Former USDA Rural Development Director Shirley Sherrod to Keynote FAMU's Environmental Summit

By: FAMU Press Release
By: FAMU Press Release

Tallahassee, FL - The month typically set aside to celebrate the history of African Americans takes on a unique new focus this year when Florida A&M University (FAMU) brings the environmental movement face-to-face with its traditional agricultural roots.

Themed “Embracing Our Traditions of Partnership,” this two-day summit, scheduled for Feb. 18 and 19, will feature keynote speaker Shirley Sherrod, former USDA Rural Development director who was forced to resign from her position at the USDA after a blogger posted video excerpts of her comments at an NAACP event in July 2010. Sherrod will speak on Friday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Perry-Paige Auditorium. She will outline the history of farmers and landowners in the region and her personal experience in working with this very important community.

In addition, on Friday, Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will enter into an agreement with FAMU to support campus greening and sustainability.

FAMU will host the event in partnership with the Southeastern Green Network, Inc., a consortium of organizations committed to developing a common regional agenda for environmental issues, and an impressive slate of sponsors.

The purpose of the summit is to bring key partners and stakeholders together at the planning table in an effort to collectively frame an agenda that addresses sustainable agriculture for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and 1890-Land Grant institutions. Major voices in this partnership include black organic farmers, green activists, ag-related businesses, green student groups, government agencies, agriculture scholars, grass-roots community groups and decision-makers for HBCUs and Aggies, schools designated as land-grant institutions.

The HBCU/1890 Land Grant traditions of partnerships have always included students and this summit will be no different. From the citywide film festivals and art exhibits to the hip-hop rally and the meeting of future green leaders, the “Embracing Our Traditions of Partnership” Summit promises to be a synergy of youth energy.

Several FAMU student green activist groups, including the FAMU Green Coalition, Environmental Sciences Student Organization (ESSO), the Environment and Sustainability Council, FAMU Student Government Association and the student-run, campus-based PRodigy Public Relations Firm, have all signed on to provide in-kind volunteer support and input for this important event.

“It’s time to move beyond claiming our established HBCU legacy by not only embracing our traditions of partnership but maximizing the benefits of collaboration,” said Ariana Marshall, graduate student and a member of FAMU’s Environment and Sustainability Council. “Only when this is done can we ensure the sustainability of our HBCUs, 1890-Land Grant Institutions and their local communities.”

Other scheduled events include the following:

Friday, February 18
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pre-Summit Sustainable Officer and Organic Certification Workshops
B.L. Perry Classrooms

Professionals desiring to work in green industries and farmers seeking to transition to organic sustainable agriculture will receive eight-hour training

Friday, February 18
3:30 p.m.
Historic Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding
Lee Hall Auditorium

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will officially enter into a partnership with Florida A&M University with the signing of a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding)

Friday, February 18
3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Climate Change Hip-Hop Rally featuring the Rev. Lennox Yearwood
Lee Hall Auditorium

Targeted for college freshmen, the Rev. Yearwood and the Hip-Hop Caucus explore environmental issues and how to get involved.

Saturday, February 19
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
B. L. Perry, Auditorium B

Organizing At 1890 Land Grants around Sustainability, Climate Change
and Environmental Justice – Tool Kit Session
Student green activists from HBCUs and 1890s will gather for this power meeting that will outline best practices for building strong student-focused, campus-based green coalitions and tools for solving common issues when organizing on a college campus

Registration is required to attend the summit. Interested individuals can register online at or onsite on Friday, Feb. 18, beginning at 7 a.m. in the B.L. Perry Building, Perry Paige Auditorium. For more information, call (850) 590-1707.

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