If you're anything like me, you realize that attending and matriculating from the University of Florida was one, if not the, best decision of your life. There are so many things that can be said about the doors, hearts and minds that have been opened by the opportunity. Gators will understand this wholly. No further explanation necessary.
I have encouraged all of my younger mentees to attend a university away from home, particularly UF, if their credentials support attendance. Living and studying in a small, rural town is well-worth the sacrifice to attend a world-class institution such as UF. UF is a tough school to get into now-a-days, but not just because of its ever-increasing "Ivy League of the south" status, but sadly because of the decline in commitment to minority recruiting.
Have you been keeping up with the news about the drastic decline in black enrollment at UF? If not, read more about the issue here:
Jeff Schweers. He can be reached by phone: 352-338-3176 and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE FROM THE ARTICLES: “Falling black enrollment is not unique to UF,” Glover said. “Other State University System universities have experienced similar declines.” UF's black undergraduate enrollment fell by 876 students between 2010 and 2014, or by 28 percent.
Florida State University, the University of South Florida and Florida A&M also saw decreases in black student enrollment, but not to the same degree as UF. The state's eight other universities either maintained their enrollment numbers and percentages or saw an increase in both.
The University of Central Florida saw an INCREASE of 1,000 students — a 19 percent growth rate in its black undergraduate population. Black students grew from 10 percent to 11 percent of the undergraduate population.
“The recruitment and marketing environment has gotten tougher, no question about that,” said Gordon Chavis, UCF's associate vice president for Undergraduate Admissions, Student Financial Assistance and Student Outreach programs. UCF has an AGGRESSIVE COMMITMENT to minority recruiting, established by John Hitt when he became president in 1992.
Here's what you can do TODAY:
If you feel that UF has changed your life for the better and are interested in maintaining a strong legacy of Black and Afro-Latino achievement and excellence at UF and throughout the GATOR NATION, now is the time to get involved with your University of Florida Alumni Association:
- JOIN the UF Alumni Association. Membership starts at $40. Money talks, B.S. walks. We know this. You most show some level of financial commitment to be taken seriously.
- CONNECT with your local UF Alumni Association. Send your local chapter president a note telling him/her that you are concerned with the decline in Black enrollment and that you are poised to help in anyway needed. Also, Save the Date for Destination ABA, the UF Association of Black Alumni's first multi-city alumni experience taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Atlanta, South Florida, Tampa and Washington, D.C. Be vocal about your thoughts when you attend. ALL are invited.
- SHARE your reflections with new UF president, Dr. Kent Fuchs. President Fuchs is currently on a multi-city Listening Tour to meet with alumni, friends, media and leaders in Florida's major cities and selected cities nationwide. With stops in Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa and other cities beginning this spring, he will gather ideas and thoughts about how to shape UF's next era. Attend AND speak up when he is in your city or email him today.
We, the black alumni, supporters and friends, are here to help. We know what currently works and what can be tweaked in regards to minority recruiting. Let's open a dialog and get this challenge rectified. Step one, let our voices and concern be heard. Step two, meet with the new leadership at UF.
Comment below and let me know your thoughts. I am in contact with the UF ABA National President and will relay your thoughts directly to her.