Florida A&M’s School of Business and Industry announced its partnership with Cintas on Wednesday to provide students with professional and environmentally friendly suits.
Phillip Holloman, president and COO of Cintas, and SBI Dean Shawnta Friday-Stroud announced that the new partnership would provide stipends for students to have access to eco-friendly suits for the next 10 years.
Holloman feels the scholarship will help students become more environmentally aware, add to their wardrobe and boost their confidence.
“I’m just glad to be here,” Holloman said. “It all started with Jemal (Gibson) on the terms of the opportunity he wanted to provide to students who may have a problem getting a suit. So because of our relationship with SBI, we worked it out.”
The Jemal Gibson Scholarship will keep 1,500 two-liter bottles out of landfills. The regenerated suits are machine washable, which can save up to $1,000 a year in dry cleaning costs.
“I know this is a suit scholarship, but it’s not just about the suit,” said Gibson, an SBI alumnus. “You absolutely deserve a chance to achieve your dreams, and a suit shouldn’t stop you from achieving your dreams.”
Gibson hopes the scholarship will strengthen the confidence of students by providing them with professional suits. He fought tears as he thanked his parents, whom he lost to drug abuse. He said his parents and brother encouraged him to become the man he is today.
Sara Dirie, a fourth-year business administration student from Los Angles, said she was notified of the opportunity to win a suit scholarship through Blackboard.
“We had to submit our transcripts and answer an essay question asking how we would benefit from being a scholarship recipient,” Dirie said. “I’m happy to have been selected for this opportunity.”
Rebecca Joseph, a fourth-year business administration student from Pompano Beach, Fla., who was awarded a suit scholarship, said she looks forward to wearing it.
“It was very comfortable, and the length was appropriate,” Joseph said, after trying it on. “I am very happy to be fortunate to have been awarded this opportunity.”
A variety of styles and sizes of the suits were showcased during the announcement. Students will be able to make future purchases. Stipend applications are available in Friday-Stroud’s office.