The Campus Beautiful

Recently a friend of mine commented that she though Vanderbilt had a more beautiful campus than UF.  Well, of course I took that as a challenge, even though I have never been on Vandy’s campus and have no burning desire to change that.  I won’t argue for my campus in terms of architecture, because even though some of it has wormed its way into my heart, overall, there are a lot of uninspired building on campus.  That’s not to say there is no good or even great architecture to be found (and of course, there will be a post on that one of these days), just that many campuses, such as UVA, certainly have much better architecture overall.

However, I think it would be hard to find a more beautiful natural campus than UF.  Trails snake their way across the campus, taking students through thick woods, past ponds and down to the beautiful Lake Alice.  Palm trees line some roads, while oaks and maples line others, arching over the roadways to form shaded tunnels of beauty.

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Even the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains that UVA is sited in, much as it hurts this native Virginian to say it, would be hard pressed to compete against the wild jungles of UF for pure beauty.

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The sheer number of trees on campus is amazing.  Gainesville prides itself on being a Tree City, and it really does show here.  Trees grow everywhere, providing shade and connecting the people to the natural environment.

Not just trees, though, there are layers of vines, bushes, grasses and flowers everywhere, mostly left in a relatively natural state.  Edges may be manicured, certain trees may be thinned out, but largely left to grow as they please.

Of course, it helps that there are ponds and even a large lake on campus.  Lake Alice is a wildlife sanctuary, dotted with small islands, and full of wildlife.  Squirrels and birds abound, ready to have their pictures taken, and at sunset, there is the bat house with its thousands of bats streaming out.

However, what really sets the UF campus apart are the gators!  They sit by the side of the lake sunning themselves in cooler weather, and float about the lake when it warms up some.

Sometimes all you can see are eyes.

Sometimes you can barely see them at all for the way they blend in to their surroundings.

Sometimes you can see them clearly, congregating with the turtles.

And sometimes you will see them smile, secure in the knowledge that you will never see such a gator on the Vanderbilt campus.

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6 thoughts on “The Campus Beautiful

    • I was shocked that I saw alligators that day at all, since I went at noon and it was fairly warm. They were everywhere! You’ll just have to come down and try again soon!

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