To find a college that accommodates all of one’s wishes and desires is a difficult task, but the University of Florida has proven to be an institution that stands out for a multitude of reasons. With a campus that serves over 50,000 students, it is evident that the UF’s audience continues to grow and be supported by potential new students, current students and their families, and the proud alumni. As UF promotes diversity through their student body, organizations and opportunities available, students have the ability and are encouraged to find who they are, what they stand for, and surround themselves with the most innovative movers and shakers of the 21st century.
While students have their own reasons for choosing the University of Florida, they have also found their homes and secret getaways throughout the 2000 acres on campus and within the nooks and crannies of the 900 different buildings located throughout the area. These locations resonate with the rest of the student body and allow the campus to feel as if the Gainesville area is their own little slice of heaven, amongst the hectic nature of the college environment.
Some students shared their favorite places on campus include:
Hospitality Overall, Allison Jones has a distinct location that encapsulates the University of Florida to a tee. Allison said, “My favorite place is Row 90 of the Student Section in Ben Hill Griffin, particularly during sunset. Before the sunset, you can look around at the top of the stadium and receive a 360 degree, bird’s eye view of campus, with Century Tower peeking out through the trees and the distinct sound of the bells chiming in the distance. As the sun is going down, a blue and orange hue is apparent throughout the sky and serves to be a constant reminder of what it feels like to be a part of the Gator Nation.”
When not giving tours, Jonathan Frish a Florida Cicerone, has a special place in mind that he deems to be the perfect setting in the UF area. He goes ahead and says, “My favorite place at UF would definitely be this huge, glorious tree in between Farrior Hall in the Murphree Area. While it’s an awesome tree to marvel at and study by, I managed to walk about twenty miles around this tree in one week during my sophomore year, while campaigning for a Student Government election. That tree has since stood as a symbol of persevering through challenges and dedicating as much effort as necessary to make this university great.”
As the Campus Diplomats try to individualize the experiences of the entire student body, each Campus Dip has made UF their own through their own favorite locations on campus. Brooke Kaplan, a junior in the organization stated that her favorite place to be on campus is Lake Alice. Brooke mentioned, “While there I can escape from the rigors of school and just appreciate the nature and the beauty that comes with the Gainesville area that can be overlooked if we focus too much on the stresses of college.”
The Executive Director of Project Makeover, Chelsea Carrasquillo states that the Plaza of the Americas is her favorite place to be on campus. She says, “I love the Plaza of the Americas because it’s at the heart of campus and the Plaza is surrounded by nature and greenery. It is always enjoyable to take a study break from Library West by walking out to the plaza, eno-ing with friends, or just enjoying a Starbucks coffee in the newly-renovated area of campus.”
A Family Youth and Consumer Sciences Professor, Kate Fletcher eloquently voiced her opinion of the best place on UF’s campus with the Baughman Center. Professor Fletcher said, “It’s where me and my husband, Jared, got married. It only fits around 98 people, but it’s such a beautiful place of peace, reflection, tranquility, and light. The story behind the man who it is named after could make me cry right now and you need to look it up and read about him. The man made it to create a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of life.”
While everyone has their different places that stick out and make the university feel like home, the population of the University of Florida come together because they all have found their place within the Gator Nation.