Every Tuesday evening on the ground floor of the Reitz Union, the UF Student Government Senate meets to discuss and vote on legislation. During meetings, some Senators play computer games like Octagon, do homework in Canvas or scroll through social media. Seven bills have passed this semester and seven bills were passed last semester, compared to 19 last Spring.
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.
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.
Student government opened the ability for student organizations to submit requests for operational, event and travel funding Monday morning. Less than an hour later, an overflow of people on the website caused it to shut down. In an email, Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair Catherine Giordano informed organization alerted leaders and Senators of the form’s crash and apologized for inconveniences.
Last year, UF students did not partake in their long-awaited Spring Break. Administration canceled the break “for the purpose of making the Spring semester as successful and healthy as possible” and instead gave students an extra week of Winter Break. This year, students’ mid-semester break from March 5 to 13 came amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine invasion.
UF Senate swore in its batch of 50 newly elected senators and chose a new Senate president and president pro-tempore at the meeting. It was in the process of electing the members-at-large when the meeting was cut short, as the Reitz Union building closes at 11 p.m. The election results bring few changes to the chamber. Gator Party remained the supermajority while Change party remained the minority party. Gator Party’s candidates also won the election for Student Body president, vice president and treasurer, who will take office in April.
UF’s Transportation and Parking Services will convert 40 parking spots in Norman parking garage from student to faculty parking. Student Government leaders protest. The Student Body president and Student Body president-elect released a statement via Instagram and Facebook Saturday opposing the decision.
Howie Mandel filled the O’Connell Center with laughs in an event for UF students Monday evening. The comedian, America’s Got Talent Judge, Deal or No Deal game show host and personality spoke to a crowd of a few hundred students. Accent Speakers Bureau, an agency of Student Government that invites guest speakers to campus, spent $110,000 on the event, according to a contract; it included Mandel’s airfare, meals and hotel.
Students cast 5448 ballots on the first day of SG elections, voting in eight polling locations across campus from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Last Spring, 1146 ballots were cast on the first day. During the Fall, 4697 students voted on the first day. Ballot counts do not include absentee ballots.
More than 100 candidates, including two independents, will run to represent the Gator, Change and Communist parties in 50 Senate seats, which are organized by college and year Change and Gator parties also have candidates running for the executive ticket, which includes the Student Body President, Vice President and Treasurer. Polling locations will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The locations are the J. Wayne Reitz Union Computer Printing Lab, Health Science Center Library, Norman Hall Educational Library, Southwest Recreation Center, Springs Library and Recreation Room, Broward Recreation Room, Levin School of Law and Heavener Room 202.