Gator Nation News

21 Things We Love About Being Gators

Sure, we all know it’s great to be a Florida Gator. But why, exactly? That’s a little tougher to explain to the uninitiated. In recognition of Valentine’s Day, here’s our humble attempt to put a finger on what makes our orange and blue so special.

For 2021, we kept our list to a modest 21. But what did we miss? Please send your sentiments to


“Go, Gators!” It’s a hello, it’s a goodbye, and it instantly turns strangers into friends.

The iconic Century Tower is a true beauty, especially against a clear blue Gainesville sky.

Heritage. For some of us, being a Gator runs through generations, like a gift passed from our parents or grandparents to us and to our children.

Krishna lunches. Delicious, filling, cheap. Generations have survived on those heaping plates of vegan and vegetarian goodness.

The 34th Street Wall. Our ever-evolving community canvas for everything from love notes to political screeds.

No one tailgates like Gators do. All is right when the smell of barbeque wafts through parking lots filled with fans in orange and blue.

Gatorade. The world’s favorite sports drink was invented right here. (And that’s just one of a slew of cool inventions conceived at UF.)

The Chomp. Come on. There’s no greater signature gesture in all of sports.

Dance Marathon. Thousands of students dancing the night away (literally) to raise money for sick kids. That says a lot about Gators.

Mr. Two Bits. George Edmondson (1922-2019) started an enduring tradition that united the Nation.

The Plaza of the Americas. The central green has long been a gathering place for concerts, debates and outdoor classes under shade trees.

Albert and Alberta. There are no cooler sports mascots, and there’s no cuter couple.

From statues of alligators and President Murphree to the fondly nicknamed “French fries” and “Turlington Potato” sculptures, UF is rich with outdoor artwork.

Where else can you see 750,000 bats exiting from a row of campus bat houses?

Rowdy Reptiles. This raucous bunch of students is as fun to watch at basketball games as the contest itself.

The Special Collections library in Library East. Like stepping into Hogwarts.

The Swamp. There’s no place like Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on a fall Saturday.

If the University Auditorium’s old walls could speak, their stories would be spellbinding. Robert Frost read poetry there, for goodness sake.

“We Are the Boys from Old Florida.” 90,000 Gators locked arm-in-arm, singing and swaying at a football game, is a bonding ritual like no other.

Gator Growl. Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Snoop Dog. What more needs to be said? Combine that with the Homecoming Parade and “coming home” to Gainesville is complete.

The Gator Nation. Passionate, loyal, enthusiastic and optimistic, unashamed to show their pride: think license plates, Gator shirts, flags and on and on. Some, we suspect, really do bleed orange and blue.