UNF’s biggest problems heading into 2020

Emily Echevarria, Government Reporter

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The Student Government University and Student Affairs Committee get special insights into the problems plaguing UNF faculty and students through their Osprey Voice surveys. During the first committee meeting of the semester, senators sat down to evaluate the biggest issues on campus. What’s bothering UNF students? 

The answer:

Overcrowded dorms, One-Stop, sustainability, and sports, according to Osprey Voice proposals received by the committee.

Every month, the University and Student Affairs Committee does student outreach by surveying students on relevant issues, through Osprey Voice and Roundtable, and developing Senate and Joint Resolutions to help combat those issues. UNF students and faculty can submit proposals for topics they feel should be the subject of the next USA survey, which the committee reviews to decide what the next Osprey Voice will be on. 

While the results from the surveys give senators insight into how students feel about various issues, the proposed ideas themselves also give important insight into the biggest problems ailing Ospreys. In the past, the USA committee has looked into issues with parking, campus preachers, and participation in student government elections. 

Overcrowded dorms

One of the proposals reviewed during this meeting addressed overcrowded dorms and included questions like, “Where would you like to see more dorms on campus?” and “Are you satisfied with on-campus housing?” Senators discussed the proposal, and while many found the topic to be a relevant issue to students, the committee was concerned with what changes they could enact regarding this. 

The Osprey Villages. Photo credit Jonathan.

“My concern with doing this Osprey Voice is that we don’t have much say in what the dorms look like or how big they’re allowed to be, so I worry about doing this survey and not being able to use the data for anything,” said Chairwoman Kayla Dougherty. 

The problems students encounter with overcrowded or outdated dorms is a factor being considered during the current development for the university’s Master Plan, the design for how the university will proceed and develop during the next decade. The construction of new dorms, however, is limited by the extensive wildlife preserves and wetlands that encase UNF. 

“Tearing” down One-Stop

Another proposal considered by the committee this month addressed issues with One-Stop, like long wait times, slow response rate, and a general apathy towards students. Recently, a focus group sat down to address the major issues surrounding One-Stop.

One-Stop

“We basically just tore One-Stop down, figuratively, and they’re talking about rebuilding it, so I think there’s going to be some major reforms happening in the next year or so,” said Chief of Staff Ally Schneider. “People get very fired up about One-Stop.”

Revamping how Ospreys do sports

Senate President Pro Tempore Marisa Materazzi submitted a proposal focusing on student turnout at sporting events, with questions including: “Which sports team do you see marketed the most?” and “Have you attended a sporting event on campus?”

“I’ve never been to a sporting event on campus,” said Materazzi. “There’s no hype built around it, there’s no tradition.”

Basketball Court. Photo credit Jonathan.

Senators discussed alternatives to tailgates, the Osprey Rewards app, the Athletics department, and the marketing surrounds sporting events.  

The next Osprey Voice question

Ultimately, the committee decided to focus January’s Osprey Voice on sustainability. Questions will include: “Do you make a conscious effort to recycle?” and “How much do you think about the amount of water you use?”

The focus of the survey will be on students’ sustainable practices both on and off campus, such as plastic bag use with dining services and electricity conservation, as well as to, “get (students’) input on sustainable initiatives,” according to the proposal. 

Vice-chair Emily Jeffies advocated for sustainability to be the Osprey Voice for January, saying, “I think it would be in our best interest to have the data as soon as possible so we can try to get something done with it this semester.”

Jeffries wanted to include questions regarding on-campus housing, “because they have unlimited water and power,” and student residents may not be aware of how much electricity they are using. The survey will also ask whether students would support UNF if the university chose to invest in companies that produce and sell fossil fuels. 

January’s Osprey Voice survey will be conducted on campus on January 21, 22, and 23. 

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