Who is leading the Green Movement at HBCUs?

Authors: Rosa González, Education Director  I can confidently say the green movement is fully underway at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)! This is a big deal because most HBCUs are located in communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and poverty. And in the past, HBCU students have been under-informed about these issues and have not been significantly engaged around developing solutions to economic and environmental crises. Today, HBCU students from all around the country are building a student-led movement to ensure their communities do not remain on the margins of the sustainability movement. On August 19th through August 21st, Green For All brought 30 student leaders from 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities together in Washington, D.C. for the 2nd Green For All College Ambassadortraining. The program kicked off with a keynote address by award-winning journalist, social activist and political commentator, Jeff Johnson, who engaged the Ambassadors in a strategic thinking around campus organizing. The rest of the program included a dynamic combination of team building activities, environmental literacy training (using the Roots of Success curriculum), student organizing workshops, and opportunities for deep dialogue and planning. Ambassadors shared songs, poetry, and testimonies at a celebratory dinner, proving this multi-talented cohort is unstoppable! The potential of HBCU students may be overlooked by many and understood by few in the green movement, but these students are determined to shape the local, state and national discourse on the needs and benefits of an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Green For All launched the College Ambassador program in September of 2010 to invest in student organizers to champion the green-economy within communities most impacted by climate change and poverty. The program follows the academic calendar and runs on fifteen historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Ambassadorship consists of expert trainings, a mentorship program in partnership with Green For All Academy Fellows, student-led green education workshops, and a semester long campus sustainability initiatives created and carried out by the Ambassadors with support from students, faculty and Green For All. Through the Green For All Ambassador program, we hope to provide the tools and support that will allow students to step up to new levels of leadership. Through their leadership we are expanding the base of students calling for sustainable economic development, and creating real change throughout the HBCU system. The students who have successfully finished serving their Ambassadorships can be found on the College Ambassador Alumni page.

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