Howard Bison Beat April 2021

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A Monthly Newsletter from the Office of the President

BISON BEAT April 2021


Gilbert Campbell (B.B.A. ’01), co-founder and CEO of Volt Energy


revolution. And some change we must work to forestall or even revert.

ven while Howard’s in-person E footprint was dramatically reduced during the coronavirus pandemic, our campus was still under renovation. We have been busy installing solar panels, retrofitting our buildings to become more energy efficient, replacing older and less efficient lighting systems and more. In order to make our campus more sustainable and environmentally friendly for the long-term, we had to act now – even if there weren’t people around to immediately benefit from the enhancements. We often talk about the changes we wish to see in the world – greater equity, diversity and justice. But amidst all of these transformations that we are implementing, we cannot neglect that which we must work to keep the same. In some cases, change can come from preservation rather than — or in addition to —


on the people in these communities. Where sustainability is being used as a tool for social justice, you can bet that there are Howard students and alumni leading the cause.

Climate change is threatening and has already begun to reshape our world in destructive and “We must also champion devastating ways. sustainability in order to preserve Temperatures are rising and our the natural resources that can natural habitats provide relief and support to Africanare struggling American men and women in need.” to adapt. This is both a slowbuilding crisis in the making as well as You’ll read about some of these leaders inside this issue of Bison the origin of numerous sudden and Beat. unpredictable catastrophes. And, as with so many crises in our country and around the world, Black and brown people are likely to bear the brunt of the pain. We have seen it during the recent power outages in Texas. We have witnessed it throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Too often, communities of color are disproportionately affected by the damage and are left behind during the recovery. Yes, we must change the structural injustices embedded into our society that cause this pattern to repeat again and again. Howard has added sustainability to our long list of social justice initiatives. We are leading sustainable efforts in underserved areas to mitigate the effects of climate change

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As occupants of today’s world, it is our duty to plant the seeds that will grow into trees that we will never see ourselves. But before a tree bears fruit, its roots can reach down into the earth and enrich the soil upon which it will grow. On our campus and beyond, Howard is planting the seeds and tilling the soil. And from this toil, we will preserve what is good about the world we have and transform that which is in desperate need of changing.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

W AY N E A . I . F R E D E R I C K , M . D . , M B A

Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery PRESIDENT




Campus Happenings


Awards & Recognition


Senior Mya Wells on Howard’s Environmental Studies program


Alumnus Gilbert Campbell on leading Volt Energy and environmental justice


Professor Helen Bond on enabling sustainability with the United Nations


Our Campus, Our Environment Howard is making strides in being a sustainable campus


A Sustainable Program Research on students’ attitudes and knowledge about the environment will shape Howard’s and other HBCUs’ environmental studies curricula


In Memoriam Vernon Jordan Ted Folarin Roberts


Howard Forward

Cover Photo A P R ICredit: L 2 0 2Rin-rin 1 BISO YuN B E A T M O N T H L Y N E W S L E T T E R


CAMPUS HAPPENINGS Bill Gates Discusses Climate Change with Howard, Other D.C. Universities

Howard Establishes the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership

Howard University joined Bill Gates and other local universities to discuss topics surrounding his new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need,” during a recent online event. The conversation surrounded what individuals, advocates and governments can and must do to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation has announced a $20 million endowment to launch the MarriottSorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at Howard University. The effort is in honor of Marriott International’s president and CEO, Arne Sorensen, who recently passed away from pancreatic cancer.

The discussion was moderated by CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller (B.A. ’89) and included audiences from Howard University, American University, Georgetown University and George Washington University. Gates discussed the need for governments, corporations and individuals to prioritize going green. He named several industries that make up most of the world’s carbon emissions, including transportation, electricity, manufacturing, agriculture, and heating and cooling.

The center, which will be housed in the School of Business, will feature a best-in-class program that expands educational and professional opportunities for Howard students and aims to develop future executives in the hospitality industry. The goal will be to expose students to the hospitality industry through a management lens. In addition, the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund is being created to support the programmatic and career development elements of the center. Marriott has pledged the first donation of $1 million and is inviting other companies, organizations and individuals – from all industries – to support this effort.

Senior biology major Tyler Colon asked Gates about how to offset the economic costs of going green, also known as the “green premium,” which hinder everyday individuals from purchasing green technologies. “We’ve done some of that by having the tax credit for electric cars, but if you look at those, it’s not across the entire economic spectrum,” said Gates. “Maybe there needs to be a different credit amount for people across the economic spectrum. At the end of the day, affordability is the metric we’ve got to win on.”

President Frederick calls this partnership a game-changer. “What we are creating is a direct connection between an industry that is on the edge of change and a top-caliber talent pool for them to recruit from,” he said. To learn more about the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership and the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund, or to make a donation, please visit sorensonfund.


