Busloads of Florida A&M University students will be heading to Orlando, courtesy of FAMU’s Student Government Association, for the Walt Disney World Florida Classic today.
Three buses were open to all students, on a first-come first-served basis, and two additional buses are reserved for SGA members and recruiters.
Student body president Monique Gillum, 21, a senior political science student from Gainesville, said she sees the bus rides as assistance to students on campus.
“We see it as a service to our university and our students,” Gillum said.
Although the cost for the entire trip is $245 per student, the student senate and activities and service fees cover most of the costs, leaving students to only pay $90. The price includes a ride to and from Orlando, hotel accommodation and game tickets. Seats on the buses sold out within the first week.
Gillum said the, rising gas prices and cost of the game as well as limited hotel space for the Classic weekend is costly.
“It’s a good deal for our students,” Gillum said. “For only $90, they get it all.”
Morris Hawkins, 34, a senior business administration student from Avon Park, who currently serves as SGA’s comptroller, said he would be traveling on an SGA bus to Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Although Hawkins is making the trip for official business, he said he hasn’t lost sight of what the bus rides are truly about for him – that’s Rattler spirit. “It’s an annual event and it’s a great opportunity to go support our football team,” Hawkins said.
Emmari Stitt, 18, a freshman biology student from Sarasota, also decided to purchase a seat on the bus so that she could go to support the football team.
“I already knew about the Classic,” Stitt said. “I wanted to go [because] it’s like the biggest football game of the year.”
Stitt said she is just happy SGA is providing a transportation option for students.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to go if they didn’t offer a bus ride,” Stitt said.
Because of the four-hour ride, as well as the hotel stay, Hawkins said the trip is a great opportunity to rally with other Rattlers.
“You definitely meet a lot of new people,” Hawkins said. “It’s mostly freshmen and a few upper classmen. You get to meet a lot of your peers.”
Stitt said she is traveling with two friends and hopes to share a room with them and create lasting memories.
“We all planned to go together,” Stitt said. “It hasn’t hit me yet, but I’m excited.”
Gillum said she still remembers the trip to the Florida Classic during her freshman year as a senator.
“It was one of the best trips I’ve been on,” she said.
Bus trips are offered for the Atlanta Classic, Florida Classic and two away games during the fall.
The possibility of having bus trips to away basketball games is another way of travel SGA is undertaking.
“It’s something to look at,” Gillum said. “The tradition has been set for football, but who is to say we won’t do it for basketball.”
Hawkins agrees with Gillum about the basketball trips and said the idea is being looked at for next year.
“Next semester we are thinking about bringing students for free to the FAMU vs. BC-U basketball game,” Hawkins concluded.