FAMU staff, students and alumni lobby for CASS

Photo credit: Tallahasee Democrat 

Florida A&M University (FAMU) is encouraging students and alumni to contact lawmakers to support the Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) project.

A general notification was sent out to stakeholders over the weekend to contact legislators on how important funding the CASS project is.

The notification also asks stakeholders to ask legislators to support an amendment to include CASS in the preliminary funding recommendations.

Richard Moricette is the 47 Student Senate President Pro-Tempore for the 2017-2018 year. He believes that both current students and alumni are engaged in the effort to seek legislative support for funding.

“There is an initiative that they launched or a campaign launched on social media,” Moricette explained. “It’s to try to get FAMU alumni and FAMU students to email or get in contact with congressmen.”

Moricette says he is a student who will do anything to support FAMU.

“Do I plan on reaching out to lawmakers? Yeah,” Moricette said. “Anything to support FAMU, you know, I’m all for it.”

CASS is a key project for the university, and students have been encouraged to reach out to Sen. Bill Montford and Rep. Ramon Alexander, who have both said they support funding for the CASS project.

The building will essentially serve as a student affairs facility. The Center for Access and Student Success will house offices such as recruitment, financial aid, registrar and more.  

It will be located on Wahnish Way just north of Gaither Gymnasium. Also, having the facility built on the Wahnish site will save the university over $1 million. Originally, the student center was going to be built on the Diamond and McGuinn Residence Halls location.

The student center will be constructed by Ajax Building Corporation and is expected to be completed by 2019.

The Senate and House appropriations committees voted their bills out of committee earlier this week.

An update on CASS’ status will be provided in the coming days along with steps the university will take next to provide a course of action, as well as a consistent message by stakeholders to use in advocating for the university.

The one-stop student center will cost the university nearly $40 million. In early 2017, the university received $12.6 million for CASS. However, the university is seeking an additional $26 million to complete the project.

FAMU’s director of governmental relations, Barbara Cohen-Pippen, has been meeting with lawmakers to make the case for CASS funding. Just last year, Cohen-Pippen and the FAMU Alumni Association set out on the road to inform lawmakers and supporters on how more funding can benefit FAMU student success.

“We are encouraging as many students as possible to join our alumni and participate in FAMU Day at the Capitol and make their voices heard,” Cohen-Pippen said.

FAMU Day at the Capitol will be held Feb. 8, which will include meetings with legislators and informative sessions throughout the day.