The cost of Homecoming

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This year’s homecoming budget was the most expensive in the past three years. According to information on the Florida A&M University Student Government Association’s website, the budget for this year was $291,350, surpassing 2016-2017, 2015-2016 and 2014-2015 homecomings, which were $186,000 , $210,000 and $88,500 respectively. 

The Senate allocates the budget a year before homecoming and that money is used by student government to plan for the upcoming year. The determining factor of the budget is the number of students enrolled at the university. The Activity & Service fee that students pay in their tuition is the money used to fund homecoming, and other activities throughout the year.

Rakeem Ford serves as the current Senate President and was assigned this year’s homecoming event. After homecoming, the SGA director and Ford will discuss and look at what was spent and report the finding to the general public and Senate.

“Student enrollment plays a huge role in the budget,” Ford said. “For every enrolled student SGA receives $10.50 per credit to carry out our duties described in our Florida State Statues.”

Planning and executing homecoming is a university wide operation that contains many moving parts.  Traditionally, the SGA Vice President appoints a homecoming committee that work together to make sure activities run smoothly each day. The Office of Communications decides what the theme will be each year, while the Office of Joint Operations works with the FAMU Foundation, who plans the alumni based events. Negotiation of contracts, such as vendors and artists that perform at homecoming, are handled by the SGA Administrators. 

The amount of time that is spent to plan homecoming determines what events and activities will take place each year. Homecoming planning is supposed to take place before summer begins. Changes of leadership and positions within SGA can make homecoming planning start later than intended. 

MBA candidate and 2016-2017 Student Vice President, Paris Ellis knows the impact of timing. She says that the leadership changes and events that took place during the 2016 elections made planning for last year’s homecoming much harder.

“For me, the timing was the most difficult part because, due to elections, I was placed in the position of student body VP in July and had only three months to plan an entire homecoming basically from bottom up,” Ellis said. “It was stressful at times and I had a lot of sleepless nights, but I had a great planning committee. We stayed organized and time management was very important to putting on a very successful homecoming.”

According to administrators, FAMU enrollment has increased 39% compared to last fall. With this increase, the desire for innovation of bigger and better events while still working to maintain tradition can be better sought out.  

Simone Nisbett, a fourth year business administration student and Joint Operations office assistant, likes events that both current students and Alumni enjoy. She is the former Organization and Finance Committee Chair, and helped plan this year’s homecoming. Her hopes for the future are that more students continue to enroll at FAMU.

“The best thing I say that students to have a better homecoming is to encourage more students to come every year to our school”, Nisbett said. “Because the more students that come, the more money that can be allocated not just to homecoming but to student activities across the board, so that students could have more things to do all year around.”