Florida A&M University school spirit has experienced a severe decline since I stepped on the hill in 2014. The stadium is not as packed on game day, school events have lackluster attendance, and Set Friday is not as full and vibrant every Friday. The overall feeling of being a one big happy “FAMUly” has been lost. Where did our Rattler spirit go? It could be that the new generations of incoming Rattlers don’t have the same drive for school spirit as previous years.
FAMU still has its same traditions that have been going on for years. Set Friday, Royal Court, Marching 100, have been a staple in FAMU’s campus history. However, the execution has been very mediocre and overall dull. Former FAMU alumna Shelly James spoke on her hill experience from 1990-1994: “I remember when cars used to be able to drive through the set blaring their music; students would skip class just to make it to Set Friday.” Nowadays the set may get crowded during the last thirty minutes to an hour of Set Friday and cars are definitely prohibited from driving through. School events such as Cram Jam or even school pep rallies, don’t have the same high attendance rate that FAMU is used to. “I noticed the lack of school spirit around my junior year, and I barely come on campus except for class because it’s just so dry around here,” said De’Aysa Moss, a fourth-year criminal justice student.
FAMU was once the poster campus of the HBCU experience. However, in this age of social media, it seems as though we have fallen short of being known as the best HBCU to attend. In order for others to support our HBCU, we as students have to uplift and bring in enough spirit for our university to re-gain the status of being the “livest” HBCU in the land. “When I came to visit my alma mater for Homecoming last year, I was very disappointed in how small the band was, the lack of excitement from the crowd, and the overall feeling was not what I was used to when I was a student here,” Howard Carter, a 1989 graduate, said.
I believe our spirit has died due to our new generation of students caring more about what status and positions they can obtain while enrolled than the actual excitement and experience of being a part of the university. It’s as though showing your spirit for our school is seen as “lame,” but having school spirit should be our way of showing our support for the university we attend.