Mississippi Valley State University is in it to win a campus renovation grant from The Home Depot.

Whether the university gets the grant depends on how many online votes it receives from the public — and voting ends Sunday night.

The home improvement supply dealer’s annual Retool Your School program awards grants to accredited historically black colleges and universities to fund campus renovation projects.

This year the program is giving away 10 $50,000 grants. Nine  will be awarded to schools that finish in the top three in votes within their divisions, or “clusters.”

Cluster 1 is for schools with enrollments of 4,000 or more.

Cluster 2, which includes MVSU, is for universities with enrollments between 1,201 and 3,999. MVSU’s enrollment as of fall 2018, according to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, was 2,285.

Cluster 3 is for those with enrollments under 1,200.

As of Friday afternoon, MVSU ranked second in its cluster, which includes 26 schools, with 351,555 votes received. Alcorn State University led with 404,955 votes.

“We've had an extensive voting campaign, organized by our Director of Development Kendall Tanner. The campaign featured promo videos that were posted weekly on social media and e-mailed out to remind everyone to vote,” said Brittany Davis-Green, communications director for MVSU.

“We're very excited about all of the support that we've received, and we're hopeful that we can secure the No. 1 spot,” she said.

There are three ways to vote for MVSU to receive the grant: by posting #mvsu_rys19 on Twitter or Instagram (the account must be public for the vote to count) or by voting at www.retoolyourschool.com/vote/, clicking Cluster 2 and then clicking “vote now” under MVSU’s logo.

Voting is unlimited, and all three methods may be used. Voting, which began Feb. 25, will end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Should MVSU be awarded a grant, its plan is to renovate the pavilion near the stadium “to be the place for student activities, social life and entertainment,” according to a YouTube video posted by the university.

Davis-Green said the grant money would be used to “beautify the space to make it more inviting and accommodating.”  

The grant is awarded in the form of a gift card for The Home Depot to purchase products or services from the store.

On April 15, the top three schools of each cluster will be invited to submit proposals for campus projects. Each project proposal must have a budget of $50,000 or less.

Since its inception 10 years ago, the Retool Your School program has distributed $2.1 million through 499 grants.

Grants are expected to be awarded April 26.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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