The reflection pond is located directly in front of the Cooper Library, separating the Library from the Amphitheater. During warm weather, students can be seen sitting around the pond studying, laying out, or eating lunch. Also, once a year the pond is drained of its 1,960,000 gallons of water and cleaned. Usually immediately after it has been refilled, many students will go swimming in the pond. The pool of water is an integral part of the air conditioning systems in several academic buildings around the fountains including Brackett Hall and Hardin Hall, serving as a booster cooling pond.
On Monday night, October 2, 1978, a Johnstone Hall resident undergraduate started up a Fiat-Allis front-end loader parked behind the Brackett Hall construction zone, then undergoing renovation, and drove it down the hill past the Amphitheatre and into the Reflection Pond, coming to a stop when it ran into some of the submerged piping. He then fled the scene. A campus policeman heard the earthmover start up at 11:37 p.m. but could not get to the site before the equipment was already in the water. The machine was removed from the pond the following day, but fuel oil that leaked into the water forced the shut-down and draining of the entire basin for cleaning and repair. In a case of self-incrimination, the primary suspect went free for several years until he had joined to U.S.Marine Corps at which time he wrote an "anonymous" letter to Clemson authorities, taunting them about the incident. University officials pulled his student records and the handwriting comparison confirmed his identity. He was subsequently arrested at boot camp in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in February 1982 and charged with the vandalism in Pickens County courts.