B-CU Wildcat Day at the Capitol a Roaring Success
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni of Bethune-Cookman University descended on Tallahassee for Wildcat Day at the Capitol on March 25.
More than 200 students, faculty and staff boarded buses at 4 a.m. and headed to Tallahassee to lobby legislators for increased funding for two new initiatives. Scores of alumni drove ahead and met the group on the steps of the capitol.
Students and staff met with lawmakers and not only shared their concerns, but also learned how the government works. Carneal Waddey, who will graduate next spring, got his first taste of lobbying Tuesday. The 21-year-old, who’s majoring in hospitality management, said he feels he can apply the skills he learned to the business world. “It’s very unique to see what happens behind closed doors, between what you see on TV,” Waddey said.
B-CU is hoping for $1.5 million for the Entrepreneurship Institute and $1 million for the College of Health Sciences, which are slated to launch this fall. The College of Health Sciences will offer bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees and cover areas like nursing, psychology, aging studies, public health and athletic training. The Entrepreneurship Institute is intended to boost the number of minority and women-owned businesses.
During the rally, the students also talked about the Florida Resident Access Grant, which provides tuition assistance to full-time students from Florida attending private colleges and universities located in the state, said 18-year-old Allison Lee. The Leesburg native, who’s majoring in political science, said Tuesday marked her first trip to Tallahassee.
I got my first experience lobbying today and I really enjoyed doing that,” said Lee, who is the freshman class vice president at B-CU.
Bethune-Cookman doesn’t try to compete with the large state universities for funding, said B-CU President Dr. Edison O. Jackson, because the smaller school has a different mission.
“It’s not difficult if you have the respect of the elected officials and they see the work that you’re doing is useful and viable and in keeping with what they want,” Jackson said. “We were excited to take our story to the state’s top officials so that they can see that we are a center of academic excellence.”
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About Bethune Cookman University:
Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers more than 40 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 4,000. For more information, visit www.cookman.edu.