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Alternative Spring Break 2021 More than 800 students elected to forego what some might consider a “traditional” spring break to serve with Howard University Alternative Spring Break (HUASB). Coordinated by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel, the first-ever virtual HUASB program addressed social injustices across the globe during Spring Break, March 8-10, 2021. Students from all backgrounds, with varying majors and missions, united to complete more than 100,000 service hours. HUASB site initiatives covered critical issues, including education, youth and community empowerment, poverty, homelessness, literacy, environmental and social injustice, and cultural exploitation. Participants served and engaged with organizations in more than 16 communities, with first-ever sites including:

As a tradition, service continued in New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Jamaica

Sacramento, California

Bronx County, New York

HU and Columbia University Press Partner to Diversify Academic Publishing Howard and Columbia University have collaborated in producing a scholarly book series in the field of Black studies. The effort is designed to publish more robustly in Black studies and support a cohort of editorial fellows interested in the publishing industry. The series, called “Black Lives in the Diaspora: Past/ Present/ Future,” to be published by Columbia University Press, is a first of its kind in academic publishing. An editorial board of eight faculty – four from each university – will oversee the new series. Acquisitions for two to three publications per year in the new series will begin immediately. Funding is currently being sought to expand the program to publish up to 20 titles per year and augment the staff of Columbia University Press with a new full-time Black studies editor and graduate student fellows. The partnership replaces Howard’s own press that was discontinued a decade ago.

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President Frederick Joins U.N. Women’s Global HeForShe Initiative In an effort to create a new alliance for gender equality, Howard University has joined the United Nations’ HeForShe Alliance. This movement, launched by U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, aims to engage men and boys as allies to support the women’s movement and ultimately create an equal world for all. Howard joins HeForShe with a commitment to addressing representation at leadership as well as promoting consciousness on masculinities, with a focus on Black men. The alliance presents a unique opportunity for organizations and institutions around the world to join a network of 12-14 industry leaders, partner with heads of state and create long-lasting change. President Frederick joins leaders from professional services consultancy PwC, diamond company De Beers Group, and British multinational telecommunications company Vodafone.

Applications Open for USDA APHIS Foreign Services Fellowship Program Applications for the inaugural U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Foreign Service Fellowship Program (AFSFP) are being administered by Howard. The USDA program prepares individuals interested in careers in international diplomacy with a focus on the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources. The Agriculture Fellowship awards up to $46,000 annually for a two-year graduate program at Tuskegee University’s College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences. The Veterinary Medicine Fellowship awards up to $66,000 annually for a two-and-a-half-year period at Tuskegee’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Those interested in either the agriculture or veterinary graduate fellowships can find more information about each program at

Business School Receives $10 Million Gift to Create HPS Center for Financial Excellence A new center and scholarship have been created to help prepare business students for careers in private investment and investment banking. Thanks to a $10 million gift from HPS Investment Partners, LLC and The Kapnick Foundation, the School of Business will create the HPS Center for Financial Excellence. The new center will host a finance lab with the latest technology and software; programs and curriculum in private equity, investment banking and investment management; professional development; internships at HPS and recruitment opportunities at other firms. Two scholarship funds will also be available: the HPS Partners Endowed Scholars program for undergraduate business students and The Kapnick Foundation Endowed Scholars program for graduate students in the JD/MBA program.


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154TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHARTER DAY Every year, Howard University holds a Charter Day Convocation ceremony to commemorate the signing of the federal charter on March 2, 1867, which established Howard as a university. Despite the pandemic, this year was no different. Held virtually on March 5, the 154th anniversary ceremony featured President Frederick as the keynote speaker, who acknowledged the challenges and the latest signs of hope related to the pandemic. He proudly noted the ascension of Howard’s own alumna, Kamala Harris, to the vice presidency of the United States. He talked about Howard’s dedication to being a university of inclusivity, regardless of race and gender. “On Charter Day this year, we should pause to remember the great romance between Howard and America,” said President Frederick in his keynote speech. “Certainly, there is a great tension in that love affair, and plenty of contradictions that are embedded into our founding charter. We were given life by a president who was committed to limiting our freedoms and our rise in society. We are a Black institution that is open to any person regardless of the color of their

skin. It is our everlasting duty to embrace that complexity, never to shrink away from it.” The March 5 convocation set the stage for this year’s Charter Day Virtual Celebration. Traditionally a black-tie gala, the virtual celebration was a fundraising event with the proceeds supporting financial aid for Howard students. Cedric the Entertainer served as master of ceremonies. Entertainment included Matt the Violinist and Step Afrika!, the award-winning company founded by Howard’s own C. Brian Williams. Howard also announced the 2021 recipients for the Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement. This special event honors alumni who made valuable contributions in their respective fields. All awardees have undergraduate or graduate degrees from Howard and are nominated by alumni. This year’s honorees included: Virginia State University President Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D.; property law scholar Thomas W. Mitchell, J.D., LLM; and Ward 8 public servant Mary Roach, PharmD. In addition, the LaRue V. Barkwell Capstone Distinguished Service Award was presented to Howard University archivist and historian Clifford L. Muse, Jr., Ph.D.

