Toyota’s Green Initiative set to take over HBCU campuses

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Just because recent studies indicate most hybrid and electric car owners are well into middle age doesn’t mean the younger demographic shouldn’t be well educated on what they have to offer, especially as more and more of them hit roads.

That, at least, seems to be Toyota’s mindset, as the hybrid pioneers announced they are providing a one-year lease of a Toyota Prius or Prius Plug-In vehicle to 22 select Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) schools.

But that’s not even the most interesting part of the initiative, part of the company’s larger Green Initiative. The schools that will be receiving the cars are all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Participating institutions will have their students and alumni educated on the benefits of adopting a sustainable lifestyle.

Toyota expects school staff will drive the hybrids for campus-related administrative and facilities use. The cars should arrive at the schools by early 2014.

“As the Toyota Green Initiative begins its fourth year, we wanted to provide historically black institutions with a product that would help improve campus environment and promote sustainability,” Jim Colon, Vice President of Toyota Product Communications for Toyota Motor Sales, told reporters. “With low emissions and improved fuel economy, we are proud to provide these HBCUs with one of the Prius family of vehicles for the 2013-2014 school year.”

As the program hits various campuses in the new year, Toyota will be setting up on-site displays and activities, including the Green Gallery, a display feature that illustrates environmental tips and facts and chronicles green history within the African American community. There will also be a Power Hour competition, where students can generate power on stationary bikes for prizes, Prius and Highland Hybrid displays and charging stations for personal electronics like phones and tablets.

A collection of environmental experts, known as the TGI Coalition, will also be present at certain stops to speak on sustainability within the African American community and will provide students with relevant reasons and ways to go green. Coalition members include environmental advocates Earthseed, SMB Essentials CEO Lake Louise, actor Lance Gross, Black and Green author Jamal Ali, actress Tatyana Ali, 2012 TGI Campus Contest winner Corban Bell and 2010 TGI Campus Contest Winner Stephen Graddick.

Not a part of the campuses TGI will be visiting? Toyota has set up an interactive web page which provides easy ways to live green and save green, eco-conscious articles, videos, community activities, volunteer opportunities and more.

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