For Clemson University students Jeff Plumblee and Jackie Blizzard, civil engineering is about more than building better cars or stronger bridges. They are among an increasing number of students seeking a greener curriculum to prepare them for jobs of the future - "green jobs" that aren't growing as fast as the nation's crop of college graduates.
Part of Clemson's Engineering Sustainable Solutions team, they are concerned about the environmental, social and economic impact of products built and produced here and around the world.
It's "a way to make a bigger impact, a better contribution to society," said Blizzard, 21, of Cockeysville, Md., a civil engineering graduate student doing research focused on sustainable solutions to engineering problems such as making cars more fuel efficient.
Plumblee, a doctoral student from Greenville, is researching the environmental impact of products designed to better protect homes against natural disasters and is concerned with the materials intensive and energy intensive nature of homebuilding and other construction.
"The more environmentally conscious we are, the better materials we'll have in the future; the better materials we can utilize now, the less energy we use," Plumblee said. It saves money for companies and "saves us all a big headache in the long run."