By Ryan Therriault, Academic Coordinator, Brevard Center
There are several students at the Brevard Center whose dreams include transferring to a 4 year college. We thought what better way to prove to these students that success can be right around the corner than a tour of the University of Central Florida (UCF) given by our own student Chris K. who transferred there in the Fall of ’08.
Peter, Ben, Moultrie, Sam, Holden and I hopped in the van at 9 AM. We drove to Orlando listening to oldies (student request), telling stories and singing songs.
After arriving, we headed off to the Student Union to meet up with Chris who was prepared with printout information about the areas of interest for each student. We began in the 3-story Student Union which is the social hub of the institution. It has many restaurants, fast food places, a convenience store, ticket master, CD store, pastry shops, KAPLAN testing information, huge auditorium and many meeting rooms and classrooms. We exited the Student Union through the rear door which was a deck in the middle of a cypress dome.
Behind the cypress dome was a huge area with what looked like a town, town square and 4 hotels with the arena at the end. This was all just dirt the last time I had seen the campus just 2 years ago. It turns out that the hotels are actually dorms and the town center has all types of food and shops including a pharmacy where students can get prescriptions at a fraction of the usual cost.
We looked at the beautiful new Psychology building, the baseball field, arena and alumni building. We headed back toward the Student Union. On the way we saw Lake Claire and the Lake Claire apartments. Several students were boating. I mentioned to the students that Ecology and Biology classes will take water samples and look at them and test them.
We walked through the Communications and Visual Arts buildings. The students were impressed. We walked by the Music building and finally back to the Student Union. Once there, we decided to grab some lunch and take a much needed rest. I then explained that UCF has two freedom of speech areas, one located in front of the Student Union and the other in front of the Health and Sciences building. Religious speeches, gay rights rallies, anti-capital punishment and abortion protesters are all examples of what I saw when I was a student myself.
Next, Chris led us past the Chemistry and Biology buildings which I thought might be of special interest to Peter and Moultrie. We moved on to the Counseling building and Clinic with a second pharmacy. The students can get free health care and counseling services including biofeedback. Then we walked past the old dorms and the School of Business for Holden and looked at some computer labs for Sam. It was there the Disabilities and the Career Development offices were located.
Next the Wellness building; a glorious two story gym with basketball, tennis, hockey, weightlifting, cardio, track, pool, classes including aerobics and yoga with a rock climbing wall (all for free!). Ben and Holden were very excited to see the new dorms which looked like a resorts with a pool. As a side note: UCF is known for their overly friendly and aggressive squirrel population. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) we did not see any that day.
After being amazed by the dorms, Chris then led us to the old part of campus which I was familiar with, the Administration building where students can go if they have any questions, need to make a payment, get financial aid or see a generic undergraduate advisor. We looked at the Education and Humanities buildings on the way to our final campus destination. For the grand finale, we went into the 4 story library and looked at the directory while enjoying a tasty beverage at the Cyber Cafe they have inside. I thought we weren’t supposed to have food or drinks in a library? Not so in this one.
Chris crammed into the van and went to his apartment. The complex was huge. There was a continuous shuttle service that Chris said he used every day. Wow, how things have improved! We walked though his modest accommodations which everyone seemed to be satisfied with. They all seemed to be getting the itch to get started at UCF (or equivalent), especially and Ben and Holden.
At the end of our tour we were all very sore, tired and a little sunburned from all the walking around, but no one complained. We thanked Chris and loaded up. We had a lovely trip home as we talked about what the future has in store for them. All and all the trip was a great success and I hope we can do it again in the future.