VSU Officials Meet With EPA Regional Administrator To Bolster Partnership And Educational Opportunities

 The meeting focused on expanding student participation in EPA programs and increasing student exposure to environmental science career fields. 

Virginia State University President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah met with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz this week to discuss EPA's current partnership with VSU and begin talks for renewing the five-year agreement later this year.

The meeting focused on the collaboration efforts between VSU, EPA, and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, expanding student participation in programs and increasing student exposure to environmental science career fields.

"We are thrilled to embark on this transformative partnership with EPA, which exemplifies Virginia State University's commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Dr. Abdullah. “This collaboration reflects our dedication to addressing pressing environmental challenges and offering our students additional research and learning opportunities that prepare them to become leaders in positive change."

During the meeting, Ortiz expressed EPA’s commitment to supporting VSU's educational initiatives and creating meaningful opportunities for collaboration, technical assistance, and professional growth. He also expressed a desire to re-focus efforts, bring more faculty and students into the program, and continue adding partners for a greater impact on students.

“Continuing to invest in our relationship with VSU is paramount to the success of this program and a sustainable environment,” said Ortiz. “By aligning EPA’s efforts with VSU and building a stronger partnership, our organizations will continue to contribute to brighter futures for the students and their communities.”

The five-year agreement for the partnership, formally known as Linking Environmental and Academic Programs (LEAP), was signed in 2019 to enhance research, teaching, outreach, career development, and stewardship in environmental sciences. It is set to expire in May.

Some of this collaboration's successes include VSU hosting Chesapeake Bay Program events and conducting a sustainability tools workshop series, EPA participation at VSU career fairs, and VSU's involvement in the EPA Mid-Atlantic Region's first HBCU Symposium.

VSU is one of eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities with a LEAP Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with the EPA Mid-Atlantic Region, designed to help strengthen the capacity of minority academic institutions.