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AWARDS AND RECOGNITION comprehensive survey, analysis and report on the numbers and role of African-American architects.

Architecture Professor Receives Distinguished Professor Award Howard professor of architecture Bradford Grant received the 2021 Distinguished Professor Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Grant is well-known for his mentorship, educational development, support and leadership, which has led to advancements in inclusion and equity in architecture education, particularly at historically Black colleges and universities. Grant began teaching in 1983 and joined Howard’s architecture program in 2007. He has served as a tireless advocate and activist for both marginalized communities and the architecture academy. Grant has served as past president of the ACSA, Humanities DC as well as the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. He is currently president of the board of the Healthy Building Network and is the co-founder of the Directory of African American Architects – the first


He is the inaugural Instagram artist in residence at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. His work probes the intersection of social justice, climate change, race and architecture, planning and community design, environmental justice, and universal design.

WHUR Wins Crystal Heritage Award Howard University’s radio station 96.3 WHUR has won the esteemed National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Heritage Award for its consistent commitment to community service.

The Heritage Award acknowledges the achievements of radio stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts. Only nine other stations across the country have received such a distinguished honor. WHUR marks its 50th anniversary this year, and the station is embarking on some major projects to continue its tradition in community commitment: providing housing for domestic

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violence victims; addressing crime and violence; tackling racial tensions; feeding the needy; providing school supplies, new coats and holidays gifts for disadvantaged youth; and hosting relevant town hall discussions to address concerns to help advance marginalized communities. Over the past 50 years, WHUR has gone from a stand-alone radio station to growing a network of six additional stations.

TIAA and Howard University Win 2021 Eddy Awards Pensions & Investments, a publication for pension, portfolio and investment management executives, recently named TIAA and Howard University winners of the 2021 Eddy Awards for campaigns that excelled at providing investment and financial education to retirement plan participants. In the conversions and consolidations category, Howard University won first place for its sole record-keeping transition in which nearly $300 million in assets were transferred to TIAA. The category recognizes campaigns devoted to explaining the move to a new recordkeeper and the consolidations of record-keepers by 403(b) plans.

Your research focuses on the health effects of the environment. What is it that intrigued you the most? My original research, titled “The Air We Breathe,” examines airborne particulate matter from traffic and construction around Howard University’s campus and later shifted focus to testing air quality depth from a busy street like Georgia Avenue. Harmful particle pollution can cause asthma attacks and respiratory inflammation. Levels of air pollution are even more concerning during this pandemic because it exacerbates COVID-19. These experiences affirmed the importance and need for conducting transdisciplinary research, connecting the fields of public health and environmental studies.

BI OPH I L I A Mya Wells is a senior biology major with a double minor in environmental studies and chemistry. She has worked in the Burke Laboratory since sophomore year through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. In the Summer of 2019, Mya spent four weeks at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana conducting research on the vulnerability of phytoplankton to marine heatwaves through HU’s Global Education and Awareness Research Undergraduate Program (GEAR-UP) program; and another six weeks traveling through Germany and the United Kingdom building a network

What made you choose environmental studies? I took Dr. Janelle Burke’s Introduction to Environmental Studies course and fell in love. One word that stuck out to me during this course was “Biophilia.” It is a “love of life” – the idea that humans have a tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. I was enamored by the infinite solutions to the world’s environmental problems, yet frustrated by the world’s inability to make substantial progress in implementing these solutions. From that point on, I decided to work toward implementing creative solutions for climate change and preparing BIPoC communities for climate change's imminent effects.

What do you want incoming freshmen or undecided majors to know about this degree? Environmental studies is such a unique field in that it is transdisciplinary and requires people with different skills, interests and backgrounds to work together to solve problems. Careers in environmental health, law, design, engineering, etc. are extremely viable and await Howard students to bring our invaluable lived experiences to the table. BIPoC are a rarity in this field, yet environmental issues have — and will continue to — affect our communities first and foremost.

of scientists and professionals through the Global Sustainability Scholars (GSS) program. During the pandemic, she conducted research virtually on food cooperatives as a possible method of combating food apartheid in

What are your career plans after graduation? I am in pursuit of a career as a lifelong-learner and physician-scientist, advocating for pollution-free communities as a human right, and empowering communities plagued by environmental hazards and disasters.

