Janae Moodie learned to count her blessings in kindergarten when her dad survived the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11.
Her father, Henry Moodie, worked in the basement of the south World Trade Center Tower doing electrical work. As the towers came crumbling, he managed to run out but left behind his phone so his family waited anxiously to hear he was safe.
After that day, Moodie’s parents constantly reminded her the importance of being grateful, she said.
“I could’ve lost him on that day,” the UF psychology senior said. “It taught me about the fragility of life and finding purpose in the day-to-day things we get to do because really none of it is promised.”
If she were to win the presidency, Moodie would become the first black female Student Body president in 32 years.
“It feels weird that it has taken that long, but it also feels humbling that the opportunity has come again and that I might be the one to fulfill that honor,” the 21-year-old said.
In January, Moodie resigned as the SG Senate President Pro Tempore and disaffiliated with Impact Party. Three weeks later, she created Challenge Party. She has had previous leadership roles in SG. Moodie was also a Florida Cicerone and the vice chair of The Big Event, a community service event, in its inaugural year.
When she was a senior in high school in West Palm Beach, Florida, she was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease through which the body’s immune system attacks tissues and organs. She became sick the spring before coming into college. Through her diagnosis and treatment, her mom gave her hope.
“One of the things she always says is ‘Make your mess your message,’ and so even when the world is crumbling around me, she’s always been able to recenter my life,” Moodie said.
Moodie said Lupus is an invisible illness, which taught her to be less judgmental.
“It’s taught me that you never know what people are going through because you can’t always see it,” she said. “At the end of the day, you don’t know what’s going on underneath all those layers.”
Katelynd Todd, 23, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in Spring 2015. Moodie gave Todd advice and compassion when they became roommates in Summer 2015.
“Janae is so willing to understand what’s important to anyone, and she’s so willing to understand what people are going through,” Todd, a 2016 UF health education alumna, said.
When Ian Green was 14 years old, he wanted a new PlayStation console.
To get one, he had to present the case to his mom, Val Green. The now 22-year-old presidential candidate with Impact Party gave his mom statistics and argued his grades were high enough to justify the new gaming console, Val Green said.
His mother said it was just one of many times her son showed his persistence for what he cared about.
“When he sets his mind to something, he really does go with it,” the 55-year-old said.
Val Green, a 1984 UF microbiology and cell science graduate, said she and her husband, another UF graduate, never imagined their son would run for Student Body president.
“Ian has helped to inform and shape our thoughts and opinions around how much things have changed on campus,” Val Green said. “It’s always wonderful when you can learn from your kids.”
In Fall 2017, Ian Green, a UF business management and economics senior, became the third black Student Senate president in UF history. His involvement also includes Florida Cicerones, Black Student Union and his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta.
He found his home at the Zion Baptist Church and started the Sons of Zion mentoring program with his dad.
“God always gives each person a purpose,” Ian Green said. “I discovered mine at Zion.”
He said he found his value in mentoring and still continues it in his work at UF.
“If I can just have the smallest impact on someone, that means I made somewhat of a difference, and that means the world to me,” he said. “By being intentional with your change and your mentoring, that’s how you foster a sense of community.”
Ian Green said his dad’s dedication to service inspired him to be a leader and serve others.
“We’re always willing to give the shirt off our backs,” he said.
In the sixth grade, Ian Green began volunteering by putting on a church service at a nursing home once a month. His dad preached to the guests while Ian Green sang in Marietta, Georgia, where he grew up.
Though Ian Green did it each month, he said he never saw the value in it until he was in seventh grade and his grandfather died. Then, he said he realized not everyone is fortunate enough to have family around them in their time of need.
“A lot of times people really talk about making a big, monumental change, but it’s the small things,” Ian Green said.
Revel Lubin grew up admiring thugs, killers and drug dealers.
The now 22-year-old grew up in Orlando with his mom until she died from a brain aneurysm when he was 11. His sister, Maude, adopted him and his three younger siblings when she was 24.
In high school, one of his classmates, Alexandria, lost her mother, and she began to cut herself. She was depressed and didn’t want to live anymore, Lubin said. He advised her on how to cope with loss, and she came back to school the next day and thanked him. She told him because of his advice, she didn’t kill herself.
Lubin, a UF criminology and African American studies junior, said two deans at his middle school changed his mindset by encouraging him to yell, scream, rant and pound the table instead of jumping to discipline him.
“I was considered the ‘troubled child,’” Lubin said. “My primary classroom became the administration’s office because my teachers didn’t want to deal with me.”
As he matured, he began to find purpose in his life. During his freshman year in high school, he served as class president.
Lubin said he has tried to emulate his freshman adviser, Mr. Mark Noel, ever since. Noel constantly made Lubin question what more he could do for the Student Body. Further than that, he showed him what leadership looked like firsthand.
Every morning, Noel would pick Lubin up for school and drop him off in the afternoon. Sometimes, they went out to eat at restaurants like Chili’s Grill & Bar, where they would share chips and salsa. Lubin said he couldn’t thank him enough because he would oftentimes go home to an empty fridge.
“He showed me in his position in how to lead and what leadership looks like,” Lubin said. “He’d ask, ‘How can I serve you?’ Or ‘What can I do to best help you?’”
Revel currently serves as the SG treasurer. In January, he disaffiliated from Impact Party and decided to run for Student Body president with Inspire Party. In the past, Lubin has served as a Florida Cicerone and was the cabinet director of Leadership, Development and Involvement on campus.
Jessilyn Boakye-Donkor, 20, met Lubin in their “First Year Florida” class. They’ve been friends ever since.
The UF business management junior said Lubin is like a spiritual brother to her. In Fall 2017, they prayed together while she was going through some hard times.
“Being able to pray with me in that moment just showed how great of a friend he is,” she said. “With him, I’m not led astray. His advice is definitely Godly advice.”