Florida State University at Tallahassee is a large public research university that was founded in 1851. In 1905, due to the Buckman Act, the campus was reorganized as the Florida State College for Women and became the third largest women’s college in the United States. Forty-two years later, the university received coeducational status and changed its name to Florida State University. In the 1960’s FSU became known for its activism and was called the “Berkeley of the South.”
The university has been expanding its liberal arts curriculum since 1901, and its College of Music is one of the top programs in the country today. While still renowned for its research program on the undergraduate, masters, and doctorate levels, today’s FSU has a strong liberal arts curriculum, and over 300 programs for undergraduates to choose from.
FSU’s 489-acre campus is just the right size for its 40,000 students. You can walk anywhere in less than 20 minutes. Numerous trees provide shade to combat uncomfortably hot temperatures in the spring, and the red and white brick buildings are set on green lawns. Landis Green is the sprawling quad that is the center of campus life, and has a fountain that doubles as a designated swimming pool which students get thrown in on their birthdays. Red brick pathways run through the lawns and lead students to and from classes.
FSU’s campus may have a wide expanse of classroom buildings and laboratories, but there are three places that students find themselves at weekly, if not daily: the Leach Gym, the Student Life Cinema, and the Student Union.
The Leach Gym houses three stories of workout equipment, training rooms, racquetball courts, a basketball court, in-door pool and track, and even a spa and Planet Smoothie. All FSU students have free membership to the gym. Many students use the gym not just as a workout facility, but also as a means to connect socially and make friends by working out together or taking classes such as yoga.
Right next to the gym is the Student Life Cinema, which is a full-screen movie theater with stadium seating. Movies play nightly there and are also free to all students. The Student Life Cinema is totally student run: they usher the movies, run the concessions, and even choose the movie schedule for each semester.
While students populate the movie theater at night, during the day almost everyone is in the Student Union in the heart of campus. This social hub is home to almost all of our on-campus dining facilities, the art center, the computer labs, study lounges, the Club Downunder, the post office, and many auditoriums and ballrooms. Students usually stop by to hang out between classes and grab a bite to eat or check their email in the computer labs.
The best on-campus hangouts aren’t necessarily in designated structures or areas. It’s common knowledge that any piece of grass on campus can turn into a great location for a water slide or treasure hunt. Though on a hot day the Westcott and Landis Fountains, which are legally designated swimming pools, are much more popular than any grassy knoll. In fact it's FSU tradition that on your birthday the most conniving of your friends has to push you into the Westcott Fountain! Most days you can find students on Landis Green or near Westcott finding new ways to cause trouble for the FSU maintenance staff.
One of my favorite memories of FSU occurred on a hot March day when one of my roommates decided it would be hilarious to push me into the Landis Fountain. She pushed me in, but of course I pulled her in with me. Eventually, other people on Landis joined in and our little fountain foray turned into full blown water fight which was fought on the whole green! I was so caught up in our water war that I didn’t even notice I was late for a test. I showed up late, puffing in the door, and soaking wet. My TA glared at me while I dripped on the test which he had so vehemently declared no one was allowed to write on. Water and all, I got an A!
Landis Green is sandwiched between Strozier library and the Landis honors hall. It is a grassy area with a fountain in the center that students use constantly. People will lay out in bathing suits or just under a tree in-between classes—to study or relax. Students play Frisbee and football, and walk their dogs. A lot of times, even in the middle of the night, you can find students hanging out inside the fountain, as well as around it.
Wescott is an administrative building on campus and in front of it is a large fountain, known as 'the birthday fountain.' There is a ‘Mom and Pop’ hotdog and lemonade stand nearby and it’s always nice to grab lunch and relax, maybe people watch on sunny afternoons.
The Park Avenue Diner is towards the center of campus and is open 24/7. It serves typical diner food: breakfast, burgers, and shakes, and will satisfy the most intense cravings or munchies. One freshman claims they have 'the best hot chocolate and the most amazing whip cream!' The diner tends to be chilly, so bring a jacket—especially if you go in the middle of the night after taking a dip in one of the fountains.
Club Downunder is located near the Union and always has something going on. Speed dating, karaoke, comedy shows, and concerts are just a few of the events that take place there. Most all of the events are free for students and a great way to meet new people.
