Gwen Myers, Chair of AKA’s Building and Properties Committee, will represent AKA's International President Attorney Carolyn House Stewart and will participate in the press conference. Attorney Stewart is an alumnus of the University of South Florida where she was initiated as an undergraduate in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. University of South Florida President Dr. Judy Genshaft will also attend the dedication ceremony. Representatives from the Arbor Day Foundation, the sponsoring agency, will also be in attendance.
Nicole Travis, Graduate Advisor to Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Zeta Upsilon undergraduate chapter at USF, will speak at the press conference. Travis will also lead the tree-planting activities. AKA undergraduates from at USF will participate in the festivities by planting approximately 10 to 20 trees on campus.
This initiative supports an alliance between Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the United States Environmental Protection Agency in which both entities vowed to protect communities from environmental health risks through outreach efforts that promote environmental education and sustainability. As part of the partnership, the sorority is implementing several educational programs to celebrate the environment and eco-friendly initiatives. The agreement with the Arbor Day Foundation represents one of the initiatives.
USF will use this occasion to celebrate its designation as a national Tree Campus USA. Volunteers will plant the first 250 of 1,000 donated Live Oak trees. In addition, 50 Bald Cypress trees donated by The Arbor Day Foundation will be planted around campus to create a living green legacy.
Alpha Kappa Alpha is partnering with Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity as part of this mission. The alliance between Alpha Kappa Alpha and Alpha Phi Alpha represents the spirit and intent of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by AKA and A Phi A with the Arbor Day Foundation. As part of the agreement, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Alpha Phi Alpha will plant trees and raise awareness about environmental sustainability at seven Historically Black College campuses and the University of South Florida at Tampa, the only non-HBCU involved in the program.
To date, over 200 trees have been planted at Morehouse College, Spelman College, Hampton University and Kentucky State University. Other HBCUs where the program will be launched include Wilberforce University, Texas Southern University. All totaled, the initiative will add over 400 trees to the campuses.
As part of the service-learning component of the agreement, Sorority and Fraternity leaders will help collegiate members become environmental leaders and ultimately achieve Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation. Earning Tree Campus USA recognition requires that schools establish a Campus Tree Advisory Committee, demonstrate evidence of a campus Tree-Care Plan, maintain dedicated annual expenditures on the Campus Tree-Care plan; celebrate Arbor Day and host a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body in sustainable efforts. Campuses throughout the country are currently applying and beginning to undergo review for the Tree Campus USA program, with the number of participating colleges and universities expected to surpass last year's total of 116. Tree Campus USA is sponsored by Toyota.
In making the announcement, AKA’s International President Carolyn House Stewart declared, “Embracing environmental sustainability parallels Alpha Kappa Alpha’s program theme, Global Leadership through Timeless Service. Consistent with this theme, members across the county are recognizing the importance of becoming good stewards and advocates of our environment. I am particularly proud that this program will be carried out at my alma mater, the University of South Florida.”
About Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated was founded in 1908 in Washington, DC. It is the oldest, Greek-lettered organization established by African-American, college-trained women. With a membership of approximately 260,000 college-educated women on 966 chapters worldwide, its purpose is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic standards, and to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women. The history includes a legacy of service and focuses on health, education, family, leadership, economics, humanities, business and the global community. The membership expands across all professions and disciplines and is inspired by a commitment to service. The organization's international president is Carolyn House Stewart of Tampa, Florida. The administration theme is “Global Leadership Through Timeless Service.” For more information on AKA log on to www.aka1908.com
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of more than one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.
About Toyota Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/
About Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Founded on December 4, 1906, at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., has continued to supply voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world. The fraternity has long stood at the forefront of the African-American community’s fight for civil rights through Alpha men such as Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, Andrew Young, Edward Brooke and Cornel West. The fraternity, through its more than 600 college and alumni chapters and general-organization members, serves communities in the United States, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.