The 2019 UF Student Government Banquet featured cowboys and charcuterie boards Wednesday night.
UF SG held its $20,000 event at the Champion’s Club in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Outgoing Student Body President Ian Green, Vice President David Enriquez and Treasurer Stefan Sanguyo gave their farewell speeches. Thirty-three awards were given out, and new Student Body President Michael Murphy, Vice President Sarah Abraham and Treasurer Santiago Gutierrez were ceremonially sworn in.
“Everyone here in attendance has had a unique role in the success of our terms, and for that, tonight is all about celebrating y’all,” Green said during his welcome.
Guests were greeted with “Year in Review” booklets that noted the administration’s successes over the past year. Accomplishments in the booklet included the 1,000 meal vouchers provided to UF’s Field and Fork Pantry, Library West being open 24-7 for the next three years and the addition of halal and kosher foods in on-campus dining halls.
These 150 booklets cost $600 at Target Copy, according to a public records request.
The money did not come from the activity and service fee that all students pay. Green said it was funded by outside revenue from events, such as the Housing Fair, Young Leaders Conference and the Florida Student Government Institute.
The night started with appetizers including a charcuterie board and a buffet line featuring brisket, collard greens and mashed potatoes by Celebrations Catering, which cost $10,521. This was the largest expense of the night.
Mackintosh Joachim (Inspire, District D) was the only minority party senator who was invited. He attended the banquet. Senate Minority Party Leader Ashley Grabowski (Inspire, Graduate) was not invited, but Senate Majority Party Leader Tony Emmett (Impact, District B) was invited.
Some Inspire senators were nominated for awards but they did not receive any.
In his goodbye speech, Green said his administration focused on diversity and inclusion. He cited his successes on this front as the Bridges Minority Outreach program and the effort to make the African American Studies program a department.
“We have used our seats at the table to bring awareness and actions for our respective communities,” Green said.
SG Chief Justice Erica Baker swore in Gutierrez, Abraham and Murphy after the farewell speeches.
The new executive elects’ terms will not officially start until Wednesday.
Murphy started his inaugural address by telling the story of the University of Wyoming’s slogan change in 2018. The university’s “The world needs more cowboys” slogan was called sexist and racist because of its gender exclusivity and erasure of people of color, particularly Native Americans.
The slogan won awards, sold merchandise and gained support from fans anyway, Murphy said.
UF has something to learn from the University of Wyoming, he said.
“Too often, campus leaders are paralyzed by the desire to make every student happy in every situation,” Murphy said. “Even in the face of broad university consensus, common sense goes out the window in favor of the path of least resistance.”