Paint-a-pot is a place where you can go to paint ceramics and Crenshaw Lanes is a bowling alley; both are located in the Union. Shows, such as the Vagina Monologues, are performed in the Moore Auditorium. A little cafeteria is in the area with restaurants such as Hardee’s, Pollo Tropical, and a Chilli’s is opening soon.
On Market Wednesday’s the Union is the place to be. Vendors selling movie posters, used CD’s, jewelry, sunglasses, and more set up tables in Oglesby Union next to student groups trying to increase their visibility and recruit students during their lunch hour. Often the Black Student Union and its Greek organizations hold step shows and large crowds congregate.
During the warmer nine months of the year Landis Green is peppered with sunbathers, ultimate Frisbee, and Bible thumping preachers damning girls showing too much skin from their soap box. Students can be found studying out there in the warm Florida sunshine or heading inside for some peace and quiet. The library is always packed with students cramming for tests, checking their Facebook accounts between classes or just hanging out in the lobby drinking Starbuck’s coffee.
The Student Life Building holds the Student Life Cinema where they screen movies of yesterday and today five days a week. The SLC is one of the nation’s top university theaters. Also located in the Student Life Building is the Cyber Café where students can rent time on video games - the lobby often plays host to Super Smash Bros. tournaments. If video games aren’t your fare then check out the IM fields. Nightly there are groups of students playing and watching soccer, rugby, flag football, baseball, more ultimate Frisbee, and other sports under the lights of the Intramural Fields.
A true college town and the capital of Florida, Tallahasee is reminiscent of the party atmosphere of Miami, but also has aspects of the laid-back Boca Raton. The town’s name stems from the Seminole word for “abandoned fields,” but there is nothing remotely deserted about the area.
Tallahassee is a college town, due to the fact that there really are only colleges around FSU (TCC, FAMU, and other certification-only schools). Typically all the major events people attend are on one of the college campuses. In the evening you will find the locals on campus for events or even just to hang out. Off-campus hangouts are few and far between, but there are several that host space and entertainment for the mass amounts of students in Tallahassee.
FSU has consistently ranked in the top in Playboy’s Biggest Party Schools for the past ten years, so one can rightly assume we have an abundance of night/dance clubs. Past 10:00 p.m. a majority of the FSU student population can be found in Cubby’s, Floyd’s, AJ’s, etc. These entertainment venues offer dancing, drinks, a space to meet other students from FSU, and Tallahassee residents. However, after a long night of dancing one works up an appetite, so way after 2:00 a.m. you will find the party-goers at the all-night McDonald’s just across the street from FSU. This McDonald’s on Tennessee Street (which runs along the perimeter of FSU) is a great place to grab a bite while pulling an all-nighter or even just hanging out with friends when you can’t sleep. The only downside to making the all-night McDonald’s your favorite haunt is that the gym may have to be the second favorite.
For those not interested in club nightlife, the quieter spots in Tallahassee may be of some interest. Commonly the studious population can be found in off-campus cafés or coffee shops like Cool Grindz or All Saints. There they can play chess and other board games, surf on the web with a wireless connection, or just hang out with friends eating pastries and sipping chai. Some students take their coffees and pound cakes out of the cafés and onto the grounds of Lake Ella, a near-by glorified retention pond with walkways, fountains, and picnic tables. Here students spread out picnic blankets and study, have lunch with friends, or even ride along the bike trails that circle the lake. When spending an afternoon here just beware of the ravenous ducks, which have become quite addicted to coffee cakes and pastries.
There are many places to hang out around Tallahassee. AJ’s Sports Bar, The Strip, Lake Ella, The Rez, and Panama City are some of the best hang-out spots.
The strip is on Tennessee Street right across from campus, within walking distance. If you’re with a group of friends, the walk can be very entertaining! The strip consists of Floyd’s Music Store and Lower Lounge, which has a club type of atmosphere. Floyd’s throws Dayglo, which is when neon paint is given and people are instructed to wear all white and it’s squirted everywhere while people are dancing! The bars on the strip are usually playing great music, a lot of times live—and it’s not too loud that you can’t socialize. The bars are the Irish Pub, Big Daddy’s, Bullwinkle’s, Inn Between, Mardi Gras, Yianni’s, and Ken’s. Ken’s and Bullwinkle’s are the only spots that are 21 and up.
