Tuskegee National Alumni Association (TNAA) leaders are calling on the university’s faithful alumni, students, staff, faculty, and friends to help it return to the winner’s circle — and to claim the $75,000 cash prize — in this year’s annual “Retool Your School” campus-improvement grant program. The social media-driven grant competition, sponsored by Home Depot, Inc., relies on a combination of online voting and social media posting to determine its winners.
The 70 HBCUs eligible to compete in this year’s competition will be placed into one of three clusters based on their enrollment. As in past years, Tuskegee will compete in Cluster 2 against other schools whose enrollment ranges from 1,201 to 3,999 students.
Voting begins on Monday, Feb. 15 and extends through Monday, March 15. Grants are awarded based on a total popular vote that combines unlimited daily online voting at www.retoolyourschool.com/vote and social media “voting” that counts Twitter and Instagram posts that include the hashtag #Tuskegee_RYS21.
For posts to either social network to count, the user’s account must be public; however, there is no limit to the number of times the hashtag can be used in a day. Only one use of the hashtag per post will count toward overall vote totals.
“At Tuskegee, we pride ourselves as winners,” said Lillie Lanier, national president of the Tuskegee National Alumni Association. “In 2020, we won one of the three $50,000 grants in cluster #2. The money was used to create additional Wi-Fi, supported recreational and leisure seating throughout campus for students to enjoy. Burt Rowe, administrator of the Tuskegee “Retool Your School” program, said “this was possible because the students, alumni, staff, faculty and friends of the university delivered a remarkable 587,380 total votes during the 2020 contest. We need our alumni, campus family, friends and fans to start posting on February 15 — and to keep posting — with our hashtag until we have the $75,000 check in our hands.” See pictures of past winning projects below.
To bolster Tuskegee’s reach and success, TNAA volunteers have formed voting alliances with Southern University A&M College (Custer 1) and Tougaloo College (Cluster 3). Including their hashtags — #SouthernU_RYS21 and #Tougaloo_RYS21 — along with #Tuskegee_RYS21 will increase total social media vote counts without jeopardizing Tuskegee’s standing in Cluster 2.
Rowe highlighted TNAA’s ongoing partnership with the university’s Student Government Association, Pre-Alumni Council, Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, Office of Facilities and Capital Projects, and Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing as part of past successes.
Established in 2010, The Home Depot’s “Retool Your School” program strives to give back to the nation’s HBCUs that have generously provided their communities with a strong foundation, a renewed purpose, and a distinctive character. For more information about the program, including contest rules and guidelines for social media/online voting, visit www.retoolyourschool.com.
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