What started out as a normal day, soon became a day of huge impact for student Mitchell Kaye. He and his roommate were at a bus stop on campus when a homeless man approached them and asked for food. Without thinking, Mitchell walked in to a nearby restaurant and purchased a meal for the man. He used ‘flex bucks’ to do so – essentially a credit that is automatically included with most campus meal plans. Mitchell later learned that flex bucks do not roll over – if you do not use them by the end of the academic year, you lose them. Mitchell got into action. He brought a group together and planned Flex Philanthropy, an event to benefit community members in need. He held a food drive at the end of the academic year and encouraged students to use any remaining flex bucks to purchase non-perishable food items from POD Markets, which he collected and donated. The first year he conducted this event, he and his team collected 100 lbs. of food for the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank in Gainesville. Their second year was even bigger. Mitchell was able to recruit a group at Florida State University to join and together they raised a combined 285 lbs. of food. The proceeds benefited the University of Florida’s Field and Fork Pantry and America‘s Second Harvest in Tallahassee. The message of Flex Philanthropy is spreading to more and more schools. Through the kindness of one random act grew an event and then a movement. Mitchell Kaye‘s actions and motivation to help others are what have earned him the U Matter Hero award.
Dr. Joslyn Ahlgren made a difference and was part of the solution. A student was in severe distress and Dr. Ahlgren stepped up and provided the support needed to get the student the appropriate assistance the student needed. Dr. Ahlgren spent hours with the student including going with the student to the Counseling and Wellness Center and the hospital. We would like to thank Dr. Joslyn Ahlgren for providing a culture of care and living the U Matter, We Care philosophy.
Last year, a UF student passed away and Tony DeLisle came to action to honor this student and promote the U Matter, We Care message. As the one year anniversary neared, Tony (a former instructor of this student) was contacted by a high school 4H chapter from this student’s hometown. The 4H chapter wanted to do something that could help this student’s family and remember this student. Tony and the planning committee decided upon dedicating a memorial bike ride for this student. Tony dedicated his time working with Team Florida and the student organization, H.E.R.O.E.S., to make the memorial bike ride a success. Tony organized the ride with help from the Dean of Students Office, Rec Sports, Gainesville Police Department and University of Florida Police Department. Seventeen members of Michael’s family came out for the ride, which was led by the 4H club. The money fundraised from the ride went to help the student’s family. Tony is focused on making this ride an annual event. We would like to thank Tony DeLisle for providing a culture of care and living the U Matter, We Care philosophy.
Amanda, a sophomore from New Jersey, exemplified the ideals of U Matter, We Care during her shift at the O'Connell Center pool in early February. As the on-duty lifeguard, Amanda was contacted when someone saw a Gator who had fainted and hurt their head in a locker room. Amanda immediately responded by wrapping the fellow Gator’s head and kept constant communicating with the injured person while she and her colleagues waited for the ambulance to arrive. Thank you, Amanda, for being a UF Hero!
Cory, an employee at the O'Connell Center pool, assisted Amanda Harvie with the injured Gator who fainted in the locker room. Cory made sure that all appropriate medical supplies were available and assumed responsibility of the lifeguard stand to ensure that the rest of the swimmers were safe. Thank you, Cory, for being a UF Hero!
Eric, a senior and Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar mentor at the University of Florida, acted as a first responder to a student who passed out at the President's House. Eric was the first person to notice that a student fainted and immediately assist the student. Eric stayed with the student until EMS was able to transport the student to the hospital. Eric's heroic efforts continued as he followed the paramedics to the hospital, spent time with the student in the emergency room, and followed up with the student the next day. Eric's culture of care was appreciated by the student and administrators in attendance at this event.