UMES seeks to “Retool Our School”
PRINCESS ANNE, MD-(February 27, 2013) It’s an internet and social media blitz as the campus community strives to win a piece of a $225,000 “pie” in The Home Depot’s 2013 “Retool Your School” campus improvement grant program.
“It’s a good opportunity to get funds to enhance our facilities, making UMES a nicer place for students to come to study and learn and for employees to work,” said Leon Bivens, director of the university’s physical plant and initiator of the school’s involvement in the project.
UMES, he said, is in a pool of 75 HBCUs chosen as finalists in the challenge. The schools are competing for a $50,000 grand prize, with 12 runner-up prizes, awarded on a combination of scores of the submitted campus improvement project proposals and online voting. A $25,000 Campus Pride grant is also up for grabs to the campus that receives the most votes and social media activity.
Bivens urges supporters to visit www.retoolyourschool.com now through April 15 to cast their vote for their favorite school, UMES, or to use Twitter or Instagram at #umesRYS2013. Voters can also go to the UMES homepage and click on The Home Depot logo. Voting began Feb. 18.
“To win, we need everyone’s help to cast their vote and show their support for UMES,” Bivens said. Voting is not limited to faculty, staff and students and alumni, he added. Anyone in the continental U.S. can vote. Bivens points out that one of the most important things is that individuals can vote once a day, every day and can tweet and use Instagram on an unlimited basis.
Winners will be announced May 3. After the online voting deadline, a panel of judges will evaluate each school’s proposal. How the proposals stack up are based on their relevance to the challenge’s requirements and how each project will make a lasting, positive impact on their campus; those with eco-friendly plans will be given special attention.
UMES’ project is replacing fluorescent lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting to reduce the school’s carbon footprint, Bivens said. Painting is also proposed for doors, trim, walls, classrooms and residential areas to improve general aesthetics.
The week of Feb. 18, the university surged into the Top 10, once it started to publicize its participation. Since then, UMES has risen as high as second.
“Cast your vote,” he said, “it matters. We can win this.”
Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580.