Part of educational programs organized by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Ford Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Community Challenge Competition is an extension of the Ford College Community Challenge with a theme of “Building Sustainable Communities”, encouraging HBCU students to design projects that address pressing local community needs.
This year, the project was conducted in partnership with the Tom Joyner and Rickey Smiley morning shows, with students being tasked with creatively addressing a tangible and unmet community need that impacted at least one of the following four areas:
- Alternative energy
- Systematic approach to meeting community needs
Recently, four finalist proposals for building a sustainable community were selected by a panel of judges, and included Fayetteville State University, Howard University, Huston-Tillotson University and Tuskegee University. And last week, the four teams came to Ford World Headquarters to present their projects to a panel of judges.
After the presentations were delivered and the judges completed their deliberations, one team came away victorious: Huston-Tillotson University, located in Austin, Texas, was selected as the winner of the Ford HBCU Community Challenge Competition. The team’s project, conducted in partnership with the Blackshear Elementary School, aims to promote living practices that encourage sustainability by transforming a 33-square-foot dumpster into a fully-functioning home, complete with running water, toilet, shower, bed, and solar-generated electricity.
As part of the challenge, the entire team from Huston-Tillotson University will be awarded scholarships, while community grants will be awarded to nonprofits to support implementation of the winning project. In addition to the individual scholarships and community grants awarded to the winning team, each of the finalist teams also received funds “to support the implementation of its ideas within its community”, as well as an Apple iPad for each student team member.
“All of these students and their proposals were phenomenal,” said Pamela Alexander, director, community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “The process of narrowing the submissions down to just four was tough, so you can imagine how difficult it was to pick the winner.”
“We look forward to seeing these projects blossom and impact communities,” Alexander added.