By Hannah Beatty
From platform initiatives to student organization funding, here’s what you should know about Student Government this semester:
- Student Body President: Ian Green
- Student Body Vice President: David Enriquez
- Student Body Treasurer: Stefan Sanguyo
- Senate President: Michael Murphy
- Senate Pro Tempore: Libby Shaw
Senate meetings: every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Reitz Union Chamber (first floor)
Spring elections: Feb. 19 - 20
Of 32 platform initiatives from the Spring and Fall election cycles, Green said 22 were accomplished. This included the promotion of the African American Studies Program to departmental status.
Another 19 initiatives were implemented in the past year, including the Bridges Minority Outreach Program, Green said.
Ten initiatives are still in progress. This includes listing mental health and emergency hotlines on Gator 1 cards and the expansion of ATMs on-campus.
Murphy said the Budget and Appropriations Committee, led by Sen. Emily Dunson (Impact, District A), will begin meeting with academic and student organizations to build the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. There is about $1.5 million in funding available for these organizations, Murphy said.
When it comes to legislation, Murphy is looking forward to a Gator Dining meal swipe program, led by Sen. Mauricio Perez (Impact, Lakeside), for food-insecure students.
As of October, there are 23 Inspire senators and 65 Impact senators.
Minority Party Leader Felipe Gatos (Inspire, District D), said the caucus will focus on the pillars of accountability, inclusivity and transparency.
There is currently a District C mailing list, which sends Student Government updates to 10,000 students, Gatos said. A District D mailing list is also in the works to expand access to information, Gatos said.
The caucus will follow up with UF’s Chief Diversity Officer Antonio Farias about displaced Puerto Rican students after Hurricane Maria. These students were granted financial aid but have not received it yet, Gatos said.
“We have a reservoir of legislation that we have done and ready,” Gatos said. “We still need to make edits.”
By Taylor Roth
From parking accommodations to new learning programs, UF administration is introducing initiatives to further meet the needs of university members in 2019.
Virtual Learning Program
UF joined the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity this month to help faculty, students and administrators learn writing and professional development skills, said the UF Chief Diversity Officer Antonio Farias. The center is a national organization that provides career training to graduate students, post-doctoral students, administrators and faculty.
The program provides students and faculty with tips in strategic planning, work-life balance and maintaining professional relationships, Farias said. Over 400 university members have already joined.
“Academics have a lot on their plates, and this creates a community for them to interact with other scholars,” Farias said.
These classes are not given in most academic settings and are necessary for employees and students to understand how to work with each other to diversify their skills, Farias said.
Those interested can join the program for free by signing up on the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity website.
The northern half of the commuter lot on Gale Lemerand Drive closed Sunday as construction began for a new garage, said UF Parking Director Scott Fox.
The garage will open February 2020 and will have 2,000 spots, Fox said.
The project will cost $32 million and will close about 700 of the lot’s 1,100 spaces during its construction. There is temporary parking for students with green decals and staff with orange, blue or commuter decals.
Active Learning Symposium
The Bob Graham Center’s annual provost symposium will take place in February. Speakers will teach professors and faculty members how to incorporate interactive learning strategies in the classroom, said Shelby Taylor, the center’s spokesperson.
“This shows professors how they can make their classes more intriguing and hands-on,” Taylor said.
Faculty attendance is optional.
“We are trying to encourage professors to move past only using textbook-based learning,” Taylor said.
Gainesville City Commission
By Karina Elwood
The biggest issues the City Commission will face this year will be ones that were left unresolved in 2018.
Appointing a city manager
Mayor Lauren Poe said the commission’s first goal is to appoint a new city manager.
Former city manager Anthony Lyons resigned Dec. 11, three days after he was criticized during public comment for the number of city employment hirings and firings. Lyons will officially leave his position on Jan. 17, Poe said.
During the City Commission’s meeting the same day, they plan to pick an interim manager.
“That’s an extremely important position, so that is a really big deal,” Poe said.
Zero waste initiative
The zero waste initiative is another quickly approaching topic for the Commission, Commissioner Helen Warren said.
The goal of Zero Waste Gainesville is to be 75 percent waste-free by 2020, 90 percent free by 2030 and completely waste free by 2040, Poe said.
The most recent work the Commission has done toward zero waste is the first approval of a proposal to ban the use of plastic bags and foam containers on Jan. 3. If approved a second time, it will be implemented on Aug.1.
The next step in the initiative is to create a comprehensive waste management plan to learn about Gainesville’s waste and the most sustainable ways to manage it, Commissioner David Arreola said.
A recycling proposal for apartments and a composting pilot program also has to be developed, Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos added.
Affordable housing will be another big ticket item.
Arreola said there is currently no more room for affordable housing, so the commission has to look toward urban centers.
GNV RISE would have allowed for affordable housing to be built into Gainesville neighborhoods, but at the Nov. 29 Commission meeting, progress on the proposal stopped when the majority of people expressed concern about it.
Arreola said the Commission wants to meet with neighborhoods to get feedback and then amend the plan from there.
“There was too much confusion in the neighborhoods of what it meant,” Arreola said.