Traditions. Every college or university has at least one. Traditions are what make us unique.
Here at Florida Tech, we’ve acquired quite a few over the course of our 55 year history. Here are a few:
Buffalo Chicken Wrap Thursdays
While the serving days may have slightly changed over the years, the same delicious staple of The SUB is still going strong: The Buffalo Chicken Wrap. What makes this meal so delectable? Some say it’s the cheese or special ranch sauce, while others say it’s the perfect ratio of all the ingredients together. Whatever the case may be, when Thursday rolls around, you’ll find most of the student body in line at The SUB.
Strolls through the Botanical Garden a.k.a. “The Jungle”
One of the most treasured places on campus is the botanical garden. Located in the heart of campus, this lush oasis is, in many ways, THE heart of campus. Open year-round (thanks, Florida weather!), the botanical garden is a great space for a meditative stroll, some quiet study time, or a little childlike exploring. Some visit occasionally, others are regulars, but loving (and bragging about) the botanical garden is most definitely a Florida Tech tradition.
While Florida Tech’s football program is still in its infancy, home games have already become a huge campus and community-wide event. During the 2013 inaugural season, season tickets sold-out, ESPN 2 nationally televised a home game and the Panthers held a 5-7 record overall. Not bad for an up-and-coming team! Campus tailgates before the home games have also become a great way for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the local community to get together and cheer on the hometown team before the game starts.
How do we celebrate our large international student population (representing a whopping 110 countries)? In a BIG way! Every year, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) holds a major campus celebration known as International Festival. Free and open to the public, this event includes music, entertainment, exotic foods and vendors selling their wares from around the world. There’s nothing else like it!
Watching Rocket Launches
Florida Tech’s proximity to Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center presents an awesome advantage when it comes to rocket launches. Many people catch these milestone events on their TVs or computers. But how many people can say they have seen the rockets in-person? Our students can! Whenever there is a scheduled launch, everyone gathers outside for a clear viewing of the event. A popular viewing area is on the Crawford Tower balcony.
Downtown Melbourne Trips
Just a mere 5 minutes down the road is a wonderful shopping, restaurant and entertainment mecca: Downtown Melbourne. Downtown Melbourne is home to just about any type of business: clothing and antique stores, bars, clubs, live theatres, food joints and spas. Not only are there great places to visit in Downtown Melbourne, but there’s a fantastic festival there at least once a month. Some of those events include Friday Fest, Melbourne Art Festival, Main Street Fall Festival and many 5Ks. And let’s not forget the most important one: Florida Tech’s Homecoming Festival!
Speaking of Homecoming, this fun-filled weekend is a pretty big deal here at the university. Every year, students and alumni come together in celebration of what it means to be a Florida Tech Panther. Activities include a star-studded outdoor concert, a gala and awards ceremony, a parade and the biggest football game of the year.
Midnight Breakfast at Panther Dining Hall
For students, finals week can be a harrowing experience. Because of this, the fantastic staff at Panther Dining Hall (PDH) has started their own tradition: midnight breakfast. On one late night at the end of the fall and spring semesters, PDH opens its door to all students for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. This meal is free to students and no meal plan is required. It makes the finals period a little more bearable!
Pictures with Pete
Our mascot Pete the Panther is a living legend around here. You can catch him at many of our sporting events and other campus outings. It’s almost like a student rite of passage to snap a photo with the big guy!
Humans vs. Zombies
Initially started at Goucher College in 2005, Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) has garnered a giant student fan base at Florida Tech. HvZ is a game of moderated tag on campus. Human players must defend themselves with socks and dart blasters to avoid being tagged by the zombie team. Florida Tech players add their own spin to the event by utilizing melee weaponry and a wide variety of environments during game play.
Student Design Showcase
The Northrop Grumman Student Design Showcase is the biggest academic event at Florida Tech. Science and engineering students spend much of their junior and senior years conceptualizing, designing and implementing a project of their choice. Each year, these students are then put to the ultimate test: presenting these projects to school officials and Northrop Grumman representatives to a chance to win the top awards. The presentation day is a fascinating event open to the public.
At Florida Tech, every student is destined to have a unique experience depending on his or her major, hobbies, talents and passions. But every student also has the opportunity to take part in a shared community experience–and that’s what makes our traditions so important. Twenty years from now, you’ll remember the unique moments shared with close friends, but you’ll also be able to connect with any Florida Tech graduate who remembers the traditions that enrich every Panther’s experience. Which are you looking forward to the most?