The black population at UF has declined since Student Body President Ian Green’s parents graduated more than 30 years ago.
Now, Green is looking to be the catalyst for increased diversity on campus.
Six months after Green took office, more than 100 students gathered Tuesday night at the University Auditorium to hear his State of Campus Address, where diversity was just one of the things on the agenda. Green talked about new Student Government programs, outreach and student life.
The Bridges Minority Outreach Program, which was established in May, has been one step toward increasing diversity at UF, he said. The program works with six Florida schools from Jacksonville to Tampa to recruit minority students.
Green also talked about the new Diversity Programming Committee, which meets with the presidents of the university’s largest diversity organizations to talk about what the communities want from SG.
Val Raymond said he wasn’t surprised to see the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center study that surfaced in September, which gave UF an ‘F’ for race equity.
Raymond, the 23-year-old UF SG diversity affairs executive secretary, said the Bridges Program may be the most effective in combating this ranking.
“When the ranking came out, it was not a shock to many people,” Raymond said. “For some people who maybe are offended by the ranking, we don’t need to parse the numbers and say there’s been progress. We need to focus on what the numbers actually say.”
Beyond diversity, Green discussed several new SG initiatives, including an SG-funded lifted boat ramp for disabled students at Lake Wauburg North Shore.
Next year’s Gator 1 Card will include hotlines for the Counseling and Wellness Center and U Matter, We Care, Green said, and free on-campus tutoring services are in the works.
In January, Green said he’d lobby in Tallahassee to get UF more money to build more non-academic buildings on campus.
To help students rise in the top five public university ranks, Newell Hall’s quiet hours from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the third and fourth floors are instrumental in promoting individual studying habits, Green said.
Green said he has also worked to provide financial literacy classes to students called Cash Course with the Office for Student Financial Affairs.
“Programming is more than just putting on events and giving out free food,” Green said. “It’s about uniting us as Gators by strengthening the Gator nation as we know it today.”