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It’s time for FAMU to be a national player

By Ralph Cantave | Opinion Editor
On April 17, 2019

Ralph Cantave | The Famuan

One of the perceptions I had when I transferred to FAMU from the Caribbean was that it was a party school. While I do find that to be true to an extent, I was pleased when I found out that FAMU offered more opportunities to be challenged academically grow in maturity and develop life skills for life after school.

It often seems that not too many students are focused on excelling in school or preparing for the future, FAMU ensures that students have no excuse for failure. Whether it’s through study-abroad opportunities, scholarships, competitions or extra-curricular activities, the onus is on students to seize the day.

However, I believe that we can do more. I commend the School of Business and Industry for its weekly speaker series that it hosts, and introducing students to business leaders in the nation. I think this is one opportunity that all colleges and schools at the university should provide for their students.

At this moment, the United States is nearing the crossroads that will further decide the ideological course for the next generation. With more than a dozen Democratic candidates running for president, while touting support for reparations and HBCUs, I’m left asking myself, how are we seizing national attention or trying to lead the debates and discussions on these topics?

Last November, a well-known fellow Rattler, Andrew Gillum, almost created history on the grounds of FAMU, as students, voters and supporters hoped that he would be elected as governor of Florida. Since then, Gillum has become a political commentator on CNN, a Harvard fellow and launched a voter registration drive for the 2020 elections. Why hasn’t FAMU invited Gillum to host a speaker series or to start a leadership political action program?

I believe it’s not too late to aid Gillum in his mission, but we need to begin engaging movers and shakers who influence the course of this nation and the world. As automation, a growing competitive job market and economic uncertainty mounts, we need to make sure our voices are heard more on a national scale. A good start would be to invite every presidential candidate to FAMU’s campus and challenge him or her about their plans for this country and for African Americans.

We also have a number of alumni in various industries who can tell us about the realities of the professional realm, family life and community involvement. Despite the growing nationalistic sentiments the world is interdependent and in order to affect the world we first have to further impact the nation. FAMU is the second- largest HBCUs in the nation and it’s time we do more to influence public policy and be a voice during decisions and discussions on a national level.  

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