by Caitlyn Johnstone
February 12, 2018
"We cannot be a viable institution if our environment is not viable.” – Guy-Alain Amoussou, Bowie State University Interim Provost
The first of February marked the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bowie State University (BSU), the oldest historically black college or university in Maryland. First signed in 2009, the memorandum outlines the partnership between the EPA and BSU to increase cooperation toward environmental improvement, green career pathways and a broad range of opportunities for BSU students and faculty researchers.
Plans for the coming year include collaboration on a food day symposium with the campus kitchen, shadow days for students to gain exposure to green careers, research opportunities and mock interviews for students preparing to enter the job market. The MOU aims to deepen the relationships between all parties, providing broader opportunities for students and the development of on-site research prospects in environmental work and the health sciences for faculty and the community.
Dr. Anthony Nelson of the College of Business highlighted the importance of expanding participation in the MOU. “I was the sole dean on the initiative,” he stated, referring to the original memorandum of 2009, which included only EPA’s Office of Grants and Debarment and BSU’s College of Business as signatories. “This is a university-wide initiative,” he added. “All deans should be involved.”
The current MOU expanded to include the College of Arts and Sciences in 2012. The 2018 revision includes the College of Education and the College of Professional Studies, and officially highlights the Chesapeake Bay Program as the hub of activities for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region. Increased participation from across the university and a sharpened focus with the Bay Program allow for more innovative projects and the opportunity for exposure to green career pathways across the disciplines. A tour of the Center for Natural Sciences, the newest addition to the Bowie campus, and its research opportunities followed the signing ceremony. The building’s construction and design principles mirror the intent of the MOU: sustainability and an environment that promotes interactive, collaborative learning. Attendees were also able to view various elements of the facility that earned the building its LEED certification.
In 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement expanded its focus to be more representative of the citizens that make up our region. Through its Diversity Outcome, the Bay Program and its partners committed to increasing the diversity of those leading conservation and restoration activities. The MOU between Bowie State University and the EPA is one example of the pathways being created to bring the best and brightest to the green career field.