COVID-19 health crisis impacts students who call MSU home

March 26, 2020 - Liz Schondelmayer, Rebecca Jensen

The national coronavirus crisis is greatly impacting MSU students. As the University has moved all classes online, some students have gone home to continue remote learning, or to practice social distancing. However, for some, MSU’s campus is their only home. This public health crisis has eliminated jobs these students depend on to meet their basic needs.

The Fostering Academics, Mentoring Excellence (FAME) program at MSU is a resource for students who were in foster care, kinship care, have experienced homelessness, or are otherwise independent. The program is housed in the School of Social Work in the College of Social Science, but is open to students of all majors.

Program director Andrea Martineau (pictured left) explains, “The FAME program provides a safe and supportive community for some of our most resilient Spartans. Through formal and informal supports, we help students identify their strengths, set goals to establish a plan for success, and build a network of support with both peers and professionals that will assist them on their path to graduation day. We consistently hear from students that the support and community offered by the FAME program was a crucial part of their Spartan journey and we are honored to be connected to their success.”

For FAME student Brandon Drain, junior in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, the program made all the difference for his transition to MSU. “I joined FAME as a freshman and they immediately made me feel welcomed. I would talk to my success coach every week and my mentor at least once a month,” Drain recalls. “The FAME folks have been like family to me.”

Despite their unwavering resiliency, many FAME students have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Many are not able to leave their on-campus homes. This public health crisis has also eliminated many jobs these students depend on to meet their basic needs. “During this uncertain time, when resources are changing and isolation is necessary, the students need the support of their Spartan community more than ever,” notes Martineau. 

The College of Social Science has arranged an emergency fund for students in times of crisis. Funds designated for students in this fund will support those students in the FAME program (or who fall into the FAME category) during disruptions that have resulted from the spread of COVID-19. 

Learn more about FAME, and support FAME students here.

Keep up with the latest COVID-19 updates and find MSU community resources here.