Unless you’re a student, you don’t hear about the little gems hidden all throughout the University of Florida’s campus. UF has a vibrant campus with a bunch of quirks worked in that make it all the more special. From the artsy statues to the beautiful flora, the campus offers a spectacle around every corner, that will totally knock your orange and blue socks off.
Check out these 10 University of Florida quirks that will make you even happier to call the Swamp your home.
1. Century Tower Chimes
You’ll stand in awe of this backdrop whenever you stop to hear the familiar chiming. “I love hearing the bells when walking outside or when I’m in Marston Library! They just make me happy,” junior at the University of Florida Lindsay McKishnie said. Century Tower sings you to and from your classes throughout the day. Every quarter of the hour, the bells will sound a familiar melody; and at the top of every hour the entire song is played. The tower was built on the school’s 100th anniversary in memory of the students killed in the World Wars.
2. Krishna Lunch
Watch students mouths water as they indulge in the savory delight of Krishna Lunch. “I love Krishna lunch. Not just the taste of the food, but the whole atmosphere is always very beautiful and relaxing. It’s a great way to appreciate the scenery of Plaza and make new friends or even reconnect with old ones,”senior at the University of Florida Joryan Hernandez said. Every day, Krishna lunch offers a vegetarian and vegan buffet at the Plaza of the Americas for only $5. A Starbucks coffee costs the same, except you get a whole meal. All around Plaza students picnic with their Krishna lunch, as the sound of Krishna chants of devotion ring through the background.
After you finish your Krishna lunch, you might consider walking the tightrope. Every day, a group of students practice their tightrope abilities at Plaza of the Americas. As great way to connect and meet different people, you’ll discover a new hobby. You can find students practicing for hours. Students can participate in this activity between classes or as a time to clear your mind before returning to your studies. If interested, get barefoot and join right in.
4. Turlington Plaza
If you ever want to know what event or next club to participate in on campus, just pass through Turlington and you’ll find many eager students happy to share their organization’s story. “The only place you’ll get swamped with fliers,” junior at the University of Florida Lisa Blanket said. Different organizations table there to promote themselves and recruit more members. Other people pass out fliers advertising events to get involved with or to promote different causes. Turlington also offers free speech, so you might see some debates here as well. And with a little luck, you might even see a flash mob.
5. Marston French Fries
Unfortunately, this statue only looks like french fries. I know, I was disappointed too.“Every time I see it, it makes me want to eat French fries,” Blanket said. This work of art that landmarks Marston Science Library.The french fries represent a symbol of art on campus. And while it might look like your favorite fried food, the actual name is “Alachua,” after the county Gainesville reside. This landmark can make for a useful central point when first learning to navigate campus your freshman year. You’ll find it between Marston and the Computer Science building
6. Mr. Potato
Where there’s French fries, there’s a potato. Located central of Turlington Plaza, the rock, given as a gift to the University from the Geology department, dates back 30,000 years. People tend to gather around here for public speeches and debates. You might also hang around here waiting between classes, to meet up with friends or try to make sense of where to go in relation to the potato. Also, urban legend has it that students dress the potato as Mr. Potato Head and decorate it for the holidays.
7. Free Food
A student’s two favorite words: “Free,” and “food.” Put them together and you have a really happy student. , “It seems like whenever I’m hungry there’s a pizza guy,”freshman at the University of Florida Haley Esperanza said. Often times, different food companies will brand themselves by sharing free food on campus. I’ve gotten free smoothies, Jimmy Johns and pizza as well. This marketing strategy has proven very effective on a campus with a bunch of hungry young adults, who also suffer from the broke college student status. With their delicious food, they suck us right in.
Seeing students hanging and catching some z’s from the trees at UF should come as no surprise. Especially now in the fall that the temperature is dropping, students love to set up their hammocks and rest between classes. It makes for a great spot to nap, read and relax your stressed mind. Often times you’ll see hammocks bundled; with a few hammocks in a row hanging from the same trees. This would definitely qualify as an Instagram worthy picture.
They don’t call it the Gator Nation for nothing. At every lake, you can spot a gator basking in the sun or swimming. Many students have even seen a gator crossing the street. And while visitors might get alarmed by this, locals love it (from a distance, that is). There’s always one to keep you company by the Reitz. “I love sitting by the lake while I’m talking to my mom and getting to see the gators nearby,” freshman at the University of Florida Victoria Tesh said. But remember not to get too close or you’ll easily turn into gator bait.
10. Tom Petty
With a year gone by since Tom Petty passed, his memory lives strong in the Gator Nation. As a Gainesville local, Petty is very important to UF students. At every Gator game, students come together to sing his infamous song, “I won’t back down.”McKishnie said. “I love that song, but more importantly, I love to see how everyone comes together for someone from Gainesville.” On October 20th, Tom Petty would have celebrated his 68th birthday. In honor his honor, a birthday bash concert held at Depot Park allowed different, local bands to cover his songs. In addition to this, a local park adopted the name Tom Petty Park to honor his legacy. A never before released song by Petty has recently come out called “Gainesville,” that talks about what Gainesville meant to Petty. His influence in this city will never die.