With the beginning of Summer A & C last week, let us be reminded of the opportunity that the Summer season presents. Summer is a time for us to not only get ahead of our academics but to also make advances on our personal and long-term goals. Summer provides us with more time to dedicate to our hobbies and to restore our work-life balance. So, take advantage of this time. Yes we find ourselves in an unprecedented moment, but today is the time to capitalize on tomorrow.
My administration has done just that. On Tuesday, the UF Student Government Senate passed a rent relief bill that will allocate $500,000 to students who might be struggling with rent payments as a result of COVID-19. My team and I will be releasing an application for these funds on Wednesday, May 20. Keep an eye on the UF Student Government website and Facebook page for updates regarding the rent relief application.
It’s important to note that the rent relief bill is just one of the many financial resources available to students during this unprecedented time. There are many financial aid applications out there, and it may be confusing. Here’s the deal for each one:
Aid-A-Gator - Aid-a-Gator is intended to grant funds to students in need of financial help for costs related to unanticipated travel, additional technology requirements or other needs related to an emergency situation. The maximum grant for Aid-a-Gator is $1,000. The best part is, all UF students are eligible to receive these funds.
CARES Act - UF has received funds from the CARES Act, which will then be allocated directly to UF students to help cover unanticipated expenses. There are some notable guidelines to receive these funds, so make sure to check out the Student Financial Affairs website for more information regarding eligibility. Students who do not qualify for CARES are still able to apply for Aid-a-Gator and SG’s Rent Relief program.
GNVCares - The City of Gainesville received $3.2 million in federal aid intended to help our community. Applications are available for small businesses and individuals experiencing a disruption in their income due to COVID-19.
In the month of May, SG has also provided a sponsorship to the Hitchcock Field & Fork Pantry in order to help stock its shelves and accommodate rising food insecurity. Because SG sadly could not host Spring Programming Events, we felt there was no better way to allocate our food budget than to give it right back to students. This sponsorship is intended to help purchase the essentials, such as food, toilet paper, non-perishables, baby items and menstrual products. Regardless of your financial situation, you should stop by the pantry. It is an amazing resource led by some very talented Gators.
Typically, Summer is a time where our new Executive Branch would be hosting Summer Programming Events for students to engage with campus life. While circumstances may have changed, our efforts to provide meaningful events have not. For the duration of Summer A, every Thursday at 8 p.m. you will have the opportunity to participate in our Virtual Game Show Series: Trivia Nights. Each game will give out $300 in prizes to about 20 students. Later in the semester, we will be kicking off the start of #UF24’s Preview Day’s and bringing a night dedicated entirely to UF-themed trivia. Start brushing up, Gators! Here’s the link to attend: bit.ly/ufgameshow.
Along with this, Accent Speakers Bureau will be consistently hosting virtual programming events throughout the summer. Be on the lookout for frequent sign-ups for the opportunity to listen to unique guest speakers.
To wrap things up, one of the best parts of being a Gator is the unparalleled feeling of being part of something greater. In times where the only constant is uncertainty, we have proven time and time again that our Gator pride is the driving force behind our everlasting resilience. From one student to another: be safe, have fun and go Gators!
Trevor Pope is the UF Student Body president.