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P OW E R ING – A ND EMPOWER I NG – COMMUNI TIE S Gilbert Campbell (B.B.A. ’01) is an entrepreneur who co-founded and currently serves as CEO of Volt Energy, a minority-owned renewable energy firm that finances, builds and operates solar projects that reduce energy costs and carbon emissions – including at Howard, a project that was completed in the Fall of 2020. Volt’s mission is to uplift communities through the opportunities and benefits afforded by clean energy.

Q: How did Volt come about? A: I co-founded Volt Energy with Antonio Francis (B.S.’01), a good friend and classmate from my days at Howard University. We had a vision to start a company that would have a positive social impact and create a legacy. Solar naturally was a good fit for both of those reasons.

Q: Volt seems to be more than just about installing solar panels and car-charging stations, but about environmental justice, too. Why is that important, and what are you doing in that area? A: Environmental justice is definitely an area that I’m passionate about because it’s deeply entwined with racial justice. Communities of color have been disproportionately victimized by environmental hazards, discriminatory environmental policy, and are far more likely to live in areas with heavy pollution.

Q: Volt is also focused on diversity and inclusion. Can you tell us more about that? A: I think it’s only fair for the frontline communities that have been impacted the most by climate change to benefit from the new clean energy economy. The clean energy industry has a lot of room for improvement as it pertains to diversity and inclusion, but I’m optimistic because the industry recognizes it and is taking action. I’m actively involved on several boards that are focused on addressing diversity and inclusion issues, including the Solar Energy Industries Association and the American Association of Blacks in Energy. I’m also a founding member of Renewables Forward, a collective of clean energy CEOs committed to diversity and inclusion.

At Volt, we are trying to reverse these injustices by building clean non-polluting solar plants in our communities. I’ve also testified before Congress on this issue.


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Q: How did Volt and Howard’s partnership start? What was it like to work with the students who were involved? A: Our partnership with Howard began with conversations about solar opportunities with Howard’s sustainability director, Chip Chisholm, over seven years ago. Howard has a special place in my heart, and it’s truly a blessing to be doing purposeful work at my Alma Mater. Howard students deeply care about sustainability and environmental justice issues. It’s a high growth industry, and I hope to create a good example for the students to consider careers in my industry.

Q: What’s next for Volt, expansion-wise? A: Volt has expanded its capabilities and is currently in the process of developing utility-scale solar farms for several Fortune 500 corporations. This is a huge growth area for our company, along with developing community solar and energy storage projects that have a community benefit. Our long-term plan is to become a full-scale clean energy company and to expand internationally.

S US TAINAB IL ITY AND R AC E Q: What are some publications and materials you developed to equip teachers? A: I single authored the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) publication, “Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism,” which was the first contribution to the implementation of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, announced in January 2016.

Professor Helen Bond, Ph.D., is currently co-chair of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)-USA, an organ of the United Nations. (President Frederick serves on the Leadership Council of SDSN-USA.) Her work with SDSNUSA ties with Howard’s mission of empowering students toward creating a sustainable and equitable future, with K-12 teachers being a critical component in helping youth envision such a future.

Q: What are you working on right now? A: My research focuses on using education as a tool to prevent violent extremism (PVE-E) and education for sustainable development (ESD). PVE-E equips learners with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to think critically and act responsibly. ESD empowers people to use these skills to work towards a sustainable future. Violent extremism undermines peace and sustainable development.

I also developed an educational board game, Labyrinth, with funding from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna to help educate learners about radicalization. The game incorporates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015. The game and instructional book are featured on UNODC’s website in multiple languages. I was invited to speak at the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention in Tokyo in March 2021 which featured the Labyrinth and the Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism.

Q: What are some projects you are doing co-chair of SDSN? A: Projects include co-authoring “Never More Urgent: A Preliminary Review of How the U.S. is Leaving Black, Hispanic and Indigenous Communities Behind” and “Trash Hack Action Learning for Sustainable Development” that will be field tested in the UNESCO Associated Schools Network [around the world]. We are also working on a set of racial indices that will be launched in April that show the extent of who is being left behind in the U.S. as measured by the SDGs. I am also developing a Working Group on Equity and Justice to explore how the SDGs can be used to understand how structural inequality manifests across various sectors of society.

Q: When people think “sustainability,” they think “environment.” But there is a lot more to creating sustainability beyond just that. Explain how your work relates to this type of sustainability. A: Sustainable development is the foundation of the United Nations’ agenda. These needs are framed within the 17 SDGs and the Leave No One Behind (LNOB) Agenda. My work intersects with all the Sustainable Development Goals, but I specifically focus on SDG 4 Quality Education and SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Sustainable development refers to living in such a way that everyone has an opportunity to thrive, including the planet, and that cannot happen without quality education and a lasting peace.

