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When the economy tanks, Gators get tanked?

Florida's flagship university gained a new distinction Monday when the Princeton Review named the University of Florida the nation's No. 1 party school. The Princeton Review publishes The Best 368 Colleges, an annual guide for parents and college-bound students, and it's full of rankings based on surveys of thousands of students. But the party title — based on things like drug and alcohol use, frat parties, sports championships and time spent studying (or lack thereof) — always gets the most attention. UF is never a slouch in this department, but this is the first time it earned the top slot. (Florida State University came in at No. 10.)

UF also is academically competitive, with incoming freshmen boasting an average of 1300 on the SAT and high school GPAs better than 4.0. "We don't even need to study that much," student Dennis Sison told the Independent Florida Alligator. "We know that we'll still get the grade, even with a hangover."

On Tuesday, the Alligator ( raised other interesting interpretations.

Charlotte Sutton, Times staff writer

Party on, Gators

We're not exactly sure what it is about Gainesville that predisposes The Gator Nation to excellence. Maybe it's something in the water (or in this case, the amber-colored beverages routinely found in plastic cups). At any rate, UF is once again the reigning national champion — this time we're No. 1 in partying.

The Princeton Review has named UF as the nation's top party school in its annual collegiate rankings. While most faculty and administrators are likely to find the distinction a dubious one, we greet the news as another resplendent example of Gator greatness.

UF officials say that the school's athletic successes in recent years is probably the largest contributing factor to its rise to the apex of national college partying.

But perhaps there is another, at least partial, explanation. Amid the tableau of ominous clouds foreboding an economic armageddon, is it possible that we are masking our anxieties about life after college? Or maybe the crushing budget cuts that are responsible for the dismissal of some of our professors or the decapitation of our degree programs have led us to seek refuge in the Gainesville party scene.

We won't pretend to know why we're No. 1 again. It just comes so naturally that we've decided to stop questioning it. All we can say is, "It's great to be a Florida Gator."

When the economy tanks, Gators get tanked? 07/29/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:04pm]
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