Over a breakfast of toast and Bold Bean coffee, Student Body President John Aloszka answered student questions on Instagram live on the morning of Sunday, March 22.
Using the Student Government Instagram account, Aloszka discussed Coronavirus implications on housing, finances, and the community. Students sent him questions ranging from “What if I rented a textbook from the bookstore and left campus?” to “How do I use this time productively?”
As for textbooks, the rental deadline has been extended and the University has provided free shipping to send the books back to campus. The UNF Bookstore has also provided additional options for free E-Books of textbooks.
The @UNFBookstore location in the student union is closed. Staff are available to process online orders and answers questions from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays via email to [email protected] or calling 904-620-2648. Find out more at https://t.co/akUsjNprkN. pic.twitter.com/PF3G98wqxr
— University of North Florida (@UofNorthFlorida) March 21, 2020
If you need help being productive in the age of remote classes, Aloszka has a few tips.
“You’re gonna have to create a schedule,” he said. “Create restrictions for yourself, like don’t eat Oreos for breakfast. I broke that rule yesterday.”
“I’ve been taking a walk every morning. That’s certainly something I would recommend to all or you,” he remarked.
Aloszka also discussed the new UNF Student Emergency Relief Fund, which he said would go to the UNF Foundation account and would likely be given out to students in need in the form of scholarships.
His previous attempts to provide paid leave to student employees have hit a bit of a roadblock due to state legislation, but he remarked that he has been working with State Representative Anna Eskamani to bring this issue to the Governor’s attention.
Another question frequently asked by students regarded refunds for parking passes, since students aren’t traveling to campus for the remainder of the semester.
“I know a lot of us think this is important. I think it’s important. But it’s going to be low priority for the administration,” Aloszka said. “That will be a decision that is coming at some point.”
Aloszka discussed the difficulties of providing aid to students and giving refunds for expenses like meal plans, parking passes, and housing, mentioning that there are state and federal limits on how much financial aid a student can receive.
“There’s only a certain amount of money that the University is allowed to give you, per the state and federal government. It’s based on your income and your financial situation, and so if you’re maxed out at that level, you’re not necessarily eligible for that money right now. That’s not to say that situation won’t change,” Aloszka said.
“This is sort of an unprecedented scenario we are all in, but do recognize that there’s only so much that UNF can do without permission from the state and federal governments,” he continued.
For resources that are accessible online, Aloszka stated that Student Academic Success Services, SI hours, and advisors are all available online and via Zoom for students that need assistance.
“Now is not the time to be making life altering decisions about grad school and med school and your career, when you’re super stressed out,” he advised for this transition to online classes. “Talk with your parents before you make any crazy decisions.”
Aloszka has also been meeting with the Provost and the Faculty Association President regarding Pass/Fail for classes, which can affect graduate school and medical school applications. Aloszka remarked that those higher education programs typically wish to see GPA’s for certain classes instead of Pass/Fail.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to do Pass/Fail so that it doesn’t affect students’ GPA’s,” he said. To do this, he’s looking at other universities like MIT, UNC Chapel Hill, and USF, who have already created policies of this nature.
Aloszka anticipates that many decisions regarding these questions will be announced this week, and advises that, in the meantime, students should closely follow UNF’s social media (Facebook and Twitter) and website for any updates.
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