March 5, 2021

Dear Students,

March marks one year since COVID-19 arrived on our doorstep and completely changed the way we live.

Throughout this year, I saw you persevere and pivot. I witnessed your strength, resilience, creativity, and compassion. I continue to be immensely grateful for our students who have selflessly committed to adopting healthy behaviors to support to the community. You all have helped make progress possible and have truly lived your values by showing kindness for one another. UF recently launched a new webpage to enable students, faculty, and staff to reflect on the past year – here, you can find the photos, metrics, and stories that have defined our year as a community.

March also denotes the halfway point of the semester and the beginning of midterm season. From March 8-13, UF is holding Wellness Week to support you as you tackle the exams, group projects, and papers ahead by connecting you with free resources and leisure activities. From “Meditation for Calming the Busy Mind” to “Sunset Restorative Yoga on the Plaza of Americas,” workshops and activities will be held each day. I encourage you to view the schedule and find ways to practice mindfulness exercises.

Looking for a place to hit the books on campus? Locations such as Newell Hall, the Reitz Union, and the libraries are all open to you. Or find a new favorite study spot on the Virtual Student Union’s list of study locations. If you are studying outside, you can now borrow hammocks from GatorWell in the Reitz Union for use on the North Lawn. All you need is a Gator1 Card. You can also use your Gator1 Card to visit Lake Wauburg and study on the beach or under a pavilion.

Beginning today, UF students, faculty, staff, and others registered to vote in Alachua County can participate in early voting for the 2021 City of Gainesville election. Early voting will take place Friday, March 5, through Saturday, March 13, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Reitz Union’s Career Connections Center on the Ground Level. Masks and social distancing will be required at the polling place. Vote-by-mail ballots may be requested online or by calling 352-374-5252 by 5 p.m. on March 6. The ballot must be returned to the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. on election day, March 16. Local elections matter, and so does your voice in our community!

You can also make your voice heard on campus. Applications are now available to serve on the Reitz Union Board of Managers, Recreational Sports Board of Directors, or O’Connell Center Advisory Board. This is an opportunity to serve, gain valuable leadership experience, and help make decisions that benefit all students at UF. The deadline to apply is March 8 at 11:59 p.m.

Finally, I want to continue to keep you informed of the progress on traffic safety initiatives on the roads surrounding campus. In a recent 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). To date, the signals on University Ave. have been retimed to slow speeds and the flow of traffic. Temporary work and striping began this past Sunday, February 28, and permanent thermoplastic striping is expected to be completed by the end of March. The upgrading of all remaining crosswalks at various locations along University Avenue to add special emphasis to them is also underway. Temporary work and striping are expected to be completed by the end of March. FDOT is also procuring speed tables which should be installed in early Summer 2021. Once this is completed, FDOT will perform an engineering analysis on their effectiveness and reduce the speed limit to 25 mph. Again, as these initiatives move forward, I will continue to keep you updated.

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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