August 14, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

Happy Friday!

Today marks the end of the Summer Session, and a huge congratulations is in order to all our students earning their degrees this weekend. Whether this marks the completion of your academic career or a major milestone along your journey, know that we are all so proud of you and here to support you through the transition to your next chapter.

Whether you are in Gainesville or afar, UF’s Career Connections Center (C3) is excited and available to assist you as you explore your next steps. C3 offers 30-minute virtual coaching sessions tailored specifically to meet your needs. You can discuss with them anything related to your career endeavors, including finding meaningful experiences, developing your network, connecting with employers, and graduate school exploration. I encourage you all to utilize these resources to help support you and your goals.

As we move along in the month of August, I am excited by the energy of students as you look toward the beginning of the semester. I have seen many of you unloading trucks and cars as you settle into your new university-area residences which signifies it’s officially go time!

You have been getting steady messages throughout the summer regarding how we must commit to protecting ourselves and each other in the midst of the global pandemic, and now is the time to really focus in and commit to healthy practices. Wherever you will spend the fall semester, you can make a difference in keeping our larger community safer by practicing physical distancing, limiting your contact beyond your household, opting out of larger social gatherings, and wearing a face mask. These are critical components in combatting COVID-19 and frame our core behavioral expectations if you are in Gainesville.

Last week the Black Student Union and Health Education Literacy Organization (HELO) hosted a student town hall where students asked questions to President Fuchs and UF Health Screen, Test & Protect director, Dr. Michael Lauzardo. I invite you to watch the Q&A session to learn more about the university’s preparation for fall semester.

Be safe, be well, and as always – Go Gators!
Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs


Early voting ends on campus tomorrow
From Monday, Aug. 3, through Saturday, Aug. 15, all UF students, faculty, staff and other Alachua County registered voters are able to participate in early voting for the 2020 primary election at the Career Connections Center in the J. Wayne Reitz Union. Hours to vote are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Parking for those voting will be available in the Reitz parking garage. Physical distancing will be observed in the polling place, and a mask is required.

If you are voting by mail, please note the ballot must be returned to the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. on election day, Aug. 18.

Have you taken the pledge?
The #IPledgeFlorida campaign is a student-led accountability initiative designed to protect the Gainesville community. UF faculty and staff are invited to join our students in committing to keep our community in good health by taking the COVID safety pledge and honoring it during the upcoming semester.

Learn more by watching this video and take the pledge at the #IPledgeFlorida COVID safety pledge website.

UF Gator Dining locations reopen with safety precautions in place
UF and its campus food service provider, Aramark, have announced their fall reopening plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to enhanced cleaning measures, including staff changing their gloves and sanitizing high-touch areas every 20 minutes, the two campus dining halls, Gator Corner and the Fresh Food Company, will close between each meal period to allow for sanitization. All Gator Dining staff will have a daily health screening and temperature check. Face coverings and gloves will be worn while working on campus, and enhanced hand washing procedures will be followed.

All retail locations are offering mobile ordering and contactless payment via the Grub Hub app. Learn more on the Gator Dining website.

Training coming this fall to begin to address racism, inclusion and bias
UF faculty, staff and students with experience with and expertise in racial justice came together for a half-day online retreat yesterday to discuss the skills needed to be successful and proficient in addressing racism, particularly anti-Black racism. UF Training & Organizational Development, in partnership with the offices of the Chief Diversity Officer and Student Affairs, invited “100 UF voices” to participate, including UF’s diversity liaisons, faculty with research expertise in racism and inclusion, representatives from UF faculty and staff affinity groups, and undergraduate and graduate student leaders from a variety of organizations.

In his June 18 statement to the UF community, President Fuchs outlined several steps the university would be taking to effect positive change at UF, including required training for all current and new students, faculty and staff on racism, inclusion and bias. In response to this charge, the group assembled yesterday began to define a recommended set of skills and abilities that will set the foundation for educational efforts to advance anti-black racism.

As a first step, beginning this fall, two new online training courses will be available:
• Managing Bias for Faculty and Staff
• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Students

The work of this group builds a foundation for a racial justice professional development framework that will continue to be developed and implemented with partners throughout the university. Watch for further details in the weeks to come.

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