One of the most significant aspects of Florida A&M University would have to be its vast body of alumni. However, there is a growing concern about some of the university’s alumni being a little too critical of campus and its culture today. Particularly, those that haven’t made any contribution to their alma mater post-graduation.
Tension among students and alumni has risen and is creating a toxic environment. Most of the time, criticism from alumni can be found on social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter. This type of negativity is parasitic to the greatness of FAMU.
I had the opportunity to interview a couple of students and see how they felt about the criticism.
Khedgen Willis, a third-year public relations student, feels like some of the alumni need to be more understanding given what the campus has gone through.
“We are still in a pandemic, FAMU is changing and students are doing their best to stay involved during these times,” Willis said. “If you aren’t contributing to students’ growth and success then you shouldn’t say anything.”
Put yourself in the mind of a young and promising high school student. Your senior year is quickly flying by, and you have to start thinking about where you want to continue your education. You’re narrowing down your decisions and FAMU is on your list. However, one night as you’re scrolling through your timeline and see FAMU alumni arguing with students about the current state of the campus.
Look at the bigger picture. These comments are a much bigger issue than just simple disagreement. Alumni who shame today’s FAMU have a chance at hurting recruitment to the university. This is counterproductive when you see that the reason alumni are saying these negative things is because they too, want to see things on campus improve.
Campus Leader Chazriq Clark feels like those who choose not to contribute shouldn’t be so critical.
“I feel like it’s weird, to say the least, at the end of the day, if you love FAMU you should contribute,” Clark said.
Even some alumni of the University agree that negativity is only bringing the ‘FAMULY’ down.
Stephanie Alexander is a proud representative of the 2002 incoming freshman class and an alumna of FAMU. She feels like alumni of the university should do their part to support current students if they want a say in how FAMU is run today.
“You shouldn’t have any negative input if you are not contributing,” Alexander said. “You will never be criticized by someone who is doing more than you…current students should ignore the criticism and enjoy this special time in their lives.”
The solution is to let the good outweigh the bad. You can find a plethora of alumni associations to be a part of; associations that give back and uplift their beloved university. This is what being a part of the ‘FAMULY’ is all about.
The FAMU incoming freshman class of 2002, for example, is getting ready to celebrate their 20-year anniversary of first coming to FAMU later this year. The FAMU alumni association of 2002 is currently planning a reunion at the next FAMU homecoming later this year in October. Many of the 2002 class will be back to reunite and make a significant contribution to their alma mater.
With plans to spread positivity and give back in a big way, there is no doubt that the class of 2002 will be welcomed back on campus with open arms.
At the end of the day that is what being an alumni is all about. Going out in the real world to have a professional career, but also remembering where you came from. To the alumni of FAMU, times have changed. The student body of today’s FAMU has had to endure something that we have never seen before in the Covid-19 pandemic. The campus of Florida A&M University will never be exactly the same as what it was when you were attending, and that isn’t a bad thing. Alumni and current students should all be doing their part to improve FAMU.