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Alpha Phi Alpha takes on climate change and energy efficiency

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Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the nation’s oldest black fraternity, and Environmental Defense Fund are launching a transformational partnership to increase the number of diverse environmental leaders on university and college campuses and in communities of color. The Alpha and EDF partnership will educate the fraternity’s student and alumni chapters about climate change, environmental justice, energy efficiency, clean energy and green jobs. Sustainability projects designed by students and alumni will help African American and other populations become more involved in public health and environmental issues caused by air and water pollution and social inequity.

Academic institutions are among the nation’s top energy consumers and often do not have the resources to implement energy efficiency measures. Universities that serve a large percentage of minority students and national environmental groups traditionally have not worked together on environmental and public health issues. The Alpha Phi Alpha Goes Green Initiative (http://green.apa1906.net) is a fraternity initiative that will fill that gap and create a corps of environmental leaders specially trained to work with college students and diverse communities. EDF will provide online training materials to the partnership.

EDF’s Climate Corps works to identify energy improvements that help companies cut costs and reduce emissions. A new focus for Climate Corps is helping campuses increase energy efficiency.

“Colleges are the perfect place to spread the word about energy efficiency. Alpha Goes Green will be a pipeline for sustainability information,” said Michael Regan, director of the Southeast Energy Program for EDF. “EDF’s partnership with Alpha is an innovative way to help college students and communities of color better understand the direct connection between saving energy and money, and living in a healthy and prosperous community.”

“Alpha Phi Alpha is known for its strong student and alumni commitment to community service, and the Alpha Phi Alpha Goes Green Initiative provides the structure to launch sustainability projects across the country,” said Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr., (national) general president of Alpha. “Understanding how behaviors affect communities – on a small campus or in a major city – will create better stewards of the environment. That’s service to the planet we can all salute.”

“The Alpha Phi Alpha Goes Green Initiative is committed to helping underserved communities impacted by social inequities and environmental issues become healthier and more sustainable through education, capacity building and empowerment. The Alpha Phi Alpha Goes Green website will be an excellent portal and primary means by which members will learn about environmental issues important to the Fraternity and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Sacoby Wilson, chair of the initiative and co-chair of the Alpha partnership with EDF. “The online educational materials will be a reliable resource for members and chapters who are committed to environmental leadership and positive social and environmental change.”

The fraternity has 5,000 student members on more than 350 US campuses and 95,000 alumni members.

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