Young alumni may have enjoyed returning to the Hill to reconnect with old friends, but this year they also connected with the student body. Edward Long, Aaron Arnold and Oscar Joyner, three graduates of Florida A&M University, spoke at the Fourth Annual Young Alumni Giving event, coordinated by former SGA President Virgil Miller and a committee of other young alumni. The speakers looked back at their years as students, as well as expressed the challenges they have faced being in the real world.
Oscar Joyner, President of REACH Media INC., said there are multiple ways to give back to his alma mater. “In addition to writing checks, and being on the board, and coming back,” Joyner said, “the sky is the limit in how FAMU can use the contributions of our great alumni.” The attendance of the event from graduates turned local leaders such as Commissioner Andrew Gillum showed support from the community as well as support for the young alumni cause.
Joyner wasn’t the only guest speaker asking fellow alumni to give back. Edward Long, founder of Cut Yo’ Dang On Radio On, LLC, said it’s important for alum to give without expectations. “[We] need to create a habit in our culture of giving,” Long said. “Not so much to give to get in return, but giving so we can continue to give more.”
The YAG event held at Hotel Duval during Homecoming Week provided an opportunity for graduates of recent years to give back to the university through words of wisdom and inspiration. The purpose of YAG was not only to reach to the students of yesterday, but to the students of today as well. Mr. FAMU for 2009-to-2010 Brandon McCaskill said the event motivated him.
“Just seeing their faces and knowing they were prominent people on campus and they were giving back, ” McCaskill said, “inspires me to want to give back to the campus as well.” Homecoming was also a time for graduates to witness the recent construction uplifts on campus. Aaron Arnold, CEO of MusicIsMyBusiness, a 2000 graduate was most impressed with the transformation of the campus since the has left the Hill. “It’s amazing to come back to the institution and see it’s growth and evolution,” Arnold said, “but the school’s tradition is still the same.”
Homecoming week have ended, but to young alumni, the gift of giving is year round.