AJ’s Sports Bar is so much fun! Downstairs is a bar, tables to eat at, a stage that hosts live music, beer pong set-ups, pool tables, and darts. Upstairs is an open area with a bar and dancing area—eighties and nineties night are always popular. One sophomore said jokingly that she wouldn’t be surprised if her cause of death was from AJ’s collapsing because the upstairs has a tendency to shake a lot when people are dancing and jumping around. Drink specials are always available—on “Flippin’ Tuesdays,” people can guess heads or tails for their drinks, and if you guess right the drink is free!
Lake Ella is about an eight-minute drive away from campus. The lake is home to many ducks and is surrounded by green grass and gazebos that are fantastic for picnicking. However, you can’t swim in it. On the outskirts of the grassy areas are many locally-owned shops. Whether you want to buy unique clothing, jewelry, shoes, or peanut brittle and homemade ice cream—there’s something for everyone!
Many people also love to take the short trip to Panama City—about two hours from campus. A great spring break spot, or even just the weekend, Panama City is known for its beaches and parties.
Tallahassee isn’t a big city but if you look hard enough, there’s something for everyone in Florida’s capital.
FSU Reservation- The Rez is a preserve with new intramural fields, a real lake for kayaking and canoing, beach volleyball courts, and other outdoor pursuits.
Railroad Square is a collection of warehouses where art students congregate located at Railroad and Gaines Streets. They have carved out their little niche with a bar, St. Michael’s Pub, a coffee house, All Saint’s Café, a concert venue, the Beta Bar, a vintage clothing shop, and a sandwich shop.
The College Avenue Strip is geared more toward FSU’s Greek community. Located on College Avenue in the middle of a cluster of fraternity and sorority houses, the College Avenue strip features Potbelly’s, Riff Raff, and the Painted Lady, though they might as well be all one.
Traditions run deep at FSU, but aren’t overwhelming. From a surprise dip in the fountain on your birthday to consuming extreme amounts of green beer between classes on Saint Patrick’s Day, FSU has no shortage of prankster practices.
Every year students get thrown into the fountain in front of the Wescott Building for their birthday. Duct tape and rope are common bindings and the entire party usually ends up in the fountain. Too bad for all you winter birthdays. For a while there were restrictions against it because too many people had put bubbles into the fountain, but the police realized it was too difficult to keep track of everyone, so the tradition goes on!
Also a birthday tradition, FSU students visit the Tennessee Strip on their special day, in what is known as the Tennessee Waltz. Floyd’s, Mardi Gras, The Inn Between, Ken’s Big Daddy’s, Yianni’s and the Irish Pub all give out free shots on birthdays. Comprised of seven bars and clubs, birthday boys or girls visit each one for a shot and eventually end up at Bullwinkle’s.
Tailgating at Indian Village- Everybody tailgates at FSU football games. The stadium parking lots are full of alumni and all over campus people set up tents, barbecues, kegs and Porto-Potties, but the real party is at Indian Village, a small townhome/apartment community just across the street from Doak Campbell Stadium. There are no flyers or mass e-mails, just word of mouth that draws hundreds of students to this community for their multi-keg tailgating every home game in the fall.
Charlie Crist (1984) is the governor of Florida.
Burt Reynolds (1958)is an actor and sex symbol.
Robert Urich (1968) was an American actor who played Capt. Jim Kennedy on The Love Boat: The Next Wave and was host of National Geographic Explorer from 1985-1995.
Ellen Taafe Zwillich (1960) was the first woman to win Pulitzer Prize in music.
Jim Morrison (attended in 1962) the lead singer and lyricist of The Doors.
Facebook groups such as “I go to FSU, but my sibling goes to UF…we know who the smart one in the family is” are the tamer part of the rivalry between the two colleges. Seminole pride is evident on every acre of FSU, and its Division I teams have had an impressive record since 2000. For athletes who didn’t make the DI teams, intramural sports are extremely popular on this campus.
Seminoles football is one of the most storied programs in NCAA Division I football. Bobby Bowden has been coaching for over thirty years at FSU and the program owes everything it has to Bowden. The Seminoles play on Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium and won championships in 1993 and 1999.
The Seminole Baseball team is one of the most successful college baseball programs in the US and has been to the College World Series 18 times. The Seminole baseball team finished in the top ten more times than any team in the US.
Our biggest competitor is the other state school in Florida and our arch-rival, UF. In sports and academics these two schools have been at each other’s throats for years. For the first few times the schools met on the gridiron, UF wouldn’t even come to Tallahassee to play a game. FSU had to play them in Gainesville until we earned a veritable amount of 'street cred.'
