I hope you Gators all had a great Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and family! I am writing to you today with some updates on what your Student Government has been up to lately. I’ll touch on some new initiatives we’ve been working on as well as a summary of what else SG has accomplished so far this year.
First, I’m happy to announce that the SG printing network has been expanded to Fifield Hall on the southwest corner of campus. This computer and printer are located on the second floor of the Fifield lobby. Here you can use your balance of 250 free sheets of paper provided every semester by SG.
Next, I was so happy to see a sold-out crowd at our most recent show hosted by the Accent Speakers Bureau. On Nov. 6, Aly Raisman spoke to students and the community about her experiences as an Olympic gold medalist and within the #MeToo movement. Additionally, several students were chosen to meet Raisman as a part of a Fall platform point and the All-Access Pass. We wanted to give students the chance to meet with speakers, and this was a great opportunity to make that happen. We look forward to continuing this opportunity for future shows.
We've been busy working for students and I couldn’t be happier with all that has been accomplished by all the students within SG.
This year, I created two new agencies to serve the UF community through incredible programming. First is the Class Councils, led by Senior Class President Trevor Pope. The purpose of the Councils is to create traditions for students to remember after their time here on campus as well as to work with the University Alumni Association to add even more value to our degrees. This started with the #WearBlue campaign for the Lousiana State University game. This is an awesome tradition that I’m looking forward to seeing in the future!
Second is the Bridges Minority Outreach Program. Bridges looks to bring minority high school students from all across the state to UF. The program focuses on academic support and mentorship and works to facilitate free visitation days so potential students can see UF firsthand. In our inaugural year, we are proud to partner with six high schools from across the state.
Additionally, SG is working with the largest cultural organizations on campus to better serve all students through the Diversity Programming Committee. These meetings serve to create an open dialogue with the presidents of different organizations and to give SG more insight as to what students want to see. Plus, this gives organizations the chance to co-sponsor with not only entities within SG but with one another to help build strong relationships.
Keeping with the theme of great programming, SG has been working with the Student Financial Affairs Office to host financial literacy classes using the toolkit called “CashCourse.” Themes range from budgeting to financial aid and scholarships, so students have the resources they need to make solid financial decisions.
SG is constantly working on projects that directly benefit all Gators. This includes funding water stations that are provided at home football games outside gates 8 and 15, as well as providing backpack rain covers when Gainesville turns into Rainsville. SG has expanded the Kosher and Halal-friendly food options at the six P.O.D. Markets on campus and partnered with RecSports to create capacity counters for the campus gyms so students can always find the best time to get a workout in. Or let’s say you really want to share a great idea, voice a concern or simply want to get to know your elected officials a little better. Now you can schedule a meeting with myself; David Enriquez, your Student Body vice president; or Stefan Sanguyo, your Student Body treasurer, online with MeetingU. This is a digital platform that lets you video call with us from around campus or even if you’re halfway around the world.
If you’ve been keeping up with the SG Facebook page, which I recommend you do, you’ll also have seen some of the incredible shows put on by Student Government Productions and Accent. Speakers Bureau brought Young the Giant and Joywave to campus in October for the Rock The Vote concert. This was a packed event where students enjoyed free, live music while also getting registered to vote. Accent has been busy as well, bringing speakers like SNL’s Jay Pharoah and Mr. 305 himself, Pitbull, in partnership with Hispanic Heritage Month.
But of course, there is more to SG than shows and programming. We’re also working to make positive changes for students after us. That’s why my administration worked with Provost Joseph Glover to provide a long-term solution to fund Library West 24/7 for an additional three years without using Student Activity Fees. Also, in Library West on the fourth floor, we’ve worked with the UF Disability and Resource Center to not only expand the ProctorU rooms already in place but also to ensure they are accessible to all users, in order to alleviate the pressure of so many students taking exams.
Outside of the classroom, I worked personally with RecSports to bring an accessible boat launch ramp to the North Shore of Lake Wauberg. This launcher lifts the boat out of the water itself and up to the dock. This allows for easier access so that more Gators can enjoy a day on the water.
Lastly, I want to touch on the outreach SG has done outside of Gainesville. Over the summer, members of SG met with the student governments of all the other SEC schools at the University of Kentucky. There we exchanged ideas for new projects that could better serve our students. One idea that SG is currently working on actually came from this conference. Internal Affairs Chairman, Brett Oehrle, is working with Business Services to add different hotlines and resources on the back of Gator 1 Cards and expanding accessibility to these resources online. Additionally, members of SG traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with the entire Florida delegation in Congress as well as members of the Department of Education to discuss issues facing college students at UF. Topics included textbook affordability, continued funding of Pell Grants year-round, addressing sexual assault and the future of our undocumented students, among other topics.
This has been a busy but incredibly productive year so far. I am so honored to serve as your Student Body president, and I am looking forward to all the incredible things we can accomplish in the remainder of my administration. I wish you all the best on your final exams and that you all have a safe and enjoyable winter break. Thank you all and as always… Go Gators!
Ian Green is UF Student Body President. His column appears monthly.