Florida A&M has the “juice” right now and The FAMU Connection is the reason why.
The FAMU Connection is an organization comprised of students and staff members who put together a production in order to recruit new students to the university. The production requires the cast to be able to sing, dance and act all while providing its audience information about the university.
In hopes to appeal to their market, the cast performs fun and knowledgeable takes on hits like “Worlds Gone Crazy” by Mary J. Blidge, “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan, “Suge” by Da Baby, “I Like it Like That” by Cardi B and “Juice” by Lizzo.
Andrea Small, director and adviser for The FAMU Connection, said, “It’s amazing to see students who have enrolled into the university after seeing our show come up to me or the cast members and say that we were the reason why they came to FAMU.”
With the choreography containing upbeat and energetic dance moves, a lot of physical and vocal training is required. Bootcamp begins for the cast a week before school starts and it runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. During the school year rehearsals are held on weekdays from 6 – 9 p.m.
Returning cast member Sherrod Taylor, a junior, said, “I really didn’t pre-train this year because I was busy with work and classes but it was very difficult for the beginning of camp. Going into the end of bootcamp and into the beginning of the first school week it became second nature to me; just like the previous years.”
Even with all of their hard work and traveling, the organization sees little to no financial support from the university.
When traveling, the cast and crew are provided a small stipend for meals, if they are rewarded a stipend for that trip. For the times when the cast and crew does not receive a stipend on the trip they are required to pay for their meals out of pocket.
“I love The FAMU Connection and the role it plays for the university,” said cast member Bailey Haynes, “It would be nice to receive a little more financial support from the university because we take off time from our classes and jobs in order to travel on the university’s behalf for recruitment purposes.”