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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Guest Column: Updates from the Student Body president

Hello, Gators!

It’s March: the-mid-way point of the Spring semester! Hope you all had restful, yet fun, Spring Breaks! As for me, I’m currently focusing on finishing all of the accomplishments I promised you all last Spring as well as focusing on graduate school.

In February, we elected new executive branch officials and the best news was that you all voted to make remote online voting a reality! Remote online voting will hopefully increase student turnout in elections. 

In my opinion, our Student Government voter turnout is nothing to be proud of. I hope that in future years, we see more participation as voting gets easier through remote online voting. 

In terms of all of the developments we saw in this Spring’s elections, the system is real and I ran against it when I ran to be your Student Body president. It’s hard to be in a Student Government in which your voice is part of the minority, but it’s been an eye-opening experience, and I wouldn’t trade working for you all.

In February, UF’s SG and UF’s External Affairs was also hard at work lobbying the state legislature for increased funding for higher education. Among many issues, we particularly focused on mental health resources and funding for Norman Hall renovations. 

I am pleased to announce that, due to the hard work of SG and it’s External Affairs Agency, UF’s College of Education, UF’s Governmental Relations (the House and the Senate) and the Florida governor agreed to recommend $14.1 million in initial funding for renovation of Norman Hall this year. 

This brings much-needed funding to a historic building on campus that houses the top college of education in the Southeast. 

The building currently has electrical and plumbing issues, and it has asbestos and needs major upgrades to the roof. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system also needs to be upgraded. We are happy that our efforts, such as the #AbovetheNorm campaign and the “lobbying for the Gator Good” initiative, in which we had hundreds of students write postcards advocating for this initiative, were proven to be effective. 

Our state’s future teachers deserve adequate space to practice their craft, and we are excited that the state legislature responded to our concerns.

On other developments, SG released a new website. The last administration set the foundation by picking a design team to design the website, and my administration has been hard at work, including the great SG information technology, coding and adding content to this new website. 

With a new interactive and friendlier face, we hope that you all enjoy the new upgrade.

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My administration has also been hard at work to provide to you a farmers market. 

Fresh off the Farm is a local food festival brought to you by the Field and Fork Food Pantry, SG, UF’s Culinary Arts Student Union and the Gator Gardening Club. 

The festival is dedicated to celebrating local produce, local chefs, local farmers and clubs on campus that serve their local community. This event is the first of its kind at UF, is open to everyone and is taking place at the Field and Fork Gardens, by the bat houses, April 8 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

This week, look out for Chick-Fil-Hey with SG and the rest of the weekly Thursday events featuring Kevin, Nick and myself in April. 

We are working hard in SG to finish our accomplishments as we are still in office until the last week of school. If you have any comments or concerns, feel free to visit our website or email us. My email is president@sg.ufl.edu.

Until next time, ciao!

Joselin Padron-Rasines is the UF Student Body president. Her column appears monthly.

 

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