Creating a Better Tomorrow: UTopia

by Regina Gonzalez

There is no question UT has a beautiful campus. From a stroll under the palm trees in Plant Park to soaking up the sun poolside between classes, students can enjoy the numerous spots that arguably resemble a Florida resort more than a college campus. With 8,037 students and campus size much smaller than many large state schools, UT offers a solid amount of dining, living, and general accommodations to make for a good college experience. But there are many ways that we can make it even better.

Envision a world where there were more dining options than the cafeteria and Salsa Rico. A world of tailgates for UT football games in a huge stadium arena and parties on fraternity row. Certain things would definitely make for a UT euphoria feeling that would make students love this campus even more.

Many can agree on, including students on campus tours that aren’t even enrolled yet, that UT would be “poppin’” if there was a football team.

“The biggest question I get when giving presentations about UT is if we have a football team,” associate director of admissions Anthony Pinto said.

It is true when you think about it. College football is a huge nationwide bond where students unite with painted faces and foam fingers to show pride in their school team and storm the field after a win.

“Football is just football, It’s action-packed and exciting and there’s just something about college football that gives schools such a great sense of school spirit,” sophomore business major Alexandra Gedzior said. “ It really isn’t something you can compare to sitting in the bleachers of a soccer or baseball game here.”

Celebrating those wins or just having a good night out could be safer and more jam-packed if there were frat and sorority houses somewhere on campus or other places right on UT grounds so students wouldn’t have to venture into the sketchy streets of Tampa at night for a good house party that’s going to get raided by Tampa PD after five minutes.

“It would be cool if we had a frat row where students were allowed to attend parties without any hassle,” said junior finance major Lucas Casiano. “Or there should be some sort of bar on campus where students can get in with their student IDs.”

As far as sports go, the facilities and treatment of athletes are quite impressive and prestigious for a Division ll program. However, there is always room for improvement.

“It would be great if there were dorms only for athletes, more capital for equipment and cryotherapy machines,” sophomore baseball player Cody Martin said.

Imagine that. Imagine buildings behind Martinez that would only be for athlete residents. One floor designated for each team, maybe their own cafeteria of protein-loaded meals and healthy dining to support their constant conditioning and strength training.

When it comes to dorm room quality, UT is possibly as good as it gets. While many public and private universities house their students in concrete-walled rooms the size of chinese takeout boxes, UT students get the luxurious experience of Palm Apartments where each suitemate gets their own room and has the best of both worlds: being right on campus while still having the comfort of a small living room and full kitchen. Even more traditional-style dorm rooms like McKay or Smiley still have a good amount of space, and McKay acts as it’s own waterfront inn-looking building.

However, when it comes to living off campus, students are on their own to find an apartment in local residencies around the city. Many other schools tend to have off-campus housing options for students where the apartments are not on the actual campus, but still owned by the school so that students pay room and board fees through the school as opposed to paying rent.

“I feel like it would make sense if UT built off campus apartments or even bought out places like NOHO flats and the Vintage Lofts,” said freshman criminal justice major and off-campus resident Emily Krull. “They’re good size apartments where many UT students end up residing anyways so it could be awesome to live a mile or two away but still have it as part of your housing costs.”

Of course, who wants to live without mom doing their laundry? That’s why having somewhere to bring your laundry for other people to do it for you was an ideal solution for some on campus.

“We need some sort of laundromat instead of having to lug and wash our own clothes all the time,” Casiano said. “I use a service at home where you drop your laundry off and they deliver it back to your doorstep folded up, that could be great and convenient here.”

The real euphoria would exist in food. More food. That is what is most important in life.

So far this school year, we have had students voice their opinion on several topics, one being Chinese food on campus,” said Student Government President Sarah Daniels.

Quick chinese food like Panda Express or a hibachi place like Koto on campus would do better than just a spot for packaged sushi. And although a wide variety of meats and veggies is served at the caf and fresh creation lines go down the hallways of Vaughn for a good salad, some healthy food places would be a great touch too. The Ciccio franchise needs to bring restaurants like Fresh Kitchen on campus. Frozen yogurt and acai bowls would be great for those who don’t want to consume the calories of a DQ blizzard for a sweet treat. Bringing northeastern-style breakfast, with it’s many comfort foods like bacon, egg & cheese sandwiches and thick hearty bagels, wouldn’t be such a bad idea either.

“I know it’s one thing to have Rathskeller on campus, but we need a New York-style deli where students can get a good bacon egg and cheese bagel for breakfast,” said junior finance major and student government representative Shane Rostad.

With the constant expansion of UT including the current construction of a brand new fitness center and future edition of new Palm Apartments, it seems that there are always ideas in the works to make this campus the best of the best.

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