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gardenvote_copy “Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It's important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It's the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.”

Dorothy Height - African-American Teacher, Social Activist, President Emerita National Council of Negro Women

In an effort to give back to the Gentilly neighborhood in which it sits, Dillard University (DU) is hoping to create a science and biology program for local elementary students, re-establish the DU greenhouse, and host a regular farmer's market. Through the Home Depot's "Retool Your School" program, Dillard University hopes to secure funds to accomplish these goals; however, grants are awarded to those HBCUs with the most votes and DU needs its staff, faculty, students and friends to participate with online votes. If Dillard wins, the university will use the funds to establish an agricultural partnership with its neighbors at Langston Hughes Academy. Dillard biology majors will mentor Langston Hughes students and teach them how to grow fruits and vegetables in the university’s greenhouse. Students would then give these crops to families at Langston Hughes, and sell them at a new farmers’ market for the whole neighborhood.

"We hope to help combat food insecurity in New Orleans, a community where many residents face inadequate access to fresh produce and healthy food," says Nick Harris, of Dillard University's Community Development Corporation (CDC).

This year, "Retool Your School" has expanded the program. It is introducing a new $25,000 Campus Pride Grant for the school that shows the most initiative in promoting their proposals and garnering votes. It is also providing an additional $10,000 Tier II Grant. In all, the program has increased the total grant funds available to $185,000. Last year, "Retool Your School" awarded grants totaling $150,000 to HBCUs. A $50,000 Tier I Grant went to Bethune-Cookman University to help upgrade their Student Center with wheelchair ramps and barrier-free automatic access doors in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ten additional schools received $10,000 each for a variety of projects, from landscaping to lighting to irrigation

Online voting begins on Feb. 14, 2012. Voters are welcome to post their vote once per day.

For more information on "Retool Your School", contact Nick Harris at (504) 816-4704 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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