Monday, April 12, 2010

FAMU Competing for The Home Depot HBCU Grants

Florida A&M University (FAMU) needs your vote as it competes against other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to win $150,000 in campus improvement grants from The Home Depot. One $50,000 major grant and ten $10,000 minor grants will be awarded.

FAMU made the first cut in the “Retool Your School” competition. The competition is part of The Home Depot’s long-standing efforts in support of the black community. Grant proposals must be for initiatives that make “lasting positive transformations that are visible” on campus.

For the $50,000 grant, FAMU is proposing to remodel the old TV Room, which is located in the Student Union Building, converting it into an environmentally friendly oasis where students can socialize with friends, have a healthful snack, fill up their water bottles with free purified water, and watch television. The project must be completed during summer 2010.

“Our campus improvement proposal should save FAMU money by making the space more energy efficient,” said Ryan Mitchell, senior environmental specialist in the FAMU Department of Environmental Health and Safety. “We propose installing motion-controlled LED lighting, adding fresh plants, repainting the walls to eliminate harmful chemicals, and installing a humidifier that is built in to an indoor waterfall. That has the added benefit of providing soothing sounds while purifying the air.”

For the $10,000 grant, the planning team – consisting of Mitchell, plus LaRae Donnellan and Jacqueline Hightower, co-advisers to the FAMU Green Coalition – is proposing to install cisterns for catching rainwater off campus buildings and diverting it to water the grounds near the women’s dormitories. The project must be completed fall semester 2010.

To win either the $50,000 or one of the $10,000 grants, FAMU must receive more online votes than any other HBCU in the competition. The winning team must also receive the votes of a separate panel of judges, who will determine whether the proposal is doable, transformative and environmentally friendly.

Online voting is now open and ends Saturday, May 15, at 11:59 p.m. Each individual may vote once each day until the deadline. To vote for FAMU’s grant proposals, go to

At the site, individuals can sign up to receive updates on the status of the competition. Individuals can purchase special “Retool Your School” commemorative gift cards that feature inspirational moments on HBCU campuses. The Home Depot will make a donation equivalent to 5 percent of the value put on the card to this worthwhile program, up to $150,000.

“It will really be a feather in the caps of student government and the Office of Student Activities if we can beat out other HBCUs and win this grant for FAMU,” said Calvin Hayes, vice president of the FAMU Student Government Association.

About FAMU’s Green Coalition
The FAMU Green Coalition promotes sustainability in the greater Florida A&M University community. Some of its initiatives include the recently completed ECOnscious Days, last fall’s Green Summit and the annual CANpaign aluminum can recycling event.

About Home Depot
The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,245 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China.

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