TSU Honors Student and Environmental Activist Named 2015 HBCU All-Star For Academics, Leadership

Lauren Wiggins’ goal is to make sure recycling bins are in the rooms of every residence hall on campus.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Lauren Wiggins, a Tennessee State University senior Health Sciences major with a passion for protecting the environment, has been selected a 2015 HBCU All-Star by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She was selected for her accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

Wiggins, an Atlanta native with a 3.7 GPA, was among 83 All-Stars selected from more than 450 undergraduate, graduate and professional students who completed applications, transcripts, resumes, essays and letters of recommendations for consideration. The students represent 70 HBCUs from across the nation.

The All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative providing outreach and communication with fellow students about the value of education and networking resources. Through social media and relationships with community-based organizations, the All-Stars will also share “proven practices” that support opportunities for young people to achieve their education and career potential, according to a White House release.

“As an All-Star I feel the White House Initiative saw something in me that I can use to further my university,” Wiggins said. “I love TSU and I have a great desire to do everything possible to promote the need for a clean environment.”

In announcing Wiggins and her fellow All-Stars, the White House Initiative said “the Obama administration is committed to promoting excellence, innovation and sustainability across our nation’s HBCUs.”

“This year’s class of All-Stars has distinguished themselves as exemplars of the talent that HBCUs cultivate and noble ambassadors of their respective institutions,” said Ivory A. Toldson, WHIHBCUs’ acting executive director. “We are confident these impressive students will help the White House Initiative on HBCUs meaningfully engage with students, showcase their talent and advance our agenda to further academic excellence at HBCUs.”

Wiggins, whose musical talents led her to a full scholarship at TSU, switched majors to a concentration in Public Health with a minor in International Affairs. She developed an interest in the environment following a National Student Exchange program that took her to Towson University for a semester in 2013.

“This experience propelled my interest in the environment and provided a gateway to opportunities for advocacy,” she said. Since then, Wiggins has interned with the global environmental group, Greenpeace USA, during which she published an article, “Human Rights Abuses in the Seafood Supply Chain.” Currently, Wiggins serves as an executive member for Diversity Outreach for the Sierra Club of Middle Tennessee and recently completed an internship at the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation in New Hampshire to study people’s perceptions of ecosystem services.

In addition to her environmental work, Wiggins is a residence assistant in Ford Hall at TSU. Her goal is to make sure recycling bins are in the rooms of every residence hall on campus.

“Recycling bins are currently in the halls in general areas like the first floor reception area or outside the front door, but I actually want to make sure they are in the rooms to be sure students recycle,” said Wiggins, who is seeking ways to fund her project. “I feel fortunate to be an HBCU All-Star and use that as a platform to advance my cause.”

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.