TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Students from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) traveled to Washington, D.C. yesterday to participate in the HBCU Making for Change Showcase, held June 11-13.
The event is sponsored by the HBCU Innovation, Commercialization, Entrepreneur Platform (HBCU I.C.E.), a collaboration of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
The event displays innovations from the top student teams in the country who have identified challenges in their local communities and have designed solutions to meet those challenges.
FAMU students Shelby Avery, a first-year MBA candidate; Jamel Booth, a third-year theatre and facilities management student; Garneisha Hibbert, a third-year industrial engineering student; and David Holmes, a first-year accounting student are presenting their project “Innovative Education Ecosystem” during the showcase.
The project focuses on improving student retention and engagement in the areas of entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The core principle of the project is called “Lifting as We Climb,” which focuses on offering a community support system for students and their parents. It also engages FAMU students, faculty, and staff in volunteer service at local schools that serve students who may not have access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food options.
The team identified students from Bethel Christian Academy and the Florida A&M University Developmental Research School to work with and designed the project to teach students about food sustainability and environmental awareness through diverse disciplines, while promoting character building.
The project includes initiatives such as teaching youth to build vertical gardens using recycled bottles, creating artistic productions that promote awareness about healthy and sustainable food supply, developing recycling, composting, and gardening programs, and conducting workshops to teach students to develop and implement business ideas related to food sustainability.
According to Jennifer Collins, Ph.D., a professor of Management at the FAMU School of Business and Industry, who mentored the students, the University’s selection to participate in the national event is representative of its unique interdisciplinary approach to encouraging its students to blend entrepreneurial skills and STEM disciplines to become problem solvers for the needs of society.
“At FAMU we strive to ensure that our students leave here with the ability to advance knowledge, resolve complex issues, and empower citizens and communities,” Collins said. “An invitation for our students to display their work on a national level at such a prestigious and influential event is the proof in the pudding.”
The students pitched their project during an HBCU Makers reception at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill yesterday evening, and will also showcase their work at the National Maker Faire today and Saturday at the University of the District of Columbia.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is one of the largest single-campus historically Black colleges or universities in the nation. The University blends a strong research focus on economic empowerment and community service.
The University was founded in 1887 as the State Normal School for Colored Students, Today, FAMU continues its mission to be a best-in-class, land-grant University with a global reach that focuses on science, technology, research, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics (STREAM).
FAMU contributes to a strong workforce by providing a high-quality, affordable education to students from diverse backgrounds. FAMU is listed by the U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s top public historically Black college or university (HBCU) for 2015, and was recognized among the 2014 U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities.” It is listed among The Princeton Review’s “Best in the Southeast” colleges, as well.
FAMU is also one of the top universities for providing a high-quality education at an affordable price in Florida, according to The College Database (2013).
For more information about FAMU, visit http://www.famu.edu.