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OUR CAMPUS, OUR HOWARD IS MA K I N G ST RI D ES I N BEI NG A S U S TAINA BL E C A MPU S While Howard students often leave imprints of their years for future students to follow, one mark Howard does not want them to leave is their carbon footprint. For the past decade, Howard has been ramping up its on-campus sustainability efforts, both large and small. In the beginning, the University had some serious catching up to do. “When we first got serious about sustainability some 10 years ago, I would say that the University was behind universities like American, George Washington and Georgetown who already had established Offices of Sustainability,” says Alfonzye “Chip” Chisholm, AIA, LEED AP, director of capital planning for Howard. “However, we quickly started getting involved in the local sustainability scene, including working with the Consortium of

Universities.” That helped Howard collaborate with the local universities, District of Columbia government and other organizations to identify sustainability opportunities and needs at Howard. Funding these projects and initiatives, however, was an issue at Howard, as with most HBCUs. However, Chisholm says the University was able to take advantage of grant and rebate opportunities to kick-start some of the initiatives, such as lighting retrofits. With almost $3 million dollars in grants, rebates and with substantial University investment, Howard now competes on a level field with others in Washington, D.C.

SUSTAINABILITY GOALS Along with several projects and initiatives, Chisholm says the University has several goals:


Re-establish the Sustainability Council. To reach across silos, the council will allow for sustainability direction and decision-making to be more inclusive.


Decrease grid energy dependency. Procure off-campus solar, wind and hydro-electric projects. On-campus solar will provide only a small percent of the University usage demand.


Complete a Sustainability Strategic Plan. Currently in the procurement/planning stage, this plan will document past achievements and establish a baseline against which to plan the future.

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PROJECTS Several projects are underway or on their way around campus. STEAM PLANT Howard recently signed an agreement with ENGIE North America to design and construct a new central utility plant that ENGIE will operate and maintains for the next 20 years. This new steam plant is a combined heat and power plant, generating 35-40 percent of the University’s electric consumption on-site. Designed to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint and further Howard’s energy efficiency goals, the plant produces a single source of energy that generates electricity or power at the point of use and recycles exhaust heat, which is normally lost in the generation process, to produce steam. The new plant replaces the aging energy distribution infrastructure on campus. The goal was to develop a cost-effective energy solution to ensure safe operations and eliminate the risk of future campus closures stemming from problems with campus utilities.

SOLAR PANELS Look up at some of Howard’s rooftops and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the rows of shiny new solar panels that were recently installed in the Fall of 2020. Howard worked with Volt Energy, a minorityowned renewal energy firm co-founded and run by Howard alumni, Gilbert Campbell (B.B.A. ’01) and S. Antonio Francis (B.S. ’01), to install 1.2 megawatts of solar photovoltaic. Panels were placed on the administration building, service center and law school. It is the largest on-site solar project in Washington, D.C. The entire project will produce more than 30,000 megawatts of electricity during its 20-year contract, roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by 3,113 U.S. homes a year. It is Chisholm’s dream to have more projects off-campus so Howard can be even more dependent on the energy generated from the panels as there are only so many rooftops on campus that can house solar panels. 14

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STORMWATER MANAGEMENT Stormwater runoff is often a source of water pollution as it enters streams and the District’s storm drain system. The stormwater runoff that comes from the law school parking lot has been an ongoing source of concern for the University and surrounding ecosystem. To counter the runoff, HU implemented a number of stormwater management efforts, using green infrastructure practices to reduce the runoff. The practices range in structural, vegetative or managerial approaches that can treat or prevent water pollution, such as using bioretention and previous pavers in the parking lot and native plantings in the adjacent lawn and open space. The practices are designed to reduce erosion and pollutants and improve the local ecosystem quality.

SUBMETERING AND BUILDING ENERGY USE Just how much energy does our campus use on a day-today basis? It’s difficult to tell if it’s not being measured. In an effort to grasp a picture of HU’s energy use, the University partnered with GB Energie to install submeters in buildings across campus, using Leviton meters to monitor electricity, gas, water and steam. The data provided from these submeters identify system inefficiencies and equipment problems, which can result in significant savings. In addition, the meters can compare buildings and their energy use against each other. Data is available in 15-minute intervals to build analysis and reports.

LED LIGHTING CONVERSION AND SENSORS To continue brightening the campus at night while reducing electricity use, Howard also partnered with GB Energie to retrofit all exterior lighting with LED technology. The result was a 50 percent reduction in electricity use. The University is now focusing on retrofitting all interior lights with LED lighting as well and adding lighting sensors in rooms, so that the lights automatically turn off when no one is occupying a room. “We are among only a few universities that can boast of having 100 percent energy-efficient LED lighting,” Chisholm says proudly. “This resulted in significant carbon footprint and cost reductions. Security and lighting requirements have also both benefitted.”

