Social equity can have a huge impact on the social, economic and environmental sustainability of a higher education institution. Because of this, UF has a wide range of critical policies and resources that promote diversity and inclusion at the student, staff and faculty levels.
UF has set goals to ensure that the university reflects the full complement of diversity and equity in its policies and procedures. As President Kent Fuchs explained, the progress we seek is fundamental to who we are at UF and to our expectations of ourselves. The Office of the Chief Diversity Officer facilitates the institutional plan to help the UF community embrace diversity and social justice, and the Dean of Students Office hosts the Multicultural and Diversity Affairs. The office seeks to promote awareness, understanding of differences, collaboration between cross-cultural groups, and foster a sense of mutual respect among the entire community. The office also provides UF faculty and staff with a program to learn tools for effective multicultural mentoring.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), environmental justice is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” There are several policies and programs at UF that touch on this intersection of people and planet in various ways.
Resources are provided to UF faculty and staff to ensure that all employees feel comfortable, safe, and heard. It is imperative that all employees receive equal opportunity and equitable treatment throughout their careers.
We learn from those whose experiences, beliefs, and perspectives are different from our own, and these opportunities are most accessible in richly diverse and dynamic intellectual and social environments. Sustainability also encourages collaboration and open communication. Good communication and a sense of community help us foster the relationships and conversations necessary to bring about change for sustainability as well as helping to foster a holistic cultural climate at UF. In partnership with Healthy Gators and the Office of Sustainability, Champions for Change Awards recognize those who have made significant contributions in the areas of sustainability and/or wellness during their time at UF. If you need to reflect and recharge, visit Wilmot Botanical Gardens, a peaceful space dedicated to advancing medical care, research, and service through its vibrant therapeutic horticulture program.
UF offers support and educational programming to create an inclusive learning environment for all students. Directly across from campus stands the Institute of Black Culture (IBC) and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures (La Casita). Rebuilt in the fall of 2019, the LEED-certified buildings offer lounges and study areas for students as well as staff offices and event spaces. These spaces are a vibrant example of some of the programs and policies that support the diverse student body.