving back through projects like assisting at local shelters and rejuvenating public green spaces, and he participated in the Youth Scholars Program. 

“Youth Scholars is through the Honors College and takes high-achieving, low-income students from area schools and demonstrates a pathway to college,” Christian explains. “It’s important for all students to see our broader community and the greater world they live in.”

Service has long been part of Christian’s life. He recalls that his mother made a point of showing his family that Charleston was more than its wealthy enclaves through volunteerism. Those experiences built his desire to connect with people and build relationships wherever he went. Thankfully, he says, that was easy at Clemson.

“I was able to study abroad in South Africa, learning about cultures outside of my own while still finding ways to help on campus through APO,” he says. 

Two men wearing jackets are walking through the forest. Their backs are facing the camera.

Another example is the annual Blood Bowl in which Clemson and the University of South Carolina vie to get the most blood donations leading up to their rivalry football game at the end of November. Christian takes great pride in generating enthusiasm for the event alongside his APO and Clemson families. 

“When I’m a part of something, I just want to make it the best it can be,” he says. “There’s always more I can do, and Clemson brings that out in me.” 

Meet Christian

Christian’s father, aunts, uncles and sister all went to Clemson University. 
Christian is a member of the Fire Tigers, a group that helps students understand land management through controlled wildfires and science.
Christian is a Class of 2024 graduate. His major is in wildlife and fisheries biology and his minor is in management.
Christian’s favorite spot on campus is the Walter T. Cox Plaza, and his service fraternity cleans the area twice a year to help maintain it.
He taught elementary and middle school students about the water cycle and sustainability each summer during high school as a camp counselor.
Though he loves the forest and outdoor spaces, Christian says he hopes to concentrate on sustainable urban development after graduation. 

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