By Frances Stephens
How do you unwind from a stressful week of classes and personal obligations and find a social life? For many students at Florida A&M University, the answer is Set Friday.
Students, faculty, clubs and organizations come out to what is known as “The Set” every Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. to display the latest trends, listen to DJ Loosekid play their favorite songs, support local businesses and just enjoy the ambiance of being at an HBCU.
Originally known as “Market Friday,” Set Friday started back in 1993 giving students the opportunity to display their entrepreneurship and sell items. It eventually expanded and became a social event as well.
Attempts to reach FAMU’s Office of Student Activities to get more in depth about the origins of Set Friday were unsuccessful, but the event is looked upon fondly by many Rattlers old and new.
“Those were honestly some of the best times of my life. No matter what happened throughout the week, I knew Friday was coming and me and my partners were going to live it up like it was our last,” said Walter Godette, a FAMU Alumnus. “It’s like as soon as you stepped on the Set everything that happened prior was irrelevant.”
Set Friday not only resonates with students, but faculty members as well. Dr. Charlie Toomer, former choir director and a FAMU alumnus, gave a different perspective on the set.
“When i was teaching at FAMU students would anticipate Friday…they could be having the worst week where they felt like everything was going wrong, but when Friday came around you would see a whole different side of them,” Toomer said in an interview. “The energy on The Set was so positive and family like back then, how could you not temporarily forget about everything negative and just enjoy it for the moment.”
For many students Set Friday is a tradition they first heard about from their parents who are FAMU alumni. Many looked forward to when they would arrive on campus to see the event for themselves.
First generation Rattlers like Mikayla Jenkins, a second-year business major, also cherish The Set and see it as a temporary getaway to just have fun.
“Being a business major, I am constantly bombarded with work and very little free time,” said Jenkins. “Even on Fridays and the weekend I have to get up early and attend study sessions just to ensure I am on top of my work. But I also feel like it’s important for me to enjoy the college experience and just have fun sometimes.”
Jenkins said the location of The Set is very convenient for taking a break from her studies. “I love how Set Friday is near the library. I can leave a study session for an exam I was just stressed about and only walk a couple steps to be surrounded by all my friends, listen to music and just relax.”