The student senate passed legislation Nov. 19 to allot A&S fees to fund a trip to the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. The $53,410.76-trip will send about 95 Florida A&M students to Washington and provide hotel accommodations for the inauguration weekend set for Jan. 18.
Sens. Sean Siders,a fourth-year chemistry student from West Palm Beach, and Anthony Siders, a political science student from West Palm Beach, drafted a bill on Nov. 6 for the trip immediately after President Barack Obama’s re-election.
“We wanted to give students the opportunity of a lifetime,” Sean Siders said.
As the nation welcomed its first African-American president in 2008, Obama’s first inauguration broke many records, drawing a crowd of 1.8 million people to Washington.
Latalia Seidner, a fourth-year English education student from Miami, said the re-election of Obama is remarkable and after hearing about the possible event, “encourages the idea of the historical trip.”
At Monday’s senate meeting, the final details of the trip were voted on and approved by the senators who were present.
Sen. Gregory George, a third-year political science student, was skeptical about how the trip would be accessible to the entire student body. In response, Sean Siders said that each student, from the student body president down, will be on an even playing field.
“All students pay A&S fees, so the trip will be handled on a first-come, first-serve basis,” he said.
Activity and service (A&S) fees have been the main topic during the student senate meetings for two weeks.
Anthony Siders said the trip would be advertised objectively.
“We are working with the Office of Communications and General Counsel to ensure publicity is up to par,” he said. “All students will be notified in the coming weeks via FAMMail, (WANM) 90.5 (FM) and other various school publications.”
Both Siders are also looking for outside sponsors to pay for an additional bus to accommodate more students. Jared Eummer, a first-year agribusiness student from Brooklyn, said he hopes he has a chance to go on the trip.
Modeled after the recent Florida Blue Florida Classic trip, FAMU students will be able to electronically sign up for the inauguration trip, beginning in December.
During the first week of January, an enrollment check will ensure that only FAMU students have filled the 95 slots. A waiting list of 50 students will also be compiled in the event that some students do not show up on Jan. 18.
The four-day trip will not focus entirely on the inauguration. Students who sign up can expect a joint community service project with other HBCU students from Howard University and Spelman College. Also, a church service and a mixer with Student National Alumni Association DC Metro’s Alumni are in the works.
“We want to ensure that A&S fees are being spent to mix quality with quantity. This trip will be really important to the average Rattler,” Anthony Siders.