This Week’s Feature: University of Florida

July 19, 2015

Located in Gainesville, the University of Florida is home to almost 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students combined. Known for great football and basketball, along with strong academics, Florida has been serving students for over 150 years. Whether you’re interested in applying to Florida or just like learning about universities, read on to see what great traditions the school has.

University of Florida

Founded: 1853

Location: Gainesville, Florida

Type: Public Research University

Size: Large

Undergraduate Students: 32,008

Graduate Students: 16,272

University of Florida Traditions:

Gator Football Games

Considering both its age and size, it’s not surprising that the University of Florida has a rich history ripe with traditions. Out of the many long-standing traditions here at UF, there are a few that stand out as the most important to the Gators. First and foremost, the football games are an experience not to be missed. Even if you’re not really a fan of sports, there’s just something about a game in The Swamp (otherwise known as Ben Hill Griffin Stadium) that’s extraordinarily exciting. In addition to the extremely creative tailgating before the game, there are fantastic performances by the UF marching band and cheerleading squad that create excitement and entertainment for any Gator fan. You’ll never find more school spirit anywhere in the nation than at a UF game, where students and outside fans alike know all the spirit chants and songs to help get the team riled up, and to celebrate a win. Every Gator has to attend at least one game before they graduate, and most choose to watch a lot more than that. Just make sure you wear your orange and blue!

Bat Houses

Another beloved UF tradition, this time a bit more unusual than watching football games, is taking a trip to the bat houses. The Florida Museum of Natural History, which resides on campus and is also worth a visit on its own, keeps a bat colony. On warm nights, the bats are released just after sunset and people line the street outside of the colony to watch as hundreds of thousands of bats are unleashed from the houses. The bat houses are actually one of Florida’s oldest and most popular tourist attractions. Seeing the bats fill the sky is truly an event to behold and something you’re not likely to find anywhere else.

34th Street Wall

When it comes to leaving a legacy behind, many Gators choose to partake in the tradition of painting the 34th Street Wall. This is a lengthy concrete wall that runs down one of the main streets in Gainesville at the edge of campus where students are allowed to paint and repaint messages. Oftentimes you can see students following this tradition as you drive down the street and there is usually always at least one new message. Leaving your mark on the wall in some form or another is considered a must for all UF students prior to graduation. Over time the wall has evolved into quite the interactive art display, gaining enough fame to warrant its own Wikipedia article (look it up!).

Aside from the “big” traditions, there are also some simple traditions undergrads and graduate students partake in such as taking a picture with the bull gator (a bronze gator statue outside of the football stadium), eating lunch with the Krishnas in the Plaza of the Americas, and attending Gator Growl (the massive concert-style pep-rally on homecoming weekend). In total, UF has over 40 traditions which can be found in the “F Book,” a guide given to all new students at orientation. Some are simple, others elaborate, and they are all part of the undeniably unique collegiate experience you will have at the University of Florida.

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