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT The students, of course, have been more than vocal over making Howard more sustainable. “They use the campus and the city as incubators for how major problems can be addressed on a larger scale.” says Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer at Howard. For example, she says, through the Home Depot Retool Your School program, students helped build a sustainable garden behind one of the residence halls. They hold campus cleanups and worked with the food service vendor to incorporate environmentally-friendly dining ware.

Students in the College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Allied Health developed nutrition programs across the city that serve underserved populations. Students in the School of Education conducted studies in economic and utility use, storm water management, and community food and water distribution. They also provided access to public health resources. Through these efforts, Howard has come a long way in the past decade. Howard is now above the median baseline, according to the DC Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) Assessment. With these new projects and initiatives underway, Howard should be moving forward quickly – without a trace left behind.

LEADING HOWARD’S SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Ph.D., is the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Howard. Of relevance to this institutional highlight, her operations portfolio includes environmental sustainability, facilities management and environmental health and safety. Her oversight promotes cross-functional and collaborative operability at Howard.

of everyday, human contributions - there is a

Q: What makes you most proud to see on

positive longitudinal impact of planting a tree


or creating a culture where we turn off the lights when they aren’t in use. The collective helps us to reach further, faster all the while exhibiting the attributes of a good citizen of our neighborhood.

sustainability? A: I work with an eclectic mix of our University’s stakeholders to ensure we are meeting the sustainability goals in the Howard Forward strategic plan. Key objectives speak to reducing our carbon footprint and introducing sustainable solutions for energy consumption and conservation. We are executing a focused sustainability strategy that allows us to meet our environmental goals while promoting business efficiency and effectiveness. As the chief operating officer, my view has to be global. I am most engaged in the big picture view of our sustainability response, and how it fits within the District’s plan and the University’s ethos. I am also fully aware that we must align with what people care about. Our community wants to see their contribution in our activities and our strategy. We can’t neglect the power

for everyone. It shows in the outcomes of their work. I’ve been extremely proud of their engagement in the vaccination clinic that was erected as a public health resource during the

Q: Why is sustainability important to Howard?

Q: What is your role with campus

A: Our students think about making lives better

pandemic. What is most impressive about our students

A: Howard is one of the largest employers in the city, and we have an inherent responsibility

is that they consider the responsibility of institutions like the university, or the municipal government, local businesses and organizations

to make the campus a major player in improving

in making life better. They want to improve

the environmental outcomes of our surrounding

the quality of economics and environment,


governance and culture to ensure that all people can benefit, and no one is overlooked. Their

We are an anchor institution for many

conscious focus makes this campus unlike any

businesses and services along the Georgia

other you would find anywhere else in the

Avenue corridor. When we look at sustainability


and the environment through these lenses, we know that one of our roles as a campus is to be a good neighbor, especially when we think about our contributions to big issues in transportation, economics and residential density. But we also consider other vital environmental factors like noise control, community policing, and public safety. Comfort and safety are essential parts of what makes a community livable, and we are acutely aware of the role we play in our everevolving city. A P R I L 2 0 2 1 B I S O N B E AT M O N T H LY N E W S L E T T E R

Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Ph.D.


A SUSTAINABLE PROGRAM Research on students’ attitudes and knowledge about the environment will shape Howard’s and other HBCUs’ environmental studies curricula. What are some attitudes and awareness about the environment and sustainability among university students? This is what Ayana Albertini-Fleurant, research assistant in the department of sociology and anthropology, is looking to find out. Concerned about the growth and engagement rate of the Environmental Studies program among Howard University undergraduate students, she sought to understand what Generation Z students at Howard and among HBCUs knew when it came to the environment. Powered with this information, she would be able to better model a curriculum for the HBCU student body. “Knowing the disparities in inclusion within the mainstream environmental field and the disproportionate access to comprehensive environmental education in secondary school, I wanted to know the extent, if any, that those factors have impacted HU’s current undergraduate student population,” she says.

Ayana Albertini-Fleurant

Howard is one of the first HBCUs to establish an environmental studies program. The interdisciplinary program engages faculty and research across the arts, social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering, law and medicine, among others. It was developed in response to the growing demand by students for training in the environmental area. Students follow one of four concentrations: conservation, health and culture, policy and pollution. Students can pursue a capstone experience, which allows for internship and research opportunities.

