Grambling State seeking alumni, faculty, staff, students and northern Louisiana community support community to win $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 awards for campus projects
By TIERRA SMITH
Grambling State University Media Bureau
GRAMBLING, La. — Grambling State University students, faculty, alumni and supporters are being asked to vote daily to help the university win a national online college competition. If successful, GSU will win $50,000 to upgrade the football field at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.
The Home Depot Retool Your School contest provides grants to historically black colleges and universities for specific campus and facility improvements. According to the company, the RYS Campus Improvement Grant Program will award more than $250,000 to 17 HBCUs.
For the top prize money, the Tier I grant, GSU opted to pursue for the resodding and professional upgrading of the football field. The field, used primarily by the G-Men football team, is regularly used by the Orchesis Dance Company, the GSU cheer squad and the World Famed Tiger Marching Band – and it is one of several major focal points for campus visitors and photographs. According to Tremell Turner, the university’s interim director of facilities, a lot of work goes into preparing the football field for weekend games because the field needs a different type of grass and much better grading and sodding.
Turner said the field needs a major overhaul to bring it up to conference expectations and standards, it is an unfunded project that will not get done without a win in this contest. “We just don’t have the money,” he said. “There’s far too much dirt, not enough grass, the wrong kind of grass and the drainage isn’t good. We can fix all of that, but it cost money, money we don’t have.”
GSU is one of 64 HBCUs competing, and there are multiple levels to win. Grambling State planned to use $10,000 for a Tier II grant to repair of campus potholes and a $25,000 “Campus Pride” award for the beautification of Charles P. Adams Park, near the faculties complex not far from the stadium and the Richmond Hall.
“There is a lot of interest in the park but it’s unusable,” said Turner. “We want to make it another gathering space for students. In the ‘60s and ‘70s it was a major hang out spot for students.”
The beautification would include landscaping with tress and scrubs, an upgraded drainage system, picnic tables and BBQ pits.
Each HBCU had to make a proposal for the RYS Improvement Grant, and had to be approved before the competition. Three HBCUs will win Campus Pride grants and 13 will win Tier Tier II grants.
None of this is possible without strong, daily participation and support for GSU. “Our Grambling State family has shown that we can do what it takes to win contests like this one, and it’s time for us to rally and take care of business again,” said Frank G. Pogue, university president. “We did it with vitaminwater. We did it with Allstate-Tom Joyner Foundation. We can do this. We WILL do this.”
In order to win one of these opportunities, GSU needs to vote daily, one time per device by going to http://www.retoolyourschool.com/vote-now/. Supporters can use smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers or other mobile. Supporters are asked to use #GramblingTHDRYS in post and tweets on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to give GSU more credit, or points.
One of last year’s winners was Oakwood University, a four-year institution with fewer than 2,000 students. Clearly size does not make a difference; it is a matter of ongoing, daily support. As of Thursday afternoon, GSU was sitting at #25. Contest voting ends April 14.
“Please vote for good ole GSU each day,” said Pogue. “All of us don’t use all of these sites but this is a good chance to improve our technology skills as we support a good cause. GSU needs your help. Today. Every day.”
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