UCF's O-Team reveals little-known campus secrets
Members of UCF's Orientation Team are some of the first people new students meet when they arrive at UCF.
While it may seem like a simple way to earn money and make friends, the job also comes with a wealth of knowledge about the university and its history.
"My favorite thing about being a part of O-Team is the ability to become a resource to students," said Jason Skidmore, a senior psychology major and O-Team student coordinator. "I thoroughly enjoy learning about UCF."
And he's not the only one. These O-Team members have shared what they've learned about UCF with the Central Florida Future:
1. Studying sanctuaries
Students looking for a quiet place to study don't have to limit themselves to the library.
Jessie Miller, a senior event management major and O-Team student coordinator, said the Burnett Honors College meditation garden, located at the back of the building, is open for all students to use.
Students can also check out the computer lab in the Technology Commons, which has every program students could need for any class, without having to download it.
If students just want a quiet place to think, Miller said there is a balcony on the top floor of the Career Services and Experiential Learning building that is serene and offers a great view of Memory Mall.
2. Cool clubs
From the Art History Club to the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, there are hundreds of groups for UCF students.
"There are 583 student organizations, so I always tell my students that there's something for literally everyone," said Jessie Dickens, a sophomore economics major.
The Office of Student Involvement's website has a list of registered student organizations to help students find the perfect group to join.
"There are so many ways to get involved, and UCF really wants to encourage and empower students to define their own Pegasus path," Skidmore said.
3. No-splash zone
To many students, the best thing about Homecoming week is racing into the shallow waters of the Reflecting Pond during Spirit Splash. But, the university hasn't always had this splashing tradition.
Back then, the pond wasn't filled and it often held commencement ceremonies, according to UCF's archives.
The first was held in 1973, when President Richard Nixon came to UCF and his secret service agents decided to hold a ceremony in the pond, as it allowed them to use the library roof to keep an eye out for threats to the commander-in-chief.
4. Gender-neutral restrooms
Miller said one fact she loves to share with her family is that UCF has 17 gender-neutral bathrooms across campus.
According to the Social Justice and Advocacy LGBTQ+ Services, these restroom facilities stretch from All Knight Study near the CFE Arena to the Research Pavilion on the other side of campus.
"If anybody is going through a gender transition, there are plenty of locations for them to use the restroom," Miller said.
5. Check out the library
It was announced recently that the John C. Hitt Library would be undergoing futuristic transitions in the next few years. But despite the 21st century update, the building is still filled with history.
The oldest volume in the library's collection is a Vulgate Bible printed in 1546, Skidmore said. The library is the oldest building on campus, and Dickens said the first classes were held in there.
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.