UF is one of the top institutions of higher education in the state of Florida. Granted, this isn't saying much: its main competitors for the title are FSU and the University of Miami.

History: The school was founded in 1853 and originally located in the nearby city of Ocala, until the mayor of Gainesville offered the college some prime real estate in his city. The rest, if you'll pardon the cliche, is history. This year (2003), UF is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Programs: The university is composed of seventeen colleges which offer more than 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate programs. While none of UF's programs are truly stellar in national rankings (except for chemistry and tax law), the fact that you can switch from forestry to geomatics to Arabic while staying on the same campus is pretty cool. There are some 4,000 faculty members, 54 of which are Eminent Scholars receiving $1 million endowments annually. Florida's engineering and business programs are particularly well-respected. UF is #8 in the country in terms of royalty income.

Student Body: There are over 46,000 students here, making UF the fourth-largest university in the United States. 52% are sluts women, and 77% are Caucasian. The Asian ratio is only 6.8%, but you'd think it was higher after spending any amount of time on campus: most of the honkies at UF spend the majority of their time off campus.

The Campus: Shaped like a trapezoid, bounded by University Avenue to the north, 13th Street to the east, Archer Road on a diagonal to the south, and 34th Street to the west. The lib-arts and business buildings are located in the older northeast quadrant of campus, where Century Tower and Turlington Plaza are located. The computer science building, home of the famed "french fries" sculpture, is the dividing line between the old part of campus and the new part of campus, which begins around the sizable lawn of the Reitz Union and encompasses the many engineering and agriculture buildings to the south, culminating in Shands Hospital on Archer Road. To the west of the old campus lies Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, and the new College of Law building. Most of the northwest quadrant is taken up by the golf course, and most of the southwest by family housing. Among the interesting facilities on UF's campus: an 18-hole golf course, a functional nuclear reactor, an observatory for stargazing, and several ponds and lakes with live alligators swimming around.

Housing: The dorms on campus are divided into "West Campus," near the stadiums; "East Campus," south of the lib-arts sector; and "North Campus," on University Avenue. North Campus's dorms are the oldest, and those lacking air conditioning are the cheapest, and notably larger than their counterparts in other areas: of course, you pay for the discount in sweat until November. East Campus and West Campus's dorms are the standard for freshmen and athletes. The Lakeside complex, on the relatively isolated west side of campus, offers private rooms for each student, but prices are exorbitant: the Keys and Springs buildings are cheaper, closer to classes, and offer the same basic amenities, but they are only open to upper-division students.

Athletics: UF's biggest gig is the American flavor of football. The Gator Nation engulfs UF on game days wearing orange and blue, and parties well into the night after every victory. Florida's main rivals are Georgia, with whom they play an annual game in Jacksonville once known as the Gator Bowl; Tennessee, traditionally the other kingpin of the SEC; and, most importantly, Florida State, their age-old rival to the northwest. The Gators reached their playing peak under coach Steve Spurrier, who left in 2002 to coach the Washington Redskins: since then, coach Ron Zook has made an attempt to live up to the old man's record, but so far hasn't done a very good job.

Famous Alumni: Actress Faye Dunaway, senator/presidential candidate Bob Graham, governors Lawton Chiles and Buddy McKay, football gods Emmitt Smith and Steve Spurrier, TV gods Forrest Sawyer, Joe Scarborough, and Bob Vila, and ubergeek John Atanasoff. There are currently some 226,000 living alumni of the university.

Essential Vocab:

  • Albert - UF's alligator mascot. He has a girlfriend named Alberta. They are easily the most popular cold-blooded creatures in Gainesville.
  • The Alligator - The Independent Florida Alligator, the official campus tabloid paper, which has made an art out of being petty. Most people get it for the crosswords and the sports section.
  • The Bat House - Built to keep bats from infesting the stadium at night. Nowadays, geeks like to go there to check out the bats. Don't get too close: the fumes from the bats' droppings can overwhelm you.
  • Beat the Cocks - When the University of South Carolina's Gamecocks come to town, this is a commonly-heard phrase, often accompanied by strangled rubber chickens.
  • Burrito Brothers - A mediocre takeout across the street from campus, inexplicably made popular by UF's omnipresent business school faculty.
  • CIRCA - The Center for Instructional and Research Computing Activities: it runs most of the computer labs on campus. Its main lab, in the CSE Building, is often simply referred to as "the CIRCA lab." (Pronounced like "circle.")
  • CSE - The Computer Science and Engineering Building, which houses the main computer lab.
  • ELI - The English Language Institute, whose most noticable effect on campus is to bring legions of jabbering Korean and South American students to Norman Hall every day. The attic above the ELI is said to be haunted.
  • FSU - Free Shoes University; christened as such by Spurrier after Florida State coach Bobby Bowden gave shoes to prospective football players. Often cleverly extended to read "FSUCKS."
  • Gamma Delta Iota - The fraternity you claim to pledge if you hate fraternities. I've never heard this term, but Sylvar has.
  • Gator Chomp - A common cheer at Florida sporting events, where the band plays that ominous riff from Jaws and everyone claps their hands vertically in an alligator-like chomping-like motion.
  • Gator Growl - The annual homecoming show, held at The Swamp: usually draws headlining comedians and a number of video skits.
  • Krishna Lunch - On most weekday afternoons, followers of Hare Krishna come to the Plaza of the Americas and give out hot vegetarian lunches. They used to ask for voluntary donations, but nowadays they charge $3 for a plate and a drink. The lunches are popular, although there are a number of conspiracy theories about them (some say that the Krishnas slip saltpeter into the food).
  • La Casita - An old house across the street from campus which now hosts the Institute of Hispanic and Latino Cultures; essentially a chill spot for anyone who speaks Spanish.
  • Lake Alice - The lake in the center of the UF campus, which isn't used for much of anything except jogging.
  • Lake Wauburg - About ten miles away from UF. The university owns two properties around the lake: the northern one has boating and picnic facilities, while the southern one has sports fields, mountain biking, and a disc golf course.
  • Leonardo's - A pizza place slightly down the street from campus, and the canonical hangout of UF's hippies and Evil Liberals. Many of their employees are heavily tattooed and generally assumed to be lesbians.
  • O'Dome - Short for the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, where the basketball team plays.
  • Orange and Blue - The school colors; also a cheer where one side of the stadium says "ORANGE!" and the other side says "BLUE!" The latter is often mistaken for booing by untrained spectators.
  • The Porpoise - Short for The Purple Porpoise, an insanely popular bar/restaurant near the stadium. It recently went out of business and was replaced by a more boring place called Gator City. We all miss it dearly.
  • The Rock - A giant rock in Turlington Plaza where people often meet between classes.
  • Rowdy Reptiles - A group of die-hard Gator fans who sit together during basketball games. Nowadays, the Rowdy Reptile section is sort of regulated by the University Athletic Association, to ensure that it only houses homicidal orange-and-blue maniacs.
  • SG - Student Government. Heavily dominated by pawns of the Greek system. Despised by many, except those who get money from it. They have free printers, though.
  • Southwest - Short for Southwest Recreational Center, a large gymnasium on the periphery of campus where intramural sports are often played.
  • The Swamp - Slang name for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field, where the football team plays. Popularized by Spurrier. Now, the announcer always says: "In the Swamp, only the Gators come out alive!" It's hokey, but we still cheer.


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