Clemson student and Rebuild Upstate volunteer, Greg Agres sees opportunities everywhere. From high school service clubs to the college classroom, Greg believes that “you can help in so many different ways- you just have to work those ways into your schedule and the way you live.” Currently, Greg’s schedule includes finishing up his final year as an accounting major and leading campus organizations like the Rotaract club and the Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) professional business fraternity. Under his leadership, both teams built new decks and ramps for elderly homeowners in the Upstate over the past two years. This year Greg advocated for a project near campus.
“Being in Clemson, when people think of community service, a lot of them think outward. For example, donating a lot of money to a cause outside of the U.S. But being able to bring it back the Liberty area means so much.” While Greg wanted his team to serve inside the local community, it was important for him to lead others to serve off-campus. “A lot of times when I talk to college students they focus on grades and tests and what grade they’re gonna get and their next assignment. [It’s hard to] forget about stress until you are taken outside of your day-to-day until you get outside of college.” Delta Sigma Pi served Mrs. P, a homeowner facing health issues who needed a new deck, ramp, and flooring repairs. Greg says that after serving Mrs. P, his fellow students were less stressed and were reminded of the world outside of their college bubble.
Meeting the homeowner made the build day personal. Mrs. P and Delta Sigma Pi volunteers connected over a meal as she told stories about her life in the home, including the objects inside it, like a grandfather clock and the carpet she laid herself 40 years before. He shares, “In college, everyone thinks of their home as a peaceful place where no school or work stress can get to. It’s peaceful, comforting. But serving with Rebuild Upstate you see a contradiction, a different situation. How would I feel if I couldn’t even get into my house safely? Mrs. P is unable to make her home comforting due to a life event that she had no control over.”
Greg’s favorite part of the day? Seeing his new friend’s reaction to her porch. Mrs. P and her family used the new deck and ram immediately after it was completed, right in front of the volunteers. Greg shared, “a lot of times with community service you don’t get to see the impact you’re making upfront and with this [Rebuild Upstate build day] you do.”
As Greg looks towards his future, he’s excited to pass the torch to a new leader on Clemson’s campus. But the buck doesn’t stop there- he’s confident he will pursue community service as a career. To Greg, nothing is better than connecting reluctant volunteers to a meaningful experience that will change their life. We are forever grateful to volunteers like Greg who take pride in their community and pride in themselves. You are changing lives, one build day at a time.