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Go for a dive: scuba club explores waters both far and near

Scuba club members ride the seas outside of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Contributed by Pura Vida Dive Shop

Scuba club members ride the seas outside of West Palm Beach, Florida.

For a coastal state, South Carolina doesn’t exactly bring to mind images of white, sandy beaches and clear water, let alone scuba diving. But a group of students here on campus are working against that perception — the members of the Clemson Scuba Club. 

To get a better idea of what it means to be a member of a diving club in upstate South Carolina, we sat down with club president Jordanne Harpster, a junior education major, and treasurer Jillian Gaskins, an English major in the class of 2018. 

As a new club, this is only the second year that the divers have been meeting. 

Recently the former club president stepped down, leaving Harpster to step up and take the lead. According to her, “It was a great semester last semester and it’s going to be a great one this time.” The club dives locally, but also takes a number of trips during the year, including some to Florida and to

North Carolina. 

“We are able to dive year round here at Clemson,” says Harpster. “We plan a ton of trips, hopefully two trips to Florida per semester. If we’re not diving in Florida somewhere we can go to North Carolina or to Georgia. We do a lot of trips; it’s our main thing since diving is our biggest priority. When we’re not doing trips we do a lot of fundraising because diving is really expensive, and we know that. So we try to make diving as cheap as we can for our students and our members.”

One of the most important parts of learning to scuba dive is getting certified, and this is something the club tries to help its members with. 

As Harpster says, “We work a lot with Upstate Scuba, the dive shop here in Clemson… And we will work with our divers to get them into certification classes and to help certified divers earn additional certifications.” 

Harpster described the certification classes, explaining that it would take three to four weeks to complete and run participants about $300. As part of the class students attend an actual classroom session, two pool diving sessions and two lake diving sessions. After that a student is certified and ready to go. 

Part of the attempt to minimize student cost is the unique hours system that the Scuba Club employs. Treasurer Jillian Gaskins explained it, saying, “when a member logs 30 hours via events or showing up to meetings … you earn hours that translate into dollars for your certification. When you reach your 30 hours you get a $300 certificate at Upstate Scuba, and if you’re already certified you can get an advanced certification, or you could get scuba gear.” 

Dues come out to $60 each semester, and get members the opportunity to dive as often as they like with the club once they’ve completed certification. It also confers a discount at Upstate Scuba. 

The Scuba Club meets in Kinard 201 at 7 p.m. every Thursday, and

welcomes interested students, whether graduate or undergraduate.

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