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Friday, June 09, 2023

Student Government agency hosts second event with a guest speaker this semester

Lindsey Vonn spoke during a moderated conversation and Q&A session Monday evening

Screenshot of the event poster on UF Accent Speakers Bureau Facebook page.
Screenshot of the event poster on UF Accent Speakers Bureau Facebook page.

Just five days after leg surgery, Olympic skier and venture capitalist Lindsey Vonn spoke to a crowd of about 40 students spaced between pews of the University Auditorium.

Roxana Coche, a professor in UF’s college of journalism and communications, moderated the conversation with Vonn, which began at 7 p.m. on Monday. The two spoke about Vonn’s experiences on and off the slopes and her desire to transition from athletics to business.

Disconnected microphones interrupted the first 15 minutes of the conversation, though technicians eventually fixed the issue. 

The ACCENT Speaker’s Bureau event was the Student Government agency’s second guest of the semester. Howie Mandel spoke with UF’s journalism department Chair Ted Spiker Feb. 28. 

Students laughed occasionally as Vonn discussed her beer pong skills or shared funny anecdotes about her career, like her obsession with sticky notes and note-taking after her races.

“In honor of Women's History Month, ACCENT looked to bring in an accomplished female athlete to engage and inspire students with their story,” ACCENT Chair Jason Scheuer wrote in an email.

She also spoke about her work as an investor and philanthropist, including the creation of her own Lindsey Vonn Foundation, which provides scholarships and mentorships to youth in athletics and education. 

Vonn gave advice on how to overcome struggles with anxiety or self-confidence and how journaling has helped to improve her mental health. As a leader in ski racing, she discussed breaking gender norms like wearing makeup during competitions or racing in mens’ skis. 

Meghan Sorg, a 21-year-old industrial systems engineering senior, found out about the event Monday through an Instagram post and was joined by a friend. She’s attended other ACCENT events like gymnast Aly Raisman, entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary and Pitbull, she said.

“I follow the ACCENT speakers’ Instagram, so I saw it on there today,” she said. “I wanted to go because I like Lindsey Vonn; I know she's a great athlete and I've seen other athletes before.”

Jacob Coleman, a 18-year-old economics freshman, also learned about the event through Instagram though he was surprised more people weren’t attending. 

“I thought Lindsey Vonn is pretty famous,” he said. “I thought it'd be interesting to see what she had to say because I know she has gone through a pretty interesting life, like ups and downs.” 

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On March 30, Student Government Productions, another SG agency, will host a Summer Kickoff Concert with country artists Brett Young and Cole Swindell at Flavet Field. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m.. Tickets for the general public can be purchased at Ticketmaster for $30, and students can enter their student ID for discounted $10 tickets. 

Contact Maia at @BotekMaia on Twitter or

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Maia Botek

Maia Botek is a third-year journalism major and Spanish minor covering student government this semester. Maia is from South Florida and enjoys the beach, spending time with her friends and learning about the environment in her free time.

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