Green is in. Several Historically Black Colleges and Universities are working with the environmental education organization Green For All’s “College Ambassadors” program to improve the environment at their schools and to foster a green economy.
“Our Ambassadors see the toll that humans are having on the environment and view climate change as a critical issue for our world. They also recognize that as current and future leaders of the Black community, they have a responsibility to educate themselves and their fellow students about these issues,” says Green For All’s Director Of Education & Outreach, Julian Mocine-McQueen.
The Green For All ambassadors not only work to make their schools more green but also try to influence their communities to think green. “Our students come from communities that are directly affected by pollution, have high asthma rates and don’t always have access to things like healthy affordable produce,” says Mocine-McQueen. “While our students see that the environment has a direct effect on black communities in these ways and more, they also know that there is potential for new opportunities through the green economy.”
There are several ways the students try to impact their communities. “Our college ambassadors highlight environmental issues within their communities while building relationships with other students,” explains Mocine-McQueen. “For instance, some partner with fraternities and sororities to design workshops that speak to the environmental problems as well as provide ways that students can be a part of the solution – all while listening to music and eating good food.”
According to Mocine-McQueen the HBCU student have been eager to get involved. “We work with students and faculty for our college ambassador program and there is a great deal of excitement to join this movement,” he points out. “It is an ongoing challenge to educate and engage the broader student population, but that is a challenge the students take on with enthusiasm and creativity. The ambassadors are making great strides in widening the number of students who take action on these issues.”
More than 100 HBCU students have joined forces with Green For All to promote green schools.
Among the HBCUs involved were :
-Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) students, who worked to raise awareness and support for a student funded green fee. The students want to create a permanent pot of money that will allow students to spearhead sustainability projects on campus.
-Morehouse College who students secured a plot of land for a 1/4+ garden to grow vegetables for Morehouse and the surrounding community. They are also building a large mosaic project using recycled materials from the Morehouse campus.
-Spelman students are working to identify and recruit local healthy food vendors and produce suppliers to join an existing student market on campus.
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