Bayou Classic 2020-21: A Battle of the Sciences

Local News

Courtesy of Grambling State University

GRAMBLING, La. (KTVE/KARD)- Yes you read it right. Bayou Classic 2020-21 is one for the books. Under the weight of the pandemic, many things have changed.

When SWAC announced its cancellation of the season 2020 football season, meaning the annual game between Grambling State University and Southern University of Baton Rouge would not be played for the first time in years.

According to a press release, Simone Lightfoot looked for another way Grambling State and Southern University could go toe-to-toe, but this time academically.

Lightfoot, associate vice president of Environmental Justice and Climate Justice at the National Wildlife Federation didn’t want the federations support in year 3 to simply end; instead of a football contest, she thought of a science battle.

“With no football game, my imagination led to this idea of battling (collaborating) around science and water (the Mississippi River) instead of the game and minus the halftime show,” Lightfoot said.  “Just replace them both with plenty of science and research.”

Lightfoot’s idea produced: “Bayou Classic 2020-21: A Battle of the Sciences Booklet.” Primarily, the goal is for the work to have an impact on where decision-makers decide to allocate funds related to the Mississippi River environment.

“University leadership (GSU and Southern), the faculty, and the young scholars from Grambling and Southern were wonderful,” Lightfoot said, adding that various community partners, including the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainability Engagement & Development in New Orleans, helped the project come together.  “This was truly a team effort,” she said.

GSU students who were research scholars: 

  • Steven Wilson, a biology student and recent graduate, wrote about “Cancer Alley.” 
  • Harry Hooker III, a chemistry student and recent graduate, wrote a toxicology piece that talked about “Rushing to Exhale and Being Black and Breathing.”
  • Jynelle Liverpool, a biology student and recent graduate, wrote about” Food Markets and the Mississippi River Delta Watershed.”

“We must continue to research and write about our findings so that elected officials, policymakers, and residents can make improvements to protect essential human rights, solve public health concerns, and ensure the long-term viability of the environment”, said Dr. Waneene Dorsey, a professor at Grambling State.

To view the students findings in their research, click here.

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