Ta’Alyiah Harris, a health science major at Florida A&M University, has been attending Set Friday since her first year on “the hill.” As she makes her way to the vendors, she takes in the booming speaker playing the latest music, the multitude of students gathering around to watch the fraternities and sororities stroll, and the inclusivity and bonding of a community.
Harris believes that Set Friday represents what FAMU is truly about and how the university keeps the “FAMUly” in tact.
So imagine her surprise when she learned about the recent notice that the Office of Student Activities has decided to reduce the weekly event hosted on Friday to every first and third Friday of the month.
“Set Friday being reduced to every first and third Friday makes me feel as if FAMU traditions are being lost. Student engagement has definitely decreased over the years, and after speaking to my sister who was on FAMU’s campus pre-COVID, she says Set isn’t nearly the same,” Harris said.
“I feel like FAMU has lost its traditions after COVID. However, I do think that the student body can work on getting to be the same,” she added.
The pandemic was a pivotal point in recent American history and what was left with it was the life we once knew. Although many experiences are being adjusted due to evolving times, the student body has been working diligently to keep that FAMU spirit alive and well among fellow Rattlers.
Zachary Bell, the student body president and a business administration major, explained the thought process behind the decision to reduce the number of Set Friday events and plans for students.
“It’s not necessarily to keep it at the first and third forever; it’s the fact that when it was every week, we were wasting time, energy, resources and money most of all,” Bell said. “So, we thought that we could increase the traction if we kind of limited the amount of times that it would happen.”
“I don’t think that things are any worse or any better,” Bell added. “I just think that it’s evolving for the times that we are in and that the culture will continue to come back year after year after year as we continue to adjust back to a sense of norm.”
As some students wrestle with the changes occurring among FAMU’s student life on campus, others believe a positive outcome will result from this new beginning.
Marcy Louissaint, a pre-occupational therapy student who transferred to FAMU from Broward College, is not opposed to fewer Set Friday events.
“I think reducing Set Friday will help student engagement because the numbers of attendance would increase greatly,” Louissaint said. “Not only do the students who engage in extracurricular activities get to showcase their objectives, but the vendors also get high clientele. It’s a win-win for everyone.”