Howard University was recently awarded a $10,000 grant for on campus improvements for finishing as a finalist in the Home Depot 2011 “Retool Your School” Campus Improvement Grant Program. The famed Washington, D.C. university was one of 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to receive grants for their proposals of long-standing eco-friendly projects.
Bethune-Cookman University took home the grand prize of $50,000. The Daytona, Fla. college will reportedly use the grant to install automated access doors and a wheelchair ramp in its Student Center to better accommodate students, faculty and staff members with disabilities, according to a press release.
As part of the contest, eligible schools submitted one major campus improvement project up to $50,000 of funding and one minor campus improvement project up to $10,000. Although Howard’s major proposal of installing an eco-friendly turf and repairing an athletic field it shares with Howard Middle failed to trump Bethune-Cookman, the school still came away as a huge winner. The grant will fund Howard’s minor proposal to install fencing and a sustainable garden at the tennis courts it shares with the middle school.
Winners were announced on May 16 by Home Depot. Howard along with runner ups Virginia Union University (Richmond, Va.), Knoxville College (Knoxville, Tenn.), North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro, N.C.), Morris Brown College (Atlanta, Ga.), Carolina Central University (Durham, N.C.), Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Ala.), Mississippi Valley State University (Itta Bena, Miss), Southwestern Christian College (Terrell, Texas) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Tallahassee, Fla.) will all have their minor proposal projects funded.
Online and public voting in addition to a panel of judges were used to select the winning schools. A prestigious panel of judges, headlined by Jamie Foster Brown, publisher of Sister 2 Sister Magazine and Monica McCluney, the United Negro College Fund’s national director of strategic alliances, came away awed by the number of intriguing suggestions sent in from several institutions.
“I was most impressed with the institutions who really understood that they should be focusing on green initiatives. I think that is always a critical aspect for campuses in terms of conserving dollars, which are much needed across all HBCUs,” McCluney said in a statement. “There is a valid interest from HBCUs around green initiatives. So, the more opportunities we can give them to come together and leverage opportunities such as the ‘Retool Your School’ experience in helping them to save resources through green initiatives, the better.”