Alumni are pulling together for Thursday’s FAMU Day at the Capitol in hopes of moving the university forward with more funding.
Hosted by the FAMU National Alumni Association, alumni, students, faculty, and advocates of the university will gather at the state Capitol to address the needs of the university.
Col. Gregory L. Clark, president of the National Alumni Association, puts in work year-round, not just on the one day they meet at the Capitol.
“It’s been a year-round conversation on what we want to do. We do this on behalf of the students. We want to ensure that we give our students the best that they can possibly get and ensure that funding is there just as it is for all the other state university schools,” Clark said. “We hope that once you get out of school and get out into the workforce that you’ll remember it and you’ll give back some too.”
The day-long program begins with a kick-off breakfast and ends later that evening with a reception held on the 22nd floor.
Last year’s lobbying led to what Clark calls a “home run,” the approval of the funding needed to complete work on the Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) building on campus. Lawmakers awarded FAMU $24.8 million, prior to that the school received about $16 million, not nearly enough for completion.
Some of FAMU’s specific requests for funding this year include student success, FAMU online, a student affairs building, and Dyson Building renovation. In total, the Alumni Association is seeking over a billion dollars in financial disbursements.
In addition to meeting with legislators, students belonging to various colleges and schools will have tables in the Rotunda to display achievements.
Carmen Cummings, assistant vice president for University Engagement/Alumni Affairs, helps incorporate students into the overall schematics of the day.
“The students are the ‘U’ in FAMU. Because without the students there would be no university. I believe each year we seem to have more growth with our students. It really helps to have strong leadership. When students feel they’re valuable and asked to be a part, they want to be involved,” Cummings said. “While the alumni ambassadors are key voices, what better voice to appeal on behalf of the institution than the ones who put the U in FAMU.”
FAMU alumna Sabrina Demps knows the importance of solidarity when it comes to seeing change. Moving FAMU forward means raising the bar, she said.
“It is extremely important that state legislators know and understand the voting power that FAMU has. They have to know that when a representative like Ramon Alexander is requesting money or puts forth legislation to help FAMU, he is not by himself — he is speaking for the entire Rattler Nation. So the FAMU Day is a friendly but firm way to say, ‘Hello, we’re here. And we need you to work along with us,’ ” Demps said.
The FAMU NAA encourages other alumni, students, faculty, and friends of the university to come and show their support as they meet with legislators.
Rattlers are encouraged to dress in orange and green in support.
For more detailed information, contact The FAMU NAA at 813-679-3268.