Every now and then you may come across someone who is concerned about the trash laying round on the street or those empty coke bottles sitting right in front of a trash can. Recycling is almost non-existent and extinct to the most common human. But for Grambling native and Alumnus Christopher Dupree he saw a problem that was on life support and he feels he is the one to breathe new life back into it.
Grambition: What are your ties and/or affiliations to Grambling?
Chris Dupree: I have deep ties to Grambling. My family is pretty much from the Arcadia, Simsboro, and Grambling area. My father was a stand out baseball athlete at GSU, my mother graduated and taught at GSU, my cousin is the city councilwoman, so I grew up in the Grambling culture. All but 6th & 7th grade were spent at a Grambling school; GSU Nursery, AJB, GMMS, GHS, & GSU!! In high school I was a 3 sport athlete basketball, baseball, and track. My senior year we made it to the Top 28 in basketball and I was apart of the State Runner Up track team running the 4×4. In college I earned my Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology and pledged Kappa Alpha Psi. I also met my wife at GSU so I’m pretty much a LOCAL, my family still remains deeply tied to Grambling.
Grambition: Good deal. Why did you choose this particular idea or project you are engaged in?
CD: I chose to focus my projects’ agenda towards anti littering/recycling awareness because it is a lost topic especially in communities of color. I wanted to help create a narrative that went against the advertised torn down black community. The Louie Bear Project allows me to positively affect change in areas throughout the state with the goal of creating a brighter future through green practices. We not only want to educate everyone about recycling but also display why this benefits us. It keeps our communities clean, brings our communities together, and it helps reduce our ecological footprint on the world.
Grambition: That is a good look there. What inspired “Louie Bear” and why “Louie Bear”?
CD: I was inspired by my peers who I would talk to and still talk to about making a difference in our communities. I knew I wanted to do something more than keep our children off the street, but also give them something to do and be proud about besides sports. One day after work I noticed a 2 liter bottle just sitting in the road of my apartment complex and wondered who would even do that. And although I was not living in Louisiana at the time I knew Louisiana was facing the same issue. So I had my cause but didn’t know how I was going to positively affect this change so I googled the benefits of recycling.
In doing that I found out about the United States low recycling rates but also the many things that could come from recycled material like notebooks, pen, pencil, and even clothes. All that was great but how was I going to present this to students, then I remembered D.A.R.E. and how they would come to our school talking about Just Say No and then I realized that was how I wanted to present my project. From there I just needed my mascot. My line brother would do a painting of Kanye West’s Dropout bear with his own twist. I saw that and thought it was pretty dope so I tweaked my version and Louie was born. Louie is short for Louisiana and I added the bear similar to Smokey the Bear since I wanted Louie to be public service figure as well.
Two years later The Louie Bear Project is an official Louisiana nonprofit. Just last year The Louie Bear Project was awarded the Health Community Grant awarded by Keep Louisiana Beautiful but due to the lack of recycling resources in the area, the grant was withdrawn. Currently we are looking to partner with area schools and groups to bring more awareness to our platform.
Grambition: That’s dope. Being that many are either unaware or don’t care about recycling, what are some future plans you have for the Louie Bear Project?
CD: My future plans for The Louie Bear Project include; hosting an annual Back 2 School Drive in the G and statewide, visiting schools throughout the state raising awareness, hosting community clean up events, and updating area parks that have seen better days.
The Louie Bear Project is a dope concept. It’s even better that it is headed by one of Grambling’s own. You want to get down with something so positive or find out more information about this blossoming project, visit one of Louie Bear’s social media pages or hit him by email. #GRAMbition