An anonymous donor writes hefty check for School of the Environment

School of the Environment entry sign. Photo courtesy: Brendon O’Gilvie

Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) School of The Environment recently received a $250,000 donation from an anonymous supporter to assist undergraduate students cover tuition costs.

On Friday, Aug. 26, FAMU’s Division of Academic Affairs announced the anonymous donation. The donor was described as an “Observer” of the Energy Water Food Nexus Summit, a 3-day event hosted this past April by the Dean of the School of Environment (SOE), Doctor Victor Ibeanusi.

“As the dean, I have to bring something to the table,” Ibeanusi said. “All we want to have is the societal impact.”

The Energy Water Food Nexus summit attracts international attendees to FAMU’s campus and focuses on the innovation of the three main resources to sustain human life and the impacts of climate change.

The donor was impressed with the school’s program and the summit, which led to their decision to aid undergraduates who will help determine the future of the Earth.

The donation will help with the scholars-in-residence program, covering tuition for 10 undergraduate students every year for the next five years, making a grand total of 50 students that will be awarded.

Khalil Valcin, a fourth-year environmental science major, shared his excitement about the donation and how climate could potentially be a factor in seeing more funding.

“The donation is huge, it’s going to impact more than we can expect,” Valcin said.  “It shows the rise in concern for our environment and we couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.”

Donations that help to pay for tuition are important because of the many different financial challenges students may face throughout the year, now especially, with the housing crisis and inflation that impacted Tallahassee.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average cost to attend FAMU is $11,821 after aid for students coming from a household that makes between $30,001 to 48,000. In many cases, students are forced to obtain part-time employment to help pay for school and living costs while managing classes and campus activities.

Jordan Roberts, a recent graduate from the School of the Environment, now working as an employee at the sustainability institute on campus, is an advocate for students to receive scholarship money since experiencing the benefits firsthand.

“I didn’t need to work, my tuition was covered and I received a stipend,” Roberts said. “Having to maintain a GPA without support is hard.”

Roberts is a recipient of a scholarship presented by the Water Energy Food Nexus summit, for her contributions in science and media.

The SOE is hoping that the donation in combination with the bi-annual summit will attract incoming freshmen to FAMU’s campus.

Jalon Bristol, a fourth-year environmental science major, shared his thoughts on how it could potentially help.

“I didn’t expect something like that,” Bristol said. “It helps the decision when choosing a university.”

The Scholars-in-Residence Program scholarship is available to current and prospective SOE students. The requirements and steps to apply are available on the FAMU SOE website.