An Open Letter to the FSU Haters

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Dear FSU-Hater,

I’ll never forget the day I told a family friend about my decision to attend Florida State University only to hear the reply, “So you’re going to school with a bunch of rapists?”

Over the years, people formed a negative opinion of the Florida State University community (ESPN, what’s good?). We’ve been stamped with a beer-stained label in the shape of a red solo cup reading “party school.” Presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio summed up every negative statement about FSU in a bullet sentence heard around the country during an interview with Iowa’s KXNO 1460 AM: “I think there has to be a school where people who can’t get into University of Florida can go to college.” In order to hopefully reverse this negative stream, the Florida State community gathered to inform you, dear reader, what we wish you knew about our beloved school.

“There’s more to Tallahassee than clubs and getting wasted. There’s so much nature, art and culture here if you look.” – Laura Powers, Studio Art, Freshman

“FSU has had three Rhodes Scholars in the past 10 years, which is three more than every other Florida university combined.”— Kimmy McMillin, Political Science, Freshman

“I think the thing we should appreciate about FSU is that it’s a school that encourages student expression and preserves expression within our library archives and our courses.” – Jacob Craig, Department of English Graduate Teaching Assistant

“No matter if we know one another, we are still able to come together as a unit, a family and grieve or celebrate as a whole. We truly are FSUnited. Nothing has taught me this more than being a Marching Chief.” – Katie Lebow, Environmental Science, Sophomore

“Florida State has a large number of engaged, friendly alumni. While I was a student, I had many conversations with alumni, many of whom were friendly and willing to spend time to help out a young law student. The alumni network provides a great way to find connections in various areas of life, who are willing and eager to help a newcomer become involved.” – Charles Scott Edwards Greenberg, College of Law alumnus

“We handled the Strozier Library shooting so positively and showed a lot of support to the victims, especially Ronny Ahmed, through Youcaring. We raised money for his recovery exponentially fast.” — Austin Crawford, Social Work, Junior

“A lot of people have misconceptions about FSU because we have a reputation as a party school. But with 40,000 kids enrolled, you’re going to have an awful lot of kids with different interests – did you know we have a Quidditch team that travels halfway across the country for tournaments? A satirical publication with a larger online following than the Harvard Lampoon? Two huge libraries that are standing room only every weeknight? An incredible cashier worker who greets every single person who enters our massive dining hall with a smile and an enthusiastic ‘Baby I love ya’? We’re much larger than our football team, or our bar and club scene. We’re not defined by the off-the-field actions of a few star athletes.” – Andrew Bryant, Economics, Sophomore

“We’re a campus of 40,000 students; there’s more voices to hear than the ones broadcasted over the news.” – Mary Beth Ritter, Theater, Junior

“I absolutely love Florida State. Though it’s not perfect, FSU is and will always remain a home away from home. When I applied as a high-school senior, I had no clue about the university’s history or its culture and was solely interested in the pursuit of higher education. I soon found out how it has an incredibly passionate student body and a plethora of amazing student-run organizations. Thanks to my four years at FSU, I have become the person I am today as my academic and professional careers were shaped by my experiences as a Florida State Seminole. Going to FSU was one the best decisions I ever made.” – Carlos Cribeiro, Digital Media Production and Studio Art, recent graduate

“What I really wish people on the outside knew is how good we are in so many things… There are no other colleges that even come close to doing what we do in the visual arts, performing arts, music and dance. I wish people knew that we all have a life outside of football… Then we go back to our work, we go back to our community service, we go back to our academic community… I wish people knew how great the undergraduate experience is here compared to like institutions, how they have opportunities that you will not get at major universities like you do at Florida State. I wish that people knew that at a 40,000-student university, that you ask most people and they feel like they’re at a small school. We’re very unique, we’re very good, and a lot of people don’t know it and it’s very frustrating.” — Mark Zeigler, Teaching Professor

As you can see, there’s a lot more to the garnet and gold than popular belief. We’re an institution of diverse, intelligent, strong and just plain awesome individuals looking to make our way in the world and change it for the better. Like any university, we share our strengths and weaknesses. We’re neither perfect nor the center of the universe nor do we claim to be. As our orientation leaders say, “Florida State didn’t tell me how great they were, they told me how great I could be.” As the beautiful, red-bricked campus smack dab in the middle of the capital of Florida, we simply demand your respect.

Sincerely,

The Florida State University Community

Tamiera is a sophomore studying Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. She is a proud addict of Coldplay, American Horror Story, and candy corn. Her life’s mission is to travel the world, publish her novels, and finish a tube of ChapStick.

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