CLEMSON — Clemson University ice cream holds sweet memories for Kathleen “Kat” Miller Vinson and now that she lives thousands of miles away, a new online ordering system allows her to continue making memories.
Vinson graduated from Clemson in 1981 with a degree in English. She now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and recently ordered ice cream, including her favorite – Double Cookies and Cream – using the new Clemson ice cream online ordering system. Vinson sees the new system as a way to connect with and support the university.
“This new online ordering system is very easy to use,” Vinson said. “As a proud Clemson alumna, I wanted to support the ’55 Exchange during this COVID-19 pandemic. Even though I now live almost 2,000 miles away from Clemson, I felt this was a way that I could help Clemson students and faculty.”
The online ordering system Vinson refers to was created during the spring semester. This system allows Clemson ice cream to be shipped directly to customers nationwide. Orders can be placed online at www.clemson.edu/icecream. On the webpage, click on the order link just below the banner that goes to the CUMarketplace ordering system.
Money raised from the sale of ice cream supports the ’55 Exchange, the student-run business on campus where Clemson ice cream and other dairy products are sold. Just like many other small businesses, the ’55 Exchange has taken a big financial hit from forced closure due to COVID-19. The students are hoping to recoup some of their losses.
“We operate just like any other small business, including paying rent to the university, as well as paying our student and professional staff,” said Amy Grace Funcik, a Clemson Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences student from the Isle of Palms. “We entered the shutdown with a strong balance sheet, but with no means to generate sales, our financial strength has been severely impacted, placing the ’55 Exchange business future in jeopardy. So, we are looking for members of the Clemson Family to help us promote the launch of our ice cream shipping program.”
The students’ goal is to fill at least 100 orders per month, said Johnny McGregor, professor and ’55 Exchange advisor.
“We are currently running at about 50 orders per month so we need to double our number of orders before we can meet our financial goals,” McGregor said.
Changes are coming to the ordering system that McGregor said are sure to please.
“These changes include the ability for people to select their favorite flavors,” he said. “Right now, we are limited to offering preselected flavors that we ship out the second week of every month.”
Anyone interested in helping promote ’55 Exchange programs can email Funcik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to online ordering, hand packed pints of Clemson ice cream also are available from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Thursdays at the Clemson Farmers Market in Patrick Square. Online purchases are encouraged to help maintain social distancing, but cash also will be accepted. Online purchases for pickup at the Clemson Farmer’s Market can be made at www.clemson.edu/icecream. Available flavors are posted on the ’55 Exchange’s Facebook and Instagram pages each Thursday morning – https://www.facebook.com/55exchange and https://www.instagram.com/clemsonicecream.
Although Vinson now lives miles away, memories she made of Clemson ice cream while growing up here are as vivid today as they were when they happened.
“When I was around 5 years old, I was doing a little dance performance at the Clemson House,” Vinson said. “After the performance, my dance teacher took me to get Clemson ice cream. I ordered chocolate and she ordered lime sherbet. She let me taste her lime sherbet and I just about ate all of it! A couple of years later, my parents started taking my sisters and me to get ice cream on Sunday afternoons. Such great memories!”
Vinson’s parents also enjoyed eating Clemson ice cream. Her father’s favorite flavor was vanilla, “but I must say he loved Clemson Bleu Cheese more than anything else,” Vinson said. Her mother’s favorite flavor was peach and Vinson said she would take her mother “a pint or two” whenever she visited her in Clemson. Vinson’s daughter, Garland Kathleen Vinson, begins her sophomore year as criminal justice major at Clemson this fall. Her favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip.
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