A GoFundMe page has been created in honor of former Eagle Rebeca Olivera by brother Paul Olivera to establish an endowed memorial scholarship at FGCU. Rebeca, an FGCU graduate with an environmental engineering degree, was an international student whose legacy is full of positivity for everyone, with a focus on service and dedication.
Sept. 5 marked the first year since Rebeca’s death. The idea for the scholarship came from a friend in the Office of International Services. Paul agreed with the idea, knowing that Rebeca would love it. The scholarship started through a link with the FGCU Foundation. The donation process was confusing, so Paul decided to create the GoFundMe page to facilitate it.
Rebeca is remembered as an actively involved student for many organizations, programs and offices such as Phi Mu Fraternity, Emerging Eagles, Eagle Orientation, International Services and the Multicultural and Leadership Development Office.
Rebeca always mentioned returning home to her native country, Mexico, even if there were not many opportunities to do so. Paul believes that her love of people was what caused her to pursue this goal. Service was one of her greatest passions. Rebeca’s focus was to provide purified water to individuals. Rebeca believed that people and government officials in Mexico do not pay enough attention to the need for clean water, which she wanted to change. Rebeca’s passion for service began with her exposure to many service activities that allowed her to view the true extent of the poverty and hunger much of the world faces.
The recent years spent with Rebeca at FGCU consolidated the siblings’ relationship, making their bond much stronger. Rebeca was Paul’s key motivator and the reason he became involved in the Emerging Eagles program as a mentor. When Paul was not selected the first time around as an orientation leader, Rebeca encouraged him to reapply and not give up. Paul says Rebeca was the person that inspired everyone to tap into their true potential.
“She was the best friend you could tell whatever,” Paul said.
He describes his sister as a “total hugger.” She liked to think of herself as a sunflower. Paul agreed.
“I feel she radiates, like, light,” Paul said.
“Energetic” and “passionate” are the most repeated words of many admirable adjectives Rebeca’s Phi Mu sisters, Laura Gardner and Nicole Horton, used to describe her. Gardner expressed that her biggest regret is that Rebeca may not have known the extent of the impact she had on people. Horton recalled Rebeca as a high-spirited person with a gift for encouragement that celebrated friends’ successes no matter how significant the achievement.
Paul Olivera’s goal for the scholarship is to raise $12,900 by Nov. 15, Rebeca’s birthday. Paul has spread the word to local fraternities and sorority chapters and is willing to create a school event to meet the established goal.
For more information on the GoFundMe page or to donate, visit gofundme.com/rebecascholarship.