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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Student Government announced the creation of a program to increase minority enrollment and diversity at UF on May 14.

The college readiness program, named “Bridges,” will work to reach out to minority high school students across Florida interested in attending college.

“It’s meant to bridge the gap between our minority scholars across the state of Florida,” said Omarley Spence, a 20-year-old economics senior, former Impact party president and program chair.

The program is built to work in three key pieces: engagement, visitation and bringing potential students to campus, Spence said. Bridges will connect with minority student leaders and send representatives to their high schools, sometimes bringing the students to visit UF.

Spence said he wanted Bridges to help minority scholars understand the components of the SAT and application essays to make them competitive applicants when applying to college.

“I think it’s a great idea,” student body president and former Black Student Union executive board member Ian Green said, “...I want to make sure that it’s a sustainable program that shows visible results.”

According to a report from UF’s Institutional Planning and Research from February 2018, about 57 percent of UF’s student body is white. The second-largest demographic are students of Hispanic and Latino origin, who make up about 15 percent of the student population.

Spence plans on having the program budgeted by June. Funding is still being negotiated but will come from SG and potentially campus and outside community partners, Spence said.

According to Spence, Bridges plans to launch this Fall.

Spence and Green hope to see Bridges flourish for the long term.

“I want my children to attend the University of Florida, as I did and so did my parents, and see they can really feel at home,” Green said.

Follow Dana Cassidy on Twitter @danacassidy_ and contact her at

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