There’s no question in Carmen Cummings’ mind what FAMU Day at the Capitol is all about.
Cummings, director of Alumni Affairs at FAMU and the coordinator for Thursday’s event at the Capitol, said it is all about FAMU unity.
“FAMU Day at the Capitol represents a collective show of unity among alumni, friends and supporters. Even though we have a tremendous debt of gratitude to our alums who make the sacrifice to come back to Tallahassee — the highest of seven hills — there is a reason that they do that,” said Cummings, a graduate of FAMU’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. ”It is because they love Florida A&M University.”
Cummings went on to say, “There are also those who are graduates of other HBCUs who call this community home, but because of what they see and the impact that this particular institution has on the lives of a diverse group of people and a diverse group of students, they too come and join us.”
The focal point for the occasion was primarily the desire to be prepared for incoming Rattlers. FAMU officials emphasized the need to find housing for the 12,000 students projected to enroll in 2020. Additional points of discussion were the top priority of $22 million for construction of the Center for Access and Student Success, $14.8 million to increase academic support services, $7.5 million for technology improvements and $1.2 million toward the university’s Brooksville agricultural center. Additionally, FAMU is asking the Legislature for an additional $6.2 million for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.
“There were a number of different schools and colleges representing the university, a spread out through the Capitol showing the diverse curriculum offerings that the university has,” said state Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Palm Beach and a FAMU alum.
“Additionally there were members — either alumni or students —walking from office to office advocating on behalf of the university for funding and policies that would affect FAMU in a positive way,” Powell added.
Participants showed they were not afraid to mix business with pleasure. For the reception portion of FAMU Day, food was served, laughs were shared, and music was played. It was only appropriate that the university’s own world-renowned, Marching 100 provided the music selection.
State Rep. Ramon Alexander, D-Tallahassee, shared his sentiments on the day.
“We had members of the Legislature, probably seven or eight senators here, a large contingency of house members here and it speaks to the diversity of the university and what we bring to the table. We just have to translate that into holding people accountable to make sure that we’re getting the necessary funds to support the university.”