Albertini-Fleurant developed a survey to assess the factors that shaped the current curriculum. The targeted survey respondents, currently, are Howard students. The purpose, overall, was to help Howard and other HBCUs tailor curriculum content that would be more intersectional and engaging to fit the interests of the student populations. Some of the questions include awareness about the campus Office of Sustainability; the environmental studies programs; and the student-run Sustainability Council. It also asks about students’ level of knowledge with climate change and environmental issues, and whether they feel that conservation and environmental justice represents them well.


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“We seek to understand how this may implicate students’ perception of inclusivity in various movements associated with environmentalism along with their existing levels of environmental education,” she wrote in the survey introduction.

“We hope that gathering this data will bring attention to this larger problem of representation in the field and support efforts at Howard University to introduce students to the incredible relevancy, diversity and interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies, especially within our program.”

The underlying theme is that the current student population is poised to be in charge of the direction that sustainability takes, and sustainability’s success depends on their participation and inclusion.

Though results are still preliminary, Albertini-Fleurant has learned two interesting trends: Twitter seem to be the popular method for students to receive their news and information, and nearly all of the respondents have identified as female. She says that was “somewhat surprising, given that the survey’s messaging and outreach tactics have remained neutral.” “It is an interesting outcome so far, and it might speak to the need for reshaping the program’s recruitment strategy to reach individuals who identify in a way other than ‘female’ in order to reach a more diverse population of students,” she says. Albertini-Fleurant hopes that the survey findings will eventually be published so that other HBCUs can shape their environmental studies curricula appropriately for their student populations, rather than follow a mainstream approach. The mainstream approach, she says, is marked by a historical lack of inclusivity and access, which has impeded its ability to reach and retain individuals across cultural, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. “We are hoping that we as a program will benefit, and that publishing these results could support the environmental studies programs and departments of other HBCUs,” she says.




Vernon E. Jordan When Vernon E. Jordan Jr. died on Monday, March 1, it was as if a pillar of Howard University fell. The death of this esteemed alumnus of our School of Law and former member of our Board of Trustees struck with a force that reverberated around our community. Mr. Jordan was one of the tallest, the most prominent and the strongest pillars holding up our institution. But he made it part of his life’s mission to add more pillars to our foundations so that, when his own pillar was no longer, Howard would still be left standing – even stronger than before. Of course, Howard wasn’t the only institution rattled by his death. From the law firms where he worked to the National Urban League and the numerous organizations he influenced, there are many who benefited from his mentorship that are mourning his passing. And as much of an imprint as he left upon Howard, his impact on our country

as a whole was just as grand. He was a man of America, an individual who saw the pits of its degradation as well as the beauty of its potential. He was raised in an Atlanta housing project in the segregated South and survived an assassination attempt by an individual motivated by racial hatred. From such humble beginnings, he would rise to the trappings of greatness. He would golf with presidents and sit in the halls of the White House. But he never forgot where he came from or for what purpose he had risen to such great heights. He was a tireless and strategic advocate of civil rights and social justice. In Washington, D.C., he was a true mover and shaker, a chess player who cared just as much for the pieces he moved as the ultimate goals he moved them for. He never caused people to act by force or guile, but with love and truth. He earned the ears of so many world leaders by first offering his own. For Mr. Jordan, no task was too big for him to take on or too small for him to pick up the phone and make a call. He would discuss matters of national importance with heads of state, and he would often call me to look at the application of a student who just applied to Howard; more often than not, the applicant was trying to become the first member of their family to attend college. I am proud and humbled to see myself as one of those chess pieces in Mr. Jordan’s life’s work. The week of his death, I often found myself thinking of him in the office of the president of Howard University, an office I occupy in part because of him. It was not a position I ever envisioned for myself, but one that he came to feel was befitting. 18

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I wondered why I should pursue the job, especially since Mr. Jordan himself had turned down numerous prestigious positions throughout his life. He always preferred to act softly and to deflect credit for his accomplishments. In the end, he persuaded me – I do not see myself as the best person for the job, as a triple alumnus of Howard University, I had incurred a great debt to my Alma Mater and this was the best way to repay it.

I know that many people consider Mr. Jordan to be a mentor. But to me, he was more like a father. He treated me like a son and showed me love for reasons that I will never understand but will live the rest of my life trying to deserve. In my personal life and from the office of Howard’s presidency, I will always strive to emulate Mr. Jordan in his behavior in the hopes of having even a fraction of his impact. He was selfless and caring. Howard’s mission as a university is to give opportunity to those who could not have gotten it anywhere else. That institutional purpose reflects Mr. Jordan’s influence. No matter how high he climbed, he would always reach back to pull others forward. He saw the best in people and helped position them so they could do the most good with what they had to offer. While the pillar of Vernon Jordan might no longer be standing with us, the institutions he helped stand up in his life are standing stronger and straighter today because of the weight he shouldered throughout his life. —President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery

