Between party divides and agendas, UF Student Government has a new figurehead to manage party relations and act as a liaison.
At the Sept. 10 SG Senate meeting, Senate President Libby Shaw announced that Jacobi Bedenfield has replaced James Tyger as the SG Senate Adviser. Bedenfield will also serve as the new program coordinator with SG Advising & Operations.
Although this is Bedenfield’s first UF position, the 23-year-old has experience as a former Santa Fe College SG event chair and former Santa Fe Student Body President, he said. He is about three weeks into his new position and will earn a yearly salary of $45,000.
Tyger, who held the adviser position for seven years, has been the senior director for UF SG Advising & Operations since Summer 2018. He said leaving is bittersweet, but he’s excited for Bedenfield to step into the role.
“I have enjoyed spending my Tuesday nights with Senate for the last seven years,” Tyger said.
Bedenfield’s responsibilities include helping senators address concerns and providing resources to reach goals.
“I’m new to the University of Florida, so it’s been about learning, building connections and just making sure my students are good to go,” Bedenfield said.
After his time with Santa Fe SG, Bedenfield served as state president of the Florida College System Student Government Association.
Beyond Senate, he will work with Chomp the Vote, an organization that helps UF students with voting registration and education on politics.
Adam Kozloski, chair of Chomp the Vote, had his first meeting with Bedenfield Tuesday to discuss the overall framework of the year, explain Chomp the Vote’s goals for the semester and discuss its upcoming voter registration drive on Tuesday.
“Bedenfield exceeded all of my expectations,” Kozloski said. “He’s very well-suited to the job and proactive, and I can’t wait to work with him in the future.”
Representatives of both SG parties said they look forward to working with Bedenfield.
“The Gator Party is enthusiastic about the prospect of more resources available in assisting in the operations of Senate,” the party wrote in an email.
Inspire President Zachary Amrose said he hopes Bedenfield focuses on growth in SG outreach to students, especially on something as important as student organization funding.
Amrose said there have been problems in the past with SG’s ability to advise impartially between the parties.
“This is an area where there’s room for growth that I hope Jacobi will be able to bridge the gap with,” he said.
Correction: This article has been changed to reflect Adam Kozloski as the chair of Chomp the Vote and the voter registration drive on Tuesday. The Alligator previously reported differently.
Contact Emma McAvoy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @EmmaMcAvoy1.