May 2020 Director's Note to Alumni and Friends

May. 12, 2020
Kottman Hall.

Dear Alumni and Friends,

As we adapt to the current reality, I am heartened by how folks within the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) community are looking out for one another. Despite the social distancing, folks are checking in with each other via Zoom, e-mail, and phone. And there are many who are experiencing tremendous hardship requiring more than a conversation and check-in.

Ohio State’s recent Giving Tuesday communications shed light on the devastating fact that the lives of many of our students have been upended, from loss of employment to a complete disruption of fall plans to say nothing of being sent home with little notice and having to take classes online. The evidence of need can be seen in a few statistics. In autumn 2019, Student Advocacy received a total of 89 applications for emergency funding. Between March 12 and April 10 there were 517 applications and the university had distributed $250,000 thru April 10. These funds provide support to address food insecurity, resources to complete remote coursework, emergency medical and mental health support, etc. Students can apply at https://advocacy.osu.edu/student-emergency-fund/.

Our college has also set up several support funds in response to COVID-19 that can receive contribution and be used to support students. SENR now has a dedicated support fund that will be managed by a SENR committee to provide modest emergency support to students in need. Even before COVID-19, we were recognizing a growing need among SENR students and taking action, including our efforts to create a food pantry to support students experiencing food insecurity. I have recently made a contribution to the SENR Student Support Fund and I would like to invite alumni and friends of the school to consider doing so as well. If you want to make others aware of the SENR fund or the parallel CFAES or ATI support funds, you can share a link to this Spotlight on Student Support.

As we settle into what could be a long and challenging time, thank you for all you are doing for each other and our various communities. I hope that even as this disrupts us, that it can bring us closer together.

Best wishes for good health,

Jeff Sharp
Director, School of Environment and Natural Resources