Toyota recently launched an exciting, first-of-its-kind program, the Toyota Green Initiative, an environmental stewardship platform designed to empower Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), students, and alumni on the benefits of adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
Decisive Media attended a dinner to introduce the Green Initiative to minority media, which included Toyota executives, including Jim Colon, vice president of Toyota Product Communications; Keith Dahl, National manager of Engagement Marketing; and Zoe Ziegler. (Pictured L to R:Dahl, actor Lance Gross and Siegle
This cross-country HBCU tour hits campuses through a partnership with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and the BET Black College Tour. The initiative, which continues through November 12, hopes to mobilize the collegiate audience to go green through these multiple touch points and a content rich website (www.ToyotaGreen.com).
The first campus stop on this nationwide tour took place in Maryland at historic Bowie State University. Despite the rain, eager students showed their commitment to sign up the Toyota program, and waited in line to volunteer and participate in a series of weekend activities, all geared toward promoting a green lifestyle.
The Bowie tour included a Community Service event with celebrity actor Lance Gross, best known for his role in Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Gross added his celeb presence to the event and helped draw thousands of students who helped clean up and refurbish a greenhouse no longer in use on campus.
Toyota not only recruited students, but also employed Toyota Green Initiative coalition members like Zakiya Harris, an artist and educator who helps young people of color “move from the margins to the epicenter of the environmental movement, using hip hop, art and culture,” he explained.
A brilliant lecture series was offered to environmental science students. Pandora Thomas, co-founder of Earthseed, an organization that serves to reconnect youth to the earth using innovative strategies, also helped lead the lecture with great ideas. These coalition members also promised to serve as mentors and judges of the Toyota Green Initiative Contest.
After the informative lecture on how to reduce carbon footprints as a community and individually, an organic lunch was served, reinforcing the importance of buying local produce when available. Doing so helps the local community economically and reduces fuel costs by eliminating interstate and international transport of produce.
The weekend ended with an exciting Bowie State University Parade and Homecoming Football Game. The incredible marching bands stepped and marched, even while handling oversized musical instruments, and never missed a beat
Attendees learned more about Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive technology through an interactive game, Passport to Green, and took the Promise Drive on energy saving laptops located around the footprint.
Besides the genuine enthusiasm of the students, the Toyota Prius was another gem of this event, it was displayed on campus, and journalists got the chance to test out the vehicle for the weekend long event.
The Prius is an excellent car for students who have to be mindful of fuel costs as well as easy maneuverability into small parking places. While considered small, the Prius comfortably holds four size adults. The high-tech graphic display shows how the hybrid works and allows the driver to not only feel when the engine uses the battery, but provides a great way for drivers to actually see when they are producing the most emissions and reducing their carbon footprints.
Pricing for the Prius starts at $22,800.
Students can further participate in Toyota’s Green Initiative by signing up with Toyota’s “Promise Drive” found on the Toyotagreen.com website. Those who do can win a one-year lease on a new 2011 Toyota Prius and a tree park for their campus by submitting a plan with documentation of their own Grassroots Green Campus project that will restore, improve, or sustain the environment. The Toyota Green Initiative campus footprint will be powered by a Toyota branded solar generator, Volta Mobile Solar.