Attending the Florida A&M University homecoming game in Rattler paraphernalia, and donations after graduation are not the only way alumni give back to the university.
There are plenty of established programs with initiatives to actively support the institution.
The Student National Alumni Association is one organization that encourages students who still attend the university to become active.
“Get a Life membership as a student,” said William Miller III, 23, President of the Student Alumni Association and graduate student in the MBA program in the School of Business and Industry.
“Student Life membership is $500 as opposed to the $750 as Alumni.”
Miller explained that a part of the SNAA’s mission is to increase recruitment efforts at FAMU and prepare students to be effective alumni and enhance the university’s image.
He felt students are extremely visible stakeholders of the institution.
“Oftentimes students aren’t aware of the impact they can have on FAMU while still attending the university, taking a defeatist attitude, shunning opportunities to advocate for change within our institution.”
He wants students to know the university’s alumni care about their development.
James Bland, former SGA Vice President and spring 2008 graduate, agrees with Miller.
Under Bland’s term as vice president last year, the “I Believe in FAMU” campaign was launched in efforts to help boost student morale about the university.
Bland said the benefit of actively partaking in a campaign like this is, “The reward of knowing you are serving a purpose far greater than yourself and that purpose is helping to ensure FAMU continue to stand as an excellent institution of higher learning.”
“It’s the responsibility of alumni to give back to ensure that our children and grandchildren have a better FAMU to attend,” Bland said. “I hope the current SGA administration will continue the campaign and develop programs to encourage students to give back.”
Dontaira Terrell, a recent public relations graduate, plans to join SNAA. “I would love to say that everyone supports this university as much I do,” she said. “Hopefully, organizations like the young alumni associations and the “I Believe in FAMU” campaigns will help students and former students see why it’s important to take pride in their alma mater and ultimately, give back.”
Miller added that personal experiences should not hinder support for the school.
“If you have negative experiences at FAMU, don’t become disenchanted with your university; rather, see that as an opportunity to first develop the strength, patience, courage, and wisdom to deal with the issue and then look for ways to help solve the under lying structural issue that most likely is impacting numerous other students like yourself.”