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Through a collaboration with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the BET Black College tour, Toyota will make 25 tour stops at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country to promote their eco-conscious hybrid vehicles with the Green Initiative.

Crisis star Lance Gross, a HBCU graduate of Howard University, is a proud supporter of the cause. The actor turned up at the on-campus launch and got the students energized about the eco-conscious initiative.

“The Toyota Green initiative is good for me because it’s a learning experience,” he shared with

The Our Family Wedding star added, “A lot of people talk about going green, but I personally didn’t know the proper steps. So, it’s educational for me and while I’m learning I’m inspiring students and alumni of HBCUs to go green so it’s fun.”

Gross shared that he was involved in a bad accident in his old car, a Toyota 4Runner, some years back and gives the leading hybrid car manufacturer its due credit for walking away from the accident without any serious injuries.

He was even able to test drive one of the Toyota Highlanders on Monday.

“I usually drive a BMW 745 and it’s a gas guzzler. I spend like $80 a week filling that thing up. I’ve always wanted to drive a hybrid. I just wanted to make sure it looked cool,” he laughed.

Toyota executive Jim Colon couldn’t be happier to have Gross in the fold for their Green Initiative.

“He is a bright and intelligent young man and I can see why he is successful in his career and why people like him in the projects that he is involved in,” Colon told

“We’re very proud that he is associated with us at Toyota and we hope to use him in more projects. You can see the excitement in his eyes and his manner about this project. He wants to learn more and I think it’s good for other young people see a person like Lance involved in a project like this and showing his leadership.”

In addition to letting students check out the car first-hand, the tour features a recycling center and energy-efficient monitors centered around an 18-foot tree installation built with sustainable materials and powered by a solar generator. There are also informative seminars taught by eco-conscious professionals at Earthseed, who specialize on educating people of color on reconnecting to the Earth.

The Toyota Green Initiative will also sponsor a contest awarding one lucky HBCU college student who submits a plan to restore, improve or sustain the environment at their local campus a one year-lease on a new 2011 Toyota Prius. For more information, head to