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Monday, June 24, 2024

UF President Bernie Machen got some pre-Valentine's Day love Friday morning from a student group seeking to recognize him for his environmental efforts at UF.

UF's chapter of Florida PIRG, short for Public Interest Research Group, presented Machen with a "Green Valentine" in the President's Conference Room in Tigert Hall.

The group advocates for change on issues including the environment, higher education and homelessness.

Five of the 30 or so members in the group gave Machen the card, signed by hundreds of UF students, and asked him to be their eco-friendly valentine, to which he replied, "It would be my honor."

"Thanks for what you're doing," he said to the group. "It's your world and it's our world and, unfortunately, my generation has made it a problem for your world, and maybe together we can fix it," he said.

He said his environmental efforts are largely the product of student demand.

"I was going to get run over by the students if I didn't do something," he said.

But he said budget cuts will make it difficult for UF to maintain its commitment to sustainability.

He also noted that his wife has been looking into buying an electric scooter.

"My wife's all over it," he said. "But she will wear a helmet, I promise you."

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