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.
GSU opted to pursue the top money prize, the Tier I grant, 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 that though the field needs a major overhaul to bring it up to university desires, 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,” Turner 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, or tiers. Grambling State is going after $10,000 for a Tier II grant to repair of campus potholes and a $25,000 “Campus Pride” award for beautification of Charles P. Adams Park, near the facilities complex not far from the stadium and the Robinson dormitory. Three HBCUs will win Campus Pride grants and 13 will win 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 retoolyourschool.com/vote-now/. Supporters can use smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers or other mobile or stationary device, using a unique hashtag — #GramblingTHDRYS – with each post or tweet gives GSU more credit, or points, toward the goals. Supporters are asked to use #GramblingTHDRYS in post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in particular.
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. On a recent afternoon, GSU was sitting at #22. 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.”