Some students might have noticed their fellow students wearing a shirt that reads, “I believe in FAMU.”
The shirts, which started off as a free gift for students who attended a pep rally at the beginning of the year, may later help students with more that just stating a point.
Student Body President Monique Gillum and Student Body Vice-President James Bland said they hope to introduce FAMU and its students to a new endowment.
The endowment will focus on helping students with the cost of books and hopefully gaining scholarship money.
“The endowment is to help students who are currently at the university,” the SGA president said. “There are a lot of scholarships out there but we want to make sure that there’s a price available for students, who don’t have enough money to buy their books or in some type of need.”
Gillum and Bland said they want to raise the money for the endowment through selling the shirts. Although the shirts were being given away during the opening year, the sales will now fund a greater cause.
“Initially, we wanted to give it out first to kick off our ‘I believe in FAMU’ campaign during welcome week to get students excited about the university,” Bland said. “We gave away about 1,000 shirts, but as for the next time, we’ll actually be looking to sell the shirts.”
The “I believe in FAMU” shirts were created in spring 2007. Bland, one of the two people who created the shirt, came up with the design while FAMU graduate Keon Harvey created the catch phrase.
“We created the shirt when FAMU was going through a difficult time,” Bland said. “It was a form of encouragement.”
In order for Gillum and Bland to start the endowment and sell the shirts, they must receive permission from the senate because the shirts have to be purchased with activities and services fees.
Gillum went before the senate last Monday to make them aware that she would be coming back to present the idea of selling the shirts to start an endowment fund.
“Once we get the permission from senate to begin selling them, we’ll pick a price between $7 and $10,” Gillum said. “We know that FSU, for their ‘True’ campaign, is selling their shirts for $15, but we won’t get nearly that high. The highest our shirts will probably get is $10.”
Gillum said she hopes to receive confirmation from the senate in two weeks.
“We want to get the shirts made before homecoming, so we have to get it done before October’s over,” Gillum said.
Gillum and Bland are also working with Colonel Joe, who is the executive director of FAMU’s foundations department.
“We’re supposed to meet with him in the next few days,” Gillum said. “We’ve had one meeting with him already and we need to have a follow up meeting with him to get further instructions on setting up the endowment. He gave us the basics so we’re ready to move forward with what we’re to do next.”
While FAMU alumni are not currently involved, Gillum said she plans on introducing the idea to them once other things are in place.
“Once we finish up with foundations, we’ll go ahead and speak with alumni because what we’re trying to do is be able to reach out to every chapter of the National Alumni Association,” Gillum said.
Bland and Gillum’s goal for the endowment fund is $25,000; both hope that the endowment will continue after they graduate.
“The whole goal of the endowment is something that will hopefully outlive James and me,” Gillum said. “Hopefully we’ll come back 10 years from now and see that it’s grown and still helps students in need.”
For Sylvia Prevalus, 20, it is important to give back through buying the t-shirts.
“I will help contribute by buying the shirts because we will not only support FAMU but also have the chance to help a fellow student,” said mathematics education student from West Palm Beach. “We’re giving back to our own community…I feel the phrase ‘I believe in FAMU.'”
“They’re very popular right now. Every time I wear my shirt someone’s asking me about it,” Gillum said. “The whole idea of selling them came from me going to an alumni crab boil and everybody there asked me ‘Monique, where can I get that shirt?'”
Gillum said the shirts will help people show their pride in the university and that they truly do believe in FAMU.