GREENVILLE, S.C.—Michelin North America is teaming up with Clemson University and the University of South Carolina on an initiative to establish academic courses that will look into efforts to improve sustainability in the tire industry.
The initiative, "One SC to Sustain," launches in January at both universities with an inaugural class of 31 students combined.
Students in the classes will visit tire plants, meet professionals in the industry and listen to guest speakers throughout the semester, Michelin said, providing an opportunity for them to learn to work across disciplines and come up with improvement recommendations for the tire industry. They will meet periodically together as well, Michelin said.
Officials from Michelin and the two universities met Nov. 18 at Michelin's North American headquarters in Greenville to kick off the collaborative project.
"As the global demand for transportation rises, Michelin is committed to making mobility cleaner, safer, and more affordable and accessible," said Michael Fanning, director of sustainable development for Michelin North America.
“Sustainable mobility is not only our corporate mission; it is part of our everyday operations and culture. This collaboration with Clemson and USC is an extension of our efforts to produce tires more sustainably."
While this type of hands-on learning will provide students with valuable experience prior to graduation, Michelin said the long-term goals of the project are focused on influencing the tire industry in South Carolina, with Clemson, USC and Michelin leading the way.
Gregory Mocko, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson, will teach the first section of the class and is helping to oversee the collaboration.
“This is a great opportunity for students to get real-world experience in a highly relevant field," Mocko said. “South Carolina is the No. 1 state for tire manufacturing. We see this as a fertile ground for innovation that could make the whole tire industry more sustainable. Michelin brought together the two universities to work on this issue, which speaks volumes about its potential and importance to the tire industry."
In addition, Paul Ziehl, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC, has also been instrumental in developing the course curriculum, Michelin said.
“This class will bring students from different majors together to more closely represent an actual working environment," Ziehl said. “All students will benefit greatly from partnering with Michelin to address these important, real-life issues.”