This year, Florida A&M University will host its annual national alumni association’s convention in Orlando, Florida. The convention will be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel and offers a hosts of activities for not only alumni of the University, but FAMU supporters and current students as well. The theme of the convention is “Back to Basics: Energizing that ‘ole Rattler Spirit.”
Alumni conventions serve many purposes such as an outlet for attendees to reunite with past colleagues and educational activities however conventions also seek to build a strong financial structure for the institution. When selecting a host city for university events, committees take many factors into consideration. Orlando is chosen partly because of local support, an active alumni base and the many attractions that draw tourist to the area.
Florida A&M University often calls Central Florida home for various reasons. The University has notably held events in the area that have been well received by supporters statewide. The Florida Classic was relocated from the Tampa Bay area in 1997 and has significantly increased in attendance. Currently, the Florida Classic is the largest black sporting event in the country. In addition, in 2006 Central Florida became the home of the FAMU Law School.
Businesses are being asked to help support the convention through donations and sponsorship. Gregory L. Clark, 1stVice President of the FAMU National Alumni Association & Convention Chairman said, “Local businesses should support the 2011 Florida A&M University National Alumni Association Convention because our alumni and friends support Orlando businesses all year long.”
John Morris, Promotions and Event Manager for Urban Sports and Entertainment Group helps to produce events that support HBCU’s and understand the importance of alumni support. Morris said, “Many HBCU’s are facing hardship and fighting to keep their accreditations due to a shortage of funding. If alumni don’t take the initiative to help support events when major sponsors are willing to donate funds, it will be received as if we are not willing to do our part. I truly feel like there are funds available, we just have to be mindful that someone paved the way before us and we have a responsibility to do the same for those who will follow us.”
Tasha L. Martin is the Director of Development, Industrial and Systems Engineering for the University of Florida. Martin identifies, qualifies, cultivates and solicits the College’s key gift prospects. Martin acknowledges that educating both the alumni and the community about giving is rewarding yet very challenging. When there are events involved, the giving is made much easier, however when prospects, students, alumni, etc are asked to donate many institutions miss a key element. Martin said, “It is important to understand a potential donor’s interest and educate them on how their interest can align with the mission of the university.”
Martin continues, “The key factor is education and making sure they understand how their gift can make an impact no matter how large or small.”
The more support the school receives the stronger it becomes in the community overall. While fundraising is a necessity, the entertainment and educational element this convention promises has many supporters excited about the outcome.
Clark continues, “This convention will act as the Rattler Family Reunion. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from FAMU President Dr. James Ammons as well as listen to the long awaited Strategic Athletic Plan from our Athletics Director, Mr. Derek Horne.”
Alumni of FAMU are often excited to participate in events and organizations associated with the university and the 2011 alumni convention is no exception. Roger Campbell, Institutional Healthcare Representative for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals majored in Business Administration at FAMU and then attained an MBA from the university in 1999. Campbell said, “When I reunite with FAMU alumni, it’s like seeing old family members. The bonds that we share in ethnicity, school experiences and professional work experiences are very strong. The energy is almost always positive and the foundation that we all received from FAMU is irreplaceable.”
The FAMU National Alumni Association Convention will be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, Florida May 18-22nd, 2011. For more information, log onto www.famualumniconvention.com or call (800) 627-8258.