Building Green Awareness at Spelman College

Authors: Samantha Akwei | Green For All College Ambassador

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Spelman students picking up trashAs a Green For All College Ambassador at Spelman College, it is such a rewarding experience to educate students about how the simple color "GREEN" can and will change their lives. It is even more rewarding to know that my institution, along with 22 other institutions, received green planning grants totaling $240,000 dollars from the United Negro College Fund to assist with institutional sustainability. Talk about support!

But the story doesn't end there. No, it's just begun! The real task for my fellow ambassadors and me is to inspire and educate African-American students on how they can become local environmentalists, not only for their campuses, but also for themselves.

Having held three workshops entitled "Bridging the Economic and Climate Gap Part I & II" and "Green Is The Old Black, Green Is the New Black," my fellow ambassadors and I have found that what students lack the most is knowledge about the "green movement." In our workshops, we educate students on exactly what it means to "go green," how simple it is to do so, and how the movement directly affects their lives and their communities.

Because Spelman College is located in the West End community of Atlanta, where poverty is seen at face value, we see an even greater need to advocate for an inclusive green economy. It will produce more jobs, lower utility bills, and provide cleaner air. Our efforts will create greater awareness of how we can collectively save our environment.

We also know that talk without action is cheap. Next semester, I am planning a campaign that involves students coming to monthly "GREEN Gatherings" designed to teach, train and lead them to become more engaged in the green movement.

I plan on providing students with opportunities to go on trips to our local Farmers' Markets and community gardens. I would also like to raise money so that our students will have a strong, outstanding presence at the third biannual Powershift Conference in Washington, D.C. I also plan to invite the phenomenal environmental activist Majora Carter to visit Spelman and educate my sisters on how they too can leave their "GREENprint" on the world.

Samantha Akwei is a Green For All College Ambassador and a Senior at Spelman College majoring in English who transferred from Medgar Evers College in Harlem, New York. Samantha is the fourth of seven children with parents from Ghana.

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