Florida A& M University enters Home Depot challenge to win grant money

The challenge is on as Florida A&M competes to win grant money from The Home Depot that will give the university a makeover. FAMU has until May 15, to receive enough votes to win.

So far, the university has made the first cut in the “Retool Your School” challenge, which will promises to make construction improvements to the university.

FAMU is competing with other Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the challenge. One grant of $50,000 will be awarded for a major project and 10 grants of $10,000 each will be awarded for minor projects.

Ryan Mitchell, FAMU’s senior environmental specialist said, “The Home Depot Retool Your School’ grant project is an avenue to help Rattlers live greener on campus.”

FAMU’s proposal for the $50,000 grant will be to remodel the TV Room into a “Green Room” and create an environment-friendly atmosphere where students can purchase healthy snacks. The project must be completed summer 2010.

For the $10,000 proposal, the university wants to install cisterns to catch rainwater off campus buildings and divert the water to the ground. The planning committee includes Ryan Mitchell, a senior environmental specialist in the FAMU Department of Health and Safety, LaRae Donnellan and Jacqueline Highter, co-advisers to the FAMU Green Coalition. Projects must be completed during the fall semester of this year.

Some students said the initiative would be a good opportunity for the university to expand “green” projects.

Lorielle Jackson, 21, a third-year environmental science student from St. Petersburg, said “The Retool Your School” competition is a great innovative way to help FAMU move toward being a more eco-friendly institution.

“This opportunity is one we cannot pass up,” Jackson said. “I greatly encourage every student, faculty, alumni or supporter of FAMU to go online and vote you can even vote from your web enabled cell phone.”

Even though FAMU may be the largest HBCU, Donnellan said smaller universities might be able to rally better.

“Our challenge is first to reach out to our current students, faculty and staff, plus our alumni and other supporters, and then to get them to vote – once a day between now and May 15.”

In order to win, FAMU must win more votes than other HBCUs. The team who wins will be judged by a separate panel of to decide if the plan is environment-friendly.

Online voting is open now and ends May 15, at 11: 59 p.m. to vote.
Go to http://retoolyourschool.com.