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Hawthorne’s Recycling Idea Helps Board Opportunity Fund Keep Students in School

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Carzie Hawthorne, mechanical services supervisor, got tired of seeing vendors make money by selling the copper and aluminum that comes from the College’s surplus heating and cooling equipment. The College swaps old equipment with vendors for credit on new equipment.

“What’s the best way to support our college and our community and keep some young black men in school?’” he said.

The result is a new recycling program where copper and aluminum are removed from surplus equipment before it is traded. The metal is then sold in bulk and the proceeds go to the Board Opportunity Fund which supports the education of Morehouse students.

Hawthorne’s idea raised $573.70.

“It’s an ongoing program that we’re proud of,” said Curtis Davis, director of the Physical Plant. “It’s a win-win. We upgrade and improve and we get something for the scrap metal as well.”

The Board Opportunity Fund was initiated five years ago to help juniors and seniors who are progressing towards graduation, but sometimes have to drop out because they cannot come up with the few thousand dollars that they lack to stay in school.

A rough economy, where lenders have significantly limited the number of loans they are extending, has made the problem more prevalent nationwide as students and parents struggle to pay higher education costs.

Corporations and individuals – including Morehouse faculty and staff – have stepped in to contribute to the Fund which in 2009 met an initial goal of raising $4 million with aid from the Mellon Foundation.

“We’ve seen great support for the Board Opportunity Fund,” said Philip Howard ’87, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “Everybody knows a student who is a junior or senior who might have some financial troubles, so they get what we’re doing and they’re able to help with this effort.”

Alumni also have pitched in. Last semester, President Robert M. Franklin Jr. ’75 reached out to Morehouse Men because nearly 200 students needed funding assistance. Their gifts to the Fund kept nearly all of those young men in class.

The next phase of the Fund will be part of the College’s new comprehensive campaign. Administrators are hoping to raise $18 million to $22 million to make sure the Board Opportunity Fund continues to help students annually. Contributions go to two areas: current use funds for students needs each year, and the endowment that allows the Fund to earn money annually.

Hawthorne is just glad he was able to do his part in recycling and raising money for students.


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