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Friday, January 28, 2022

Pathways to opportunity and involvement at UF

How much are four years worth?

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At a school with more than 60,000 students, it seems paradoxical that engaging with campus can be difficult.

When presented with so many opportunities, students can often experience a paradox of choice, paralyzing our ability to make a decision about campus engagement, civic consciousness or even just grocery shopping. 

But with the proper resources, students can navigate these pathways to involvement while becoming more confident in decision making.

Student organizations

UF offers plenty of student organizations built around identity, issue advocacy, sports, culture, professional pursuits, political affiliation and more.

UF Student Activities and Involvement provides the GatorConnect Portal to filter student organizations by specific focuses. Student organizations centered around social and cultural communities include Hispanic Student Association, Asian American Student Union, Black Student Union, Pride Student Union, Jewish Student Union, Islam on Campus and more.

UF Student Government presents opportunities to get involved with a UF SG party or agencies such as Chomp The Vote, Students Taking Action Against Racism and Gators Going Green.

Engaging with Gainesville

Students’ often temporary stay in Gainesville can leave impacts on the city that outlive our individual presence.

Gainesville For All is at the forefront of addressing Alachua County’s racial and economic inequities by bringing together residents and local organizations striving toward bettering the community. 

UF’s Strategic Development Plan has teamed up with students to form Engage Florida, a student-led group working directly with community partners on issues of homelessness, education, economic opportunity and community capacity. 

Students have the opportunity to preserve Gainesville’s environmental resources through tree plantings and other green-centered events with UF’s Imagining Climate Change initiative.

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Voting

UF offers a free service, UF TurboVote, available to all Gators from freshmen to alumni. It eases registering to vote, checking or updating information, requesting to vote by mail -- and sends a notification before any election you are eligible to vote in. 

With some combination of voting guides, conversations and more, you can make decisions on how to vote and who to support. 

Bob Graham Center for Public Service

The Bob Graham Center is UF’s center of civic engagement, housing various opportunities for students interested in bringing their unique skills to the world of public service through internships, student organizations, research, academics and more.

The center is nonpartisan and works to remove barriers to civic engagement. This extends to organizations such as the Bob Graham Center Student Fellows, Florida Political Review and Freshman Leadership Council; internships in Gainesville, Tallahassee and the U.S. Capitol; and research through Civic Scholars and Askew Scholars. 

The best paths to engage with the Graham Center are to join their newsletter, explore the website or stop by the second story of Pugh Hall to speak with an advisor at the center.

Brown Center for Leadership and Service

The Brown Center for Leadership and Service provides the structure and resources for UF students to assume roles of leadership and service on campus.

The BCLS spearheads and funds projects on campus, from leadership development — Projects for Peace, LeadUF and Changemakers’ Dialogue — to service opportunities like Campus Beautification and Florida Alternative Breaks.

involved with the BCLS, students can browse the website, schedule a meeting after taking the service quiz, or visit them on the second level of the Reitz Union.

Research

UF’s Center for Undergraduate Research is the hub of campus research. UF offers entry-level research opportunities such as the Emerging Scholars Program and the Graham Center’s Civic Scholars program. Both opportunities pay students who participate.

If you are not sure where to begin, you can speak with students involved with UF research through the Center for Undergraduate Research Board of Students, or attend one of their workshops or advising in Newell Hall.

Andrew Shodell is a UF English and political science junior.


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