July 31, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

August is here, and the anticipation for fall semester is at an all-time high!

After months of planning and monitoring trends, we are ready and excited to welcome students to Gainesville while continuing to engage our students remotely as well.

It’s go time! Over the next week, we will be sharing more of what to expect from your student life experience and how you can help ensure a robust semester for yourself and your peers.

The SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced yesterday that September 26 is the new kickoff for the 2020 football season. The season will now be comprised of a 10-game Conference-only schedule. More details are being worked out, and I encourage you to view the message from UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin.

On Monday in the Alligator, I addressed the concept of being ‘in this together.’ To me, ‘we are in this together’ means partnership. It means we must look out for one another. It means we are not alone.

That is why UF students, Santa Fe College students and the city of Gainesville are joining together to promote a safer, healthier community. Launching today, the #IPledgeFlorida campaign is a student-led accountability initiative designed to protect our Gainesville community. We want you to demonstrate your commitment to keeping the community in good health by taking the pledge and honoring it during the upcoming semester.

Whether you are taking classes in Gainesville this fall or joining us remotely, I encourage you all to take the pledge, share it on social media, and commit to responsible and considerate actions.

We are month away from the start of classes. Now is the time to increase intentionality of how you interact so we can start the semester fresh and with a renewed purpose.

Be safe, be well, and as always – Go Gators!

Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs


Hurricane Preparation
Now is the time to start preparing, as due to the global pandemic, items for which you would typically stock up may be more difficult to find. Please take the time to start planning and purchasing supplies as soon as you reasonably can.

UF’s key method of communicating with UF faculty, staff and students in emergency situations is the UF Alert system. Please take a moment to review, update and customize your location, emergency contact settings and related information in the myUFL system to ensure you receive emergency notifications from the university as we strive to keep you connected and aware of conditions that arise.

Our goals is to make information available and accessible as possible; to that end, family members can also elect to receive UF Alerts for the Gainesville campus by downloading the GatorSafe app to their mobile device. You can also monitor the @UF Public Safety Twitter feed, as well as the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, which offers a free Florida Storms app to share information regarding potential weather and hazards.

Early voting begins on campus next week
Beginning Monday, Aug. 3, through Saturday, Aug. 15, all UF students, faculty, staff and other Alachua County registered voters will be 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 prefer to vote by mail, you may request a vote-by-mail ballot here or call (352) 374-5252 by 5 p.m. on August 8. Please note the ballot must be returned to the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. on election day, Aug. 18.

Want to help support public engagement?
Student groups eager to increase voter engagement at the University of Florida are uniting their efforts through the Gator Get-Out-The-Vote Coalition to ensure high voter turnout this election season. The group is now inviting other UF entities to get involved.

President Fuchs joined coalition members earlier this summer to pledge his support for civic learning, political engagement and voter participation on the UF campus, and underscored his commitment by adding UF as a signatory to the national ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. If you or your office wants to become part of future Coalition efforts, you can request to join the Gator GOTV Facebook group.

UF Health Shands named among nation’s best hospitals
The UF Health Shands Hospital emerged as Florida’s top health center and one of the nation’s elite in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 Best Hospitals survey, with a remarkable nine medical specialties placing in the nation’s Top 50 — more than any other hospital in the Sunshine State.

The Best Hospitals rankings are based on survival rates, patient safety and specialized staff across 16 adult medical specialties at nearly 5,000 medical centers. U.S. News also analyzed survey responses from thousands of physicians as part of the rankings.

Read the full UF Health News article.

Virtual Student Union
Programs and events are continuing this summer on the Virtual Student Union. Stay connected with your Gator Student Experience by participating in workshops, programs and events, including:

• Attending the virtual wellness coaching program with GatorWell
• Getting your resume edited virtually with the Career Connections Center
• Support workshops through the Counseling & Wellness Center
• Finding community through student organizations, leadership development and student events

Financial Support for Students
The University of Florida has been allocated funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants. These critical funds will help eligible UF students cover expenses related to unanticipated travel, additional technology requirements, or other needs related to an emergency situation. Graduate assistants (this includes medical and veterinary residents), post-doctoral fellows and associates must apply as employees via the Faculty and Staff Aid-a-Gator program. UF Online, International, and DACA students are not eligible to receive CARES Act funding, but emergency funding for these students may be available through the UF Aid-a-Gator program.

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