The highest of seven hills is celebrating two historic events – the 125th anniversary of Florida A&M during homecoming week and the re-election of President Barack Obama.
With celebrity appearances, high-class events and the aromas of fried fish, funnel cakes and jumbo turkey legs, many Rattlers from around the world have flocked back to participate in the homecoming festivities.
“I am truly excited to be able to experience FAMU’s 125th Homecoming celebration,” said Erneshia Brown, a senior administrative information management student from Royal Palm Beach. “Despite the negative attention the school has received over the past year, we always unite and strive for excellence, even through the biggest of obstacles.”
Although friends, family and alumni have come out in droves to help mark this year of history, homecoming was not the only reason students assembled this week. Tuesday marked another significant day in history – Election Day. Many students showed the same excitement for voting as they did toward homecoming festivities.
“I don’t think homecoming should serve as a distraction,” said Reginald Ellis, assistant professor of history. “I think that with it being the 125th anniversary, it was great that voting was incorporated with homecoming.”
Ellis hopes that homecoming helped promote voting and believes that the students’ choices to vote in this election spurred more excitement.
“I think that with the way the football season has gone in terms of the record and the fact that the ‘100’ isn’t there has kind of dampened the 125th anniversary,” Ellis said.
Around this time four years ago, Obama made history as the first African-American president elected in the U.S., and with the support of the “youth vote,” students such as those at FAMU helped Obama enter office.
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, the 2008 election had the third-highest showing of young voters, which is classified as adults between 18 and 25. Around 22 million young adults voted at the polls, which is two million more than those who voted in the 2004 election.
Ion Sancho, the supervisor of elections for Leon County, said it was pivotal for young people to have their voices heard.
“The youth vote is always important to the nation as a whole because it brings a different perspective, enthusiasm and idealism that needs to be brought to the public,” Sancho said. “It’s hard to show that division and wisdom without the young vote.”
FAMU students made sure their opinions were heard and were very adamant about reminding others of the importance of voting.
Jake Nounoume, a sophomore biology student from Riviera Beach, said there was strong pressure to vote on campus.
“Every day, someone new was telling me to go out and vote while I was on campus,” Nounoume said. “I think that students here have a great and clear mindset about what they wanted and were very passionate about this election.”