Exploring the budget of “The Experience”

Photo Courtesy of FAMU News.

Gucci Mane, City Girls, and Kodak Black are some of the headliners for this year’s homecoming festivities. One may wonder how Florida A&M University is able to afford such popular performers. With big acts come big budgets and this year was no exception.

This is the most expensive budget in recent years for the university. The cost for this year’s homecoming was $310,000. According to information on the FAMU Student Government Association’s website, the budget for this year was surpassed 2017-2018, 2016-2017, and 2015-2016 homecomings, which had budgets of $291,350, $186,000, and $210,000 respectively.

To make sure all working parts are in order, SGA starts planning the budget as early as possible.

For homecoming this year, the senate has been planning homecoming since mid-February. According to the minutes of the third senate Session Saturday, February 17, SGA Director Bryan Smith and Senator Hansberry suggested ways to save money and ensure pricing.

For Artists Expenditures, Smith recommended alleviating the promoter between SGA and the artists to decrease the overall cost. Senator Hansberry mentioned adding language to the governing SGA documents regarding adult involvement in handling serious homecoming matters, such as confirming artists, to ensure that SGA would receive favorable pricing.

Each year, it is the SGA Vice President’s responsibility to form a committee and plan homecoming. The 2018-2019 Vice President, Robyn Seniors, and the homecoming committee commenced planning over the summer.

“We started planning homecoming over the entire summer. Since homecoming is probably as early as it’s ever been, we started in the summer and had to do things in an immediate manor,” Seniors said. “Of course everyone is going to be scrambling for their outfits and everything in preparation for homecoming.”

Student enrollment plays a part in how much the homecoming budget is for each year. The more students that enroll, the more SGA has to work with a budget.

As the 2017-2018 Senate president, Rakeem Ford, mentioned the responsibilities of the senate president is to report the budget of homecoming to the senate and the general public.

“For every student we get $10.50 per credit hour,” Ford said. “So if we don’t have many students, we don’t have the best homecoming and we don’t have the money to bell all the bells and whistles.”

This year’s homecoming theme is “The Experience”, and it is evident in the cost. The price tag to book Kodak Black was $75,000 and to book Gucci Mane was $100,000. Along with these acts, the budget also includes vendors, other performers, and overall events and activities.

Having everything necessary completed promptly was essential due to the speedy approach of the popular week-long events. The Homecoming Committee’s goal was to give everyone plenty of time to save, plan, and schedule. A set number of options were presented to students through a homecoming survey, and the committee voted based upon the results.  

Keeping in mind, homecoming is not just for the students, but for Alumni, the community, and generally everyone looking to celebrate the history of FAMU. With over 32 events the committee is hopeful there will be something for everybody to attend and enjoy.

2018 – 2019 Student Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice, Audri Salter, hopes that each student will find something they enjoy. She wants participants to appreciate the traditional events and be open minded to attend the new ones.

“Homecoming is a very special event. This year we are really trying to honor the traditions we have in place, like our staple events like Taste of A Rattler, and the Homecoming Pep Rally,” Salter said. “We’re also trying to create and implement some new things, like Cupcakes and a Canvas. That’s an event I want to bring to the campus, offering an alternative to some of the other events. So, if you’re not into a pep rally and more of an introvert, there is something for you.”

FAMU’s Homecoming week starts Monday and has a schedule of events lasting throughout the entire week for everyone to enjoy.