Culture | December 13th, 2023

FAMU’s Progressive Approach to Cultural Preservation

By: Jewel Wells
FAMU’s Progressive Approach to Cultural Preservation

Nurturing talent and preserving culture is the soul of Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide.

In the profuse realm of academia, many components make pursuing higher education worthwhile. For many students, the opportunity to intertwine culture, experiences and knowledge is one of them. Culture is considered a fundamental aspect of life, making it equally valuable when cultivating any environment, particularly within the spaces of universities.

Marcus Garvey, a highly distinguished Jamaican leader and advocate for Pan-Africanism, once said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Many HBCUs intend to enhance the essence of community, considering most have a significant history of paving the way for African American students to pursue education in an identity-affirming environment.

Students at HBCUs, including those at Florida A&M University, find that their time at the university showcases a variety of cultures and backgrounds. LaTreasure Perry, a sophomore pre-architecture student, says the university broadened her experiences with culture.

“FAMU provides culturally rooted classes for students and offers opportunities for us to view different cultures through pageants and campus activities,” Perry said.

HBCU History: Creating the Space for Cultural Continuity

FAMU is amongst many prominent HBCUs whose history is deeply rooted in a continual mission of providing educational opportunities for African American students.

The efforts of this university to provide academic excellence have not only been maintained but progressed.

With the numerous successes obtained by the university, FAMU continues to develop ways to improve the quality of education and opportunities presented to its students. While education is an incredible priority, the university’s origin is particularly pivotal in the development of cultural preservation, expression and cohesion.

Over time, the commitment to these values has created a vibrant mosaic of cultural experiences, the essence of the FAMU experience, and quality opportunities presented to students.

“Students are able to express their culture and are actually encouraged to during Set Fridays, which gives other students an opportunity to participate in the cultural experience of their colleagues,” Perry said.

The Inclusion of Culture: A Global Community for Heritage

Within the inner workings of FAMU’s cultural framework lies a profound commitment to celebrating the inclusion of cultural identities. This devotion is reflected within the range of student organizations and clubs that saturate the campus, each offering a unique opportunity for several connecting experiences.

FAMU has over 300 Registered Student Organizations on campus. One chapter that specifically offers that experience at FAMU is the Haitian Club. This club has a distinguished presence among students.

Business administration student Jaiel Joseph is a leading member of the Haitian Club. He says the club poses as a testament to the importance of having such opportunities available.

“The way I preserve my culture is by connecting with other Haitians in the area and spreading awareness of the Haitian culture,” Joseph said.

The chapter provides the experience and space to inspire students to celebrate their backgrounds, bringing a piece of their home directly to the heart of the campus.

Commitments to Progression Beyond Academics

What makes FAMU unquestionably progressive in its efforts to maintain cultural appreciation is not merely the existence of such opportunities. Instead, it extends to maintaining a genuine appreciation and encouragement to recognize cultural identity.

This also poses a crucial element in promoting a healthy relationship between students and their personal connection to their ethnic identity.

The university has been known to attract a substantial range of students from various backgrounds, which places an emphasis on the university’s efforts to improve the quality of diverse cultural expression within its community.

FAMU extends its attention to numerous programs, community opportunities, and initiatives encouraging students to understand and appreciate diverse cultures.

In acknowledging such environmental dynamics, the university has created an integrating atmosphere, embracing a primary thread of culture that bonds the very things that keep the university true to its mission.

The perspectives of diversity at the university create a unique opportunity to preserve cultural origins, uniquely reflecting the range of a globalized world.

Vibrant Campus Life

Clubs and organizations stand as a powerful symbol of unity in an atmosphere ensuring students the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.

The opportunities presented within associations and alliances extend further than the benefit of cultural preservation as it also serves the purpose of artistic exploration, social cohesion, and the overall progression of the HBCU experience.

These philosophies are responsible for painting a vibrant picture of art, music, literature, and dance on the college campus. FAMU uses such principles to facilitate a space that contains academic excellence and artistic talent, posing as a breeding ground for advancement.

FAMU’s Progressive Legacy:

FAMU has shown a strong history of fostering academic success while equally prioritizing the quality of cultural experience, particularly for African American students.

HBCUs were initially created with the intent to provide a space for students to explore and nurture integral skills among scholars pursuing higher learning. Currently, FAMU stands as a testament to the progressive efforts to promote such values.

As the legacy of FAMU evolves, it demonstrates a clear model of the invaluable role cultural preservation serves and is an evident representation of how a solid commitment to appreciating culture holds the potential to shape individuals and create a newfound culture within the academic community they inhabit.

Johan Huizinga, a notable cultural historian, once said, “If we are to preserve culture, we must continue to create it.”

Like Joan Huizinga’s views, Florida A&M University has found value in cultural preservation and continues creating new opportunities within the educational space.