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BOT aims to promote unity among students, faculty

Many changes are on the books concerning the Board of Trustees and the committees that govern UNF policies.

The BOT approved several agenda items at the Jan. 18 meeting, including the UNF Master Plan, and sent them to the Board of Governors for further review.

The Master Plan is the set of goals the university hopes to achieve as UNF continues to expand and grow in enrollment. It is updated every five years, with major revision every 10 years to align it with current missions and create a timeline for future progress.

The new Master Plan predicts enrollment will reach 25,000 by 2030, which would require significant revamping of the current campus.

Additions to the Student Union and renovations to Building 14 to accommodate a new dining facility are detailed in the Master Plan. Other changes include adding several academic buildings in the campus core and the construction of two new residence halls.

Shari Shuman, vice president of administration and finance, said the emphasis on conservation at UNF was not forgotten in the new Master Plan.

“The university, as you know, has a lot of wetlands,” she said. “And so for every building we build, you have to put some property in wetlands for conservation.”

Dr. Tom Serwatka, chief of staff and vice president, said keeping a natural environment at UNF is a very high priority.

“We really are sensitive to the fact that we’ve got a beautiful environment,” Serwatka said. “[We want] to make sure we’re protective of that environment. This shouldn’t become all asphalt and buildings.”

A new Osprey Creed, recommended by Student Government, was also approved at the Jan. 18 meeting.

Shuman said the new creed would be read at convocations and graduations.

The BOT made another significant change that will allow UNF Safety Rangers to issue parking citations.

In addition to policy changes at UNF, another committee was added to the BOT.

This semester, the Student Life and Facilities Committee was created so students could have their voices heard when it comes to business at UNF. The committee joins the already established Academic Affairs Committee and the Finance and Audit Committee.

Sitou Byll-Cataria, student body president, said the new committee will help create unity between students and the BOT.

“The student will have to be a little bit more prepared than just show up to a meeting and listen to what the trustees have to do,” Byll-Cataria said. “Now they have to prepare something and present something to the board. It will force us — a little bit — to do more work.”

Byll-Cataria said the new committee’s purpose is to continuallly better the lives of students at UNF.

The formatting of the Board and committee meetings also underwent significant changes.

Serwatka said the board and committees had alternating monthly meetings but have now decided to meet and discuss UNF policy on the same day.

The new format has committees meeting in the morning, a lunch composed of BOT members and either faculty members or students, followed by a full board meeting where the consent agenda is accepted and ending with a workshop with a designated topic.

“The thought was that if you brought them all together and they spent a whole day, there’d be more interaction among themselves and build a more cohesive whole,” Serwatka said. “We have to make sure there are more active conversations going on.”

Serwatka said the new format is similar to how other universities conduct business as well as to how the Board of Governors meets.

The next BOT meeting is scheduled for March 15 at 8:30 a.m. BOT and committee meetings are open to the public.

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