The ESSo research group creation story

I’m excited to share this guest post from Michael Dukes. Michael was a founding member of our research group and earned his Master’s degree in 2009. He has since earned his P.E. and, despite relocating to Oklahoma, remains a die-hard supporter of all things Clemson. 

The ESSo research group creation story, by Michael Dukes, P.E.

Yes, our research group name was inspired by a renovated gas station
Yes, our research group name was inspired by a renovated gas station

The Engineering Sustainable Solutions (ESSo) research group was founded during the 2008-2009 academic year. A group of like-minded engineering graduate students was meeting each week under the leadership of Dr. Klotz. While the topics of our theses varied, each of them had the commonality of Sustainable Engineering. After a few months of consistent meetings in which we would bounce ideas off of one another and update each other on our research, we decided that our group could probably stick around for a while and deserved a name.

People need food to sustain life, and our earth is in desperate need of sustainable engineering to sustain the human race. By far, my favorite lunch spot in Clemson during my academic career became the ESSO club. They have the best mac-n-cheese and make cornbread so sweet that you would think it’s cake. Needless to say, I ate at the ESSO club quite frequently to sustain my life.

Anyway, with all of our theses pertaining to Sustainable Engineering and my craving for lunch at the time of our group naming brainstorm session, I realized that the phrases Engineering Sustainable Solutions or Elegant Sustainable Solutions  or Engineering, Sustainability, and Soccer, or pretty much any new direction Dr. Klotz wanted to take could be abbreviated as ESSo. There was no further discussion. The ESSo research group was born.

An ESSO club meat and 3 "vegetables"
An ESSO club meat and 3 “vegetables”

I am proud to have left a legacy in a name that broadly defines a goal of creating sustainable solutions to real world issues and also pays homage to the greatest meat and three in the world1. The ESSO club inspired and sustained the ESS☺ research group2.

  1. For those of you non-Southerners who, like Dr. Klotz when he first got here, have never heard of a meat and three, it is just what it sounds like. You get to choose a meat and three vegetables. The trick is that vegetables are anything that is not meat, such as the aforementioned cornbread and mac and cheese. And I know that meat has a high carbon footprint, but I rationalize that the value of my research probably offsets my meat eating impact []
  2. I read that ESS☺ recently had a smiley face added. As a huge fan of Elmo, I support this rendition of the name 110%. []