The Green Machine – FAMU Transforms Itself For Environmental Health

Trevor Hylton, Extension Agent with FAMU and University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, gives students a tour of the Orange Avenue Community Garden. 

Since the first day of Elmira Mangum’s presidency at Florida A&M University, the “New FAMU” has its sights set on advancing and promoting sustainability efforts. 

Through interdisciplinary collaboration and commitment from campus and community organizations, FAMU intends to continue its movement toward a healthier, more resourceful community and institution.

Citizens for a Sustainable Future (CSF) is an organization of scholars and community activists strategizing to ensure thriving, sustainable communities for African Americans. 

“We want to get full community buy-in and community involvement into the environmental justice efforts and sustainability efforts throughout Tallahassee,” Bruce Strouble, a CSF representative, said. 

The organization hosts what are known as Community Healing Days that focus on promoting public health, community sustainability, and getting people to be aware of the environmental health issues that African Americans face every day. 

“Our goal is to get people to understand that not only are you improving your quality of life, but the generation’s quality of life that comes after you,” Strouble said.

CSF also has a zero missions campaign to push the Environmental Protection Agency  to tighten federal emissions regulations.

FAMU alumna Anamarie Shreeves has become a leader for sustainability in her Atlanta community. A 2009 graduate of the FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, Shreeves was featured on CNN for living a zero-waste lifestyle. 

“My ultimate goal is to build self-reliant communities. It's the idea that you can be self sufficient, that's in your access to food, water energy, which is all very possible through the earth,” Shreeves said. 

Shreeves was invited to FAMU during Earth Week 2015 to present some of her do-it-yourself demonstrations and showed students how to make their own toothpaste. She has also managed to compile her trash for the year into a small mason jar that consisted of unrecyclable bottle wrappings and wristbands. 

“By being zero waste and a conscious consumer you're telling corporations to do better, they'll change their minds and they'll change their structure,” Shreeves said. 

Angelique Taylor, a fourth-year environmental science student from Los Angeles, focuses on finding efficient ways of creating energy, water and food.

“In order to have those things, we need to start being sustainable now and doing those practices now,” Taylor said. 

With this level of commitment from current, former and future students, FAMU hopes to have the resources necessary to not only uplift itself, but also to become a role model for other institutions and organizations.