A New Day At FAMU…
Destini Webster, FAMU Broadcast Journalism Student
For 130 years, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has continued to defy the odds and cultivate thousands of African Americans from across the nation into rising citizens. October 3, 1887 means so much more than just FAMUs founding date, it is also a celebration of the university still standing despite the many trials and tribulations over the years.
Every year there has been a birthday celebration honoring the university’s achievements and the students. Administrators, professors, students, and alum gather on the set to enjoy FAMUs birthday together during a celebration with tons of cupcakes, music, performances and good vibes.
Unfortunately for the last two years, the excitement about celebrating FAMUs birthday has died down and everyone is wondering who’s to blame?
Many upperclassmen that have been here longer than two years have noticed the change in student spirit and involvement on campus.
“I am actually lost for words,” says Kadarius Gardner, senior Information and Technology student. “ I remember every FAMU birthday, but my sophomore year takes the cake. You would have thought FAMU was a human being… there was a huge block party on the quad with fireworks, food, DJ Loosekid, and it was just so much going on but you could genuinely feel the love all those people had for FAMU in the atmosphere and I will never forget that.”
Well… has the love died down? Administration, student government, faculty and staff didn’t have the celebration they normally have during FAMUs birthday. Students were informed about convocation later on the following day, but as for FAMU actual birthday, there was nothing planned.
Freshmen Imani Thomas believes, “There is a change happening at FAMU. I only decided to go here because of the stories and pictures my cousin would show and tell me about… it seemed like a huge family and I love the love everyone had for FAMU and how they weren’t afraid to show it but now school just feels like school.”
The Student Government Association along with The Office of Student Activities typically takes charge of putting together the student celebration for founders’ day. Payge Williams, junior senator, says “There is no excuse and we will do better. There are a lot of changes happening on campus but we are going to make sure the new incoming senators understand the love we have for FAMU and why… hopefully that leads them to making sure next year that spirit is felt campus wide.”
On various social media platforms, thousands of alum posted about their experiences and acknowledgement of their successes FAMU afforded them. Alum near and far weighed in on the lack of school spirit on campus during FAMUs birthday.
Former King of Orange and Green Jarveal Baker says, “The spirit of FAMU is synonymous with the FAMU culture. I remember being at FAMU for the 120th Birthday where there was a full out celebration and we had Founders Day Convocation. It was a big deal! The school felt vibrant and decorated with orange and green. The 130th birthday felt real blah. I asked my sister and cousins who currently attend the University if there was a celebration and unfortunately they said no, most people just treated it like another day. I’m not certain if the university did anything on October 3rd for 130 years of Excellence with Caring, but if they did it was definitely not felt by alumni.”
Has FAMU birthday just become another day? Instilling the importance of celebrating our university’s history to incoming freshmen takes a village. Not one person is to blame. The leadership and staff have changed at the university; however, the spirit of FAMU should be properly transferred from old to new. The spirit is what makes FAMU the jewel that it is!