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Community Urged to Vote for UVI in 'Retool Your School' Program

The University of the Virgin Islands has been announced as a finalist in The Home Depot's 2011 "Retool Your School" campus improvement grant program, designed to provide resources to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). UVI is competing against 56 other HBCUs for $150,000 in grants for on-campus improvements. UVI is asking the Virgin Islands community to visit each day until April 22, to vote for UVI's sustainable campus improvement project. One $50,000 major grant and ten $10,000 minor grants will be awarded. The Home Depot® will announce the winners on May 16.

To apply for the "Retool Your School" grants, UVI submitted an application and school improvement proposal. During the online voting period, currently underway, the public will be able to view descriptions of major and minor projects 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. Projects will be judged based on votes posted to the website, as well as 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 and special attention will be given to schools that pitch eco-friendly tasks. The winning schools will be determined based on a combination of online votes and the judges' evaluations.

"We are encouraging everyone to log on daily to and vote for UVI," said UVI's Director of Major Gifts Mitchell Neaves. "UVI is one of the smaller HBCU's in terms of our student population, but we are confident that with the support of students, alumni, staff and the wider Virgin Islands community, we can receive top votes," Neaves said. UVI's proposal included a plan to upgrade the St. Thomas campus Dining Pavilion to allow it to serve as a multipurpose student social area and to renovate classrooms using mold resistant ceiling tiles, wall panels and carpeting. "We serve a proportionally high volume of students and faculty each day in the Dining Pavilion and a $50,000 capital investment would allow us to enhance the dining and social experience of the entire facility," Neaves said.

Neaves said UVI will submit an application for the 2012 Retool Your School program that will support projects on the St. Croix campus. By then, Neaves said, The Home Depot store on St. Croix will be operational, allowing the UVI St. Croix campus sustainable projects to be submitted.
UVI faces stiff competition from finalist schools across the nation. UVI alumni, friends and family are urged to visit the website every day to vote. Additionally, Virgin Islanders and Caribbean people everywhere are encouraged to log on and vote daily.

For more information call Mitchell Neaves at 340-693-1040.