Florida A&M students and alumni flooded the Capitol Wednesday to hear what state representatives and senators would say about their school and a new legislative budget that has been proposed.
With more than one-third of the students on campus majoring in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or health related disciplines, FAMU is taking the necessary steps to transform its economy to one sustained by knowledge and innovation.
The university has requested a budget of $5.1 million from Florida lawmakers.
Plans for the funds include $2.6 million allocated to FAMU’s health science programs to meet critical state needs. This will allow FAMU to train more students from diverse backgrounds to pursue advanced graduate degrees in the state’s medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing and other health related programs.
While spectators listened to the proposal, State Rep. Dwight Bullard stressed how important it is to attend these meetings.
Bullard said having many FAMU representatives is a plus because it says “we are here, and we have a voice.”
He continued, “You have a commitment from me as a house member to lobby for senate positions on FAMU’s budget allocation because it is the right thing to do.”
All schools have an opportunity to come to the Capitol and watch what is going on with budgets, financial aid and the students in general.
“That makes a difference when, hey, when are you free today for that session? I’m free at four! You lobby by sticking to the grassroots style,” said Jeffrey E. Branch, the legislative assistant to Senator Gwen Margolis and graduate of Bethune-Cookman.
Branch spoke on behalf of the event at the capitol.
“We are making great strides in educating the next workforce, and the economic engine of the state is higher education,” Branch said.
FAMU Day recognizes the university’s accomplishments and contributions to the state of Florida. It is also a day for students, administrators and alumni to meet with legislators and personally thank them for their support of FAMU.
Darryl Gordon, a member of the Student National Alumni Association from Sanford, Fla., said that he would help alumni lobby on behalf of the student body.