February 19, 2021

Dear Students,

Yesterday was an amazing day for the University of Florida! I am thrilled to announce that UF’s third annual Giving Day was a tremendous success.
We witnessed the immense power of the Gator Nation and the love for the Gator student experience in action. Though some gifts are still being counted, UF raised more than $25 million from 22,198 gifts in just 24 hours!

Thank you to all for making this possible. Your gifts, social sharing, and personal stories made a resounding impact on the lives of others and will allow us to support future students’ success. Your drive and philanthropic spirit are incredibly impressive and affirms our commitment to this community.

I am also thankful to be able to share that the trend in COVID-19 numbers across campus and the state is very encouraging. In Dr. Michael Lauzardo’s recent message to campus, the seven-day average positivity rate among our routine surveillance testing is below 1%, and the number of cases this past week was the lowest weekly total seen since October. This is a major sign that your healthy behaviors including routine testing, practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask, are paying off. Your intentional decisions are helping us chart the path forward. Please keep it up!

Based on the progress seen and our current direction, the University of Florida announced today that we will host in-person commencement ceremonies this spring – with some modifications and capacity adjustments to uphold guidance from UF Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I personally am very much looking forward to celebrating the class of 2021’s accomplishments as the cohort joins the ranks of our amazing alumni worldwide.

We are also excited to expand our in-person events with our first Gator Recharge Days, taking place on Thursday, Feb. 25. These days were created to promote holistic wellness and allow you to have fun, rest, and renew your energy. We have encouraged academic courses, exams, or labs on those days to be limited, where possible. We will offer a wide range of events from sunrise to sunset across campus to provide you many opportunities to engage, and if you have academic requirements during recharge days, please know that we hope you will stop by as your schedule allows. I urge you to explore the opportunities that await via the full list of physically distant events available online.

Finally, I want to continue to keep you informed of the progress on traffic safety initiatives on the roads surrounding campus. In a letter to our campus community this week, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) shared the latest efforts to improve pedestrian safety along University Avenue (State Road 26). These include the adjustment of signal timing, the temporary installation of long, flat-topped speed humps, and a lower speed limit. FDOT technicians also plan on installing more traffic signals, enhanced crosswalks, and additional intersection lighting beginning this summer. All these efforts are expected to be completed within the calendar year, with many already underway.

Again, thank you for your tremendous efforts and support this spring. From donating to Giving Day to wearing your masks, your contributions to our community enhance the Gator student experience for all, and I am proud of how we are pressing forward and discovering new paths to engage along the way.

Have a restful and relaxing weekend!

Be safe and be well, Gators.
Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs

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