FAMU Day at the Capitol survives cuts

Budget cuts may have resulted in the cancellation of Florida State University and the University of Florida’s day at the Capitol. However, this has not deterred Florida A&M University’s celebrations.

Tola Thompson, director of governmental relations at FAMU, said they are still having FAMU Day at the Capitol because they are not FSU or UF.

“To be honest, given the numbers of graduates that FSU and UF have in the Legislature they never really have to have a day at the Capitol,” Thompson said. “Everyday is their day.”

FAMU has requested more than $23.7 million from the state to fund 14 projects. FAMU officials believe FAMU Day at the Capitol is an important event that can affect the amount of money the school receives next year.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that FSU day costs around $10,000. FAMU day costs fewer dollars at just around $6,000. Although this is still an expense, FAMU representatives said it is worth the money.

“We are in a little bit of a different position, with only five or six graduates in the Legislature.  We need this day to remind the Legislature of the FAMU’s contribution to the state,” Thompson said.

It is not certain that FAMU will receive all of the funds it has requested.

Thompson said the University is fully aware of the budget situation.

“Our budget was put together knowing full well what the state’s budget situation was.  The development of our budget was a 12 month process with the Board of Governors and each item is contained within the Board’s overall budget for the entire State University System.”

Students are looking forward to the event because they are aware of its significance.

Whitney Murray, secretary of student lobbying in SGA, said FAMU Day at the Capitol is vital to the survival of the University.

“This is probably the most important day of the year,” Murray said. “This day helps reinforce our needs to the institution that gives us money. It’s major because that’s how we secure funds on the state level.”

Murray said to prepare for the event she has asked many student organizations to participate. She has also been serving on the president’s committee for the event.

This year SGA is trying to increase alumni involvement by having more events. It is having an alumni gala March 18 and a networking brunch March 20.

The day will include entertainment provided by the FAMU Jazz Ensemble, FAMU Venom Dancers, FAMU Connection and University cheerleaders. President Ammons will be present.

FAMU Day at the Capitol is March 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.