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AAMU "Retool" Faces Added Hurdle

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"Retool" Effort Needs Turbo Boost




Bulldogs Must Pull Out All Stops in Final Week of “Retool”


We’re number one!  Well, sorta.


The truth is, there’s still have a long way to go.  According to the official online voting rules for the “Retool Your School” effort, “Each school’s total votes will be tallied and divided by the total student population for their respective school to determine that school’s total online voting score.”


So, although A&M has the highest number of votes thus far, the total number of votes alone is not enough.  It’s also about the proportion of that vote to student enrollment.   In other words, when A&M attracts 20,000 votes, it doesn’t quite have the same impact as when a smaller Knoxville College or Fisk also claim 20,000. 


Although still among the top, in the final week, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends will be working harder to push the vote counter off the charts. Alabama A&M University (#aamuTHDRYS) is opening its 2014 Home Depot RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL vote and social media campaign aimed at winning funds to channel toward needed campus improvements to its fine arts facility (Morrison Building), as well as ensuring ADA compliance. 


The Home Depot endeavor is designed to reinvigorate historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), so AAMU and other select schools are competing for more than $200K in grants for on-campus improvements and are now asking their communities and the public to help them win.


Until April 14, 2014, supporters can visit to vote for their favorite school and retoolColumn1.jpgsustainable campus improvement project.  One $50,000 Tier 1 major grant, thirteen Tier 2 $10,000 minor grants and three $25,000 Campus Pride for the school receiving the most online votes and social media activity, as assessed by The Home Depot, will be awarded. The Home Depot® will announce the winners in May 2014.


AAMU and its supporters are no strangers to the “Retool Your School” effort.  The University was awarded $25,000 to install irrigation and landscape common areas.  To apply for the Retool Your School grants, HBCUs were required to submit Letters of Intent that include brief descriptions of their potential projects via the “Retool Your School” website. Applicants that provided their Phase 1 proposals by the deadline were able to continue and submit full proposals for Tier I, Tier II and Campus Pride campus improvement grants.


During the online voting period, which is currently underway, consumers are able to view descriptions of project proposals and can cast one vote per day for their favorite HBCU. Following the online vote, a panel of distinguished judges will also evaluate each school’s proposal.


Tier I and Tier II projects will be judged based on the number of votes posted to the website, as well as the judges’ evaluation of the relevance to the proposal requirements as listed on the website and application. Entrants must highlight how each project will make a lasting, positive impact on their campus. Special attention will be given to schools that pitch eco-friendly plans. The winning schools will be determined based on a combination of online votes and the judges’ evaluations. The awarding of the Campus Pride grant will be based on the number of votes and social media activity the winning school receives.

AAMU will not only face stiff competition from finalist schools in Alabama, but also from HBCU institutions in Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.


Therefore, AAMU supporters should log on and vote at  to ensure that the Bulldogs bring home the grand prize. 


Some of the previous improvement projects entered by the HBCU finalists include projects that will affect the campus and community as a whole, such as installing eco-friendly bathrooms, adding wheelchair ramps and automatic access doors, creating sustainable landscaping projects, replacing windows with Energy Star rated fixtures, installing solar energy systems and motion sensors to reduce electric consumption in classrooms, starting community gardens and campus greenhouses to encourage healthy eating, and creating nature trails accessible to the surrounding community as a fit living initiative.  Each of the proposed improvement projects will enhance campus life for current students and generations to come.   


For more information and updates on The Home Depot “Retool Your School” grant program or to vote online visit .

Online voting began February 17, 2014, and will end on April 14, 2014, at 11:59 pm EST.


Alabama A&M University is a fully accredited, nearly 140-year-old land-grant institution.  Each year, the doctorate-granting entity serves as the host site for numerous professional associations and organizations.  With more than 5,000 students, AAMU is a state, regional, national and international resource impacting thousands globally.


The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with more than 2,000 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. The Company employs more than 300,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index. 




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