No matter how much Seminoles hate UF, there is a respect that drives the hate. University of Miami is a different story. The hate that FSU students have for Miami is unfiltered, white-hot rage. Cocky and brazen, the Miami Hurricanes are everything FSU despises. It’s the ultimate North Florida vs. South Florida rivalry.
FSU was listed number six on Playboy’s Top Party Schools 2006. Bullwinkle’s on the strip in Tallahassee was listed as Playboy’s college bar of the month.
Serial killer Ted Bundy claimed some of his last victims at an FSU sorority house.
The anti-cancer drug, Taxol, was developed here.
Burt Reynolds attended Florida State University on a football scholarship, but only played for two seasons. He was a star running back who graduated in 1958. Fittingly, the athletes' dorm is named: Burt Reynolds.
There is a Kissing Bench/The Lovers Bench on campus. The engraved granite plaque next to the bench reads 'If this bench could talk, oh, the stories it would tell, of kisses young and old, if you sit, beware the spell.'
Breakfast for a Buck: nights when breakfast is $1 at midnight.
The 13th episode of the 15th season of the Simpson’s “Smarter and Smarter” mentions FSU:
MAGGIE is tested to have a 167 IQ.
'Simon Cowell: Your baby is brilliant! Why, she could already teach at Florida State!
Homer: Alright... Go Seminoles!'
The hit/cult TV show X-Files once had an episode set in The Leon County Federal Correction Institute in Tallahassee.
Jim Morrison attended FSU in 1962, where he appeared in a school recruitment film. He resided at 1730 W Pensacola Street, the present site of Brew & Bean Coffee Company.
The FSU Fight Song can be downloaded as a ring tone.
Dorms at FSU vary drastically, especially when it comes to quality. On the east side of campus, students can sometimes pay almost twice as much to live in the nicer, renovated dorms. However, some students argue that living in the older dorms is worth saving a couple of hundred a month.
FSU offers two types of living arrangements on campus: suite and community styles. Suite style living generally accommodates two to four students who share a bedroom and a bathroom, while in the community style residents share a bedroom with one other roommate and a large communal bath and shower room with a whole floor.
For those who shudder at the thought of sharing a bathroom with an entire floor, don't panic. Of the fourteen residence halls available for incoming students to live in, only four are community style - Dorman, Deviney, Smith, and Kellum. Students who live in them will tell anyone that there are perks to go along with the lack of privacy and the general 'ick-factor.' All of the community style residence halls on campus are notoriously the most social. Because students do their 'business' together and spend so many hours of the day with each other, they tend to make the most and longest-lasting friendships. Somehow the degradation of having to walk down the hall to brush your teeth isn’t so bad when all your friends are there chatting, hanging out, and making hygiene seem like a party.
The rest of the halls on campus are suite style, where each individual gets a separate room. Most of the suite style residence halls on campus are home to living-learning communities, which bring together students with common interests, majors, or goals. Gilchrist and Landis Hall provides housing for students in the honors program. Reynolds Hall hosts the Wellness Community for students who do not wish to participate in drinking or drug usage, and Cawthon Hall is home to music majors and Women in Math, Science, and Engineering. Participating in a living learning community is a great way to start college life on the right foot: when you move in and meet new people you don’t have to struggle to find a common bond- you already have one.
Each of the dorms close during winter and spring breaks, and parts of summer. The smallest residence hall, Bryan, holds 131 people while the largest, Degraff and Wildwood, house 700 people. All of the dorms are coed, except Jennie Murphree, which is all women. Most of the dorms have self-regulated visitation, where you and your roommate decide on how late the opposite sex is allowed over.
Smith, Kellum, Deviney, Dorman, and Jennie Murphree have limited visitation hours; the opposite sex is allowed on your floor until midnight on the weekdays, and 2 a.m. on the weekends, though it really depends if your resident assistant enforces that rule.
McCollum and Ragans are two dorms that house only sophomores and above — they are apartment style.
Landis Hall is the honors dorm, one of the prettiest dorms that overlooks Landis Green, a grassy area that people constantly occupy.
Similar to The Great Gatsby, there is a 'west egg' and an 'east egg.' The dorms on the west side of campus are more run-down, and much older, while the east side of campus has the prettier, more appealing dorms. If you live in certain dorms, you are required to purchase a meal plan — mostly those on the east side of campus. There’s a price to pay for the nicer, most recently renovated buildings.