Ted Folarin Roberts During 40-plus years of teaching, Professor Ted Folarin Roberts inspired generations of Howard University students with his energetic willingness to share his professional knowledge and wisdom. He was highly regarded by his HU colleagues, as well as by his global radio listeners who knew him as “Uncle Ted.” He was former chair of the Howard University School of Communications’ Department of Radio, Television and Film; Fulbright Scholar; author; and awardwinning international radio producer, announcer and manager (Voice of America, Sierra Leone and Liberian Broadcasting). Throughout his life, Professor Roberts not only prepared himself to tackle and master new media horizons, but he consistently and with dedication inspired his students and radio listeners to do the same. Upon his retirement in 2013, Professor Roberts wrote:

Throughout this time and to the present, I have enjoyed the most amazing support and love from all the Howard staff regardless of their areas of responsibility, section, division or service. … My colleagues have been fantastic. Whatever my own contribution, I have traded on their brilliance and dedication and bathed in their professionalism and love to help me do my work. As I tell my students during our “life’s lessons” sessions, doors are opening now that were not open in the past, and the great challenges facing minorities is to be ready to enter those doors as they open. No greater tragedy can befall us as minority people than to allow new opportunities to emerge without the concomitant preparedness to meet them. A P R I L 2 0 2 1 B I S O N B E AT M O N T H LY N E W S L E T T E R


FINANCIAL STABILITY THROUGH HOWARD FORWARD Every day across the University community, we are working hard to provide the best value to our students. We are thinking of ways to effectively grow the institution through increased enrollment, which will require the addition of faculty, innovative classroom space and increased housing for students. Howard Forward is our forward trajectory and roadmap to guide the University towards a sustainable future through attainable aspirations. Our sustainability will be measured by our ability to execute consistently, communicate with transparency and operate with accountability, all while being good stewards of our resources. The crux of our success is our ability to sustain our collective and individual efforts to achieve what is outlined in this strategic plan. When we evaluated the current University needs and the everchanging future needs, we needed a real-time roadmap to promote sustainable growth and smart uses of resources. Howard has dramatically improved our financial operating results. Since the implementation of Howard Forward, our Development & Alumni Relations teams have helped achieve historic philanthropic gifts to include our highest grossing Charter Day fundraiser and the highest net alumni giving rate.

But we want to sustain this growth. Achieve Financial Sustainability, Howard Forward’s fifth pillar, is our plan to create an environment where we improve – even more – our organizational financial performance and outcomes. As new opportunities emerge, we are reacting quickly to become stronger in our competitive position. A recent example is how two of our strategic planning pillars have come together to deliver in a meaningful way. We are excited about the $10 million gift from HPS Investment Partners, LLC (HPS) and The Kapnick Foundation to create the HPS Center for Financial Excellence, which will focus on helping students better prepare for careers in private investment and investment banking. Howard, through its School of Business, will prepare students to secure more in-demand jobs in an industry which traditionally few Black people participate. The School of Business, through our academic prioritization efforts (Howard Forward, pillar one: Enhance Academic Excellence), and Howard’s development team (Howard Forward, pillar five: Achieve Financial Sustainability) came together to secure a resource that meets many objectives of our Howard Forward plan.

We have to think strategically across departments, while also aligning and integrating units as needed, in order to sustain our progress and move the needle forward. —Rashad Young, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer


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Enclosed is my gift of $

A Conversation with President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA

Name: _____________________________________________________________ Title: ______________________________________________________________ Company/Organization: _____________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip: ______________________________________________________ If new address, please check: ¨


“The Journey” Last month’s guests on the “The Journey,” the

podcast hosted by Howard University President

Wayne A. I. Frederick, included SVP Rashad Young on his career as DC’s city administrator; stu-dent

editors Lauren Bush and Trisha Lal; and Dr. Anthony Wilbon, dean of the School of Business.

The conversations covered research and data in

fighting health disparities, the future for the School of Business and plans for Howard Forward.

Home Phone: _______________________________________________________ Office Phone: _______________________________________________________ Mobile Phone: ______________________________________________________ Email: _____________________________________________________________ Class Year:__________ College/Program:________________________________ PLEASE CHARGE MY CARD: Visa


American Express


Name on Card:_____________________________________________________ Credit Card Number: _______________________________________________ Exp Date:_______________ Security Code:______________________________ Address: __________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip: _____________________________________________________ If same as above, please check: Signature: _________________________________________________________ Date: _____________________________________________________________ My and/or my spouse’s employer will match my/our gift.



Will you answer the call? A P R I L 2 0 2 1 B I S O N B E AT M O N T H LY N E W S L E T T E R



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