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Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Don't freak out! Our guide to weird and interesting sights around campus

Most students probably got a traditional tour of UF explaining the school’s history, important places and resources. But there’s a lot of weird — and awesome — stuff that happens on campus they don’t tell you about.

Turlington Plaza, the North Lawn and Plaza of the Americas are all free-speech zones. Students welcome this show of First Amendment support by passing out fliers and holding rallies.

But off-campus groups also show their support. Almost every day, there’s a guy preaching in Turlington who, by the end of the day, ends up in an argument with a bold student. And usually once a semester, an anti-abortion group brings extremely graphic posters to Plaza of the Americas.

Also, once a semester, the Humans vs. Zombies crew makes an appearance on campus, skulking around with Nerf guns and bright orange bandanas decorated with blue “Human” or “Zombie” lettering. It’s a manhunt for college students on Florida’s biggest playground, and they’re always looking for players. Sign up at

In addition, there are all kinds of flash mobs. UF’s singing groups make appearances on Turlington Plaza, the Reitz Union and other high-traffic places on campus frequently. Last Spring, a large portion of the student body banded together and made a huge, awesome Harlem Shake video.

UF has a club Quidditch team as well. Obviously, team members don’t fly around on broomsticks because — sorry, guys — magic isn’t real. But they have the next best thing: PVC pipes in between their legs.

Everything else is the same, though, right down to the golden snitch, which is actually a person dressed in yellow who sprints around the field for the length of the game. And the team is no joke. It won second place at the World Cup two years ago. The team hosts open practices on Flavet Field. Give it a try.

A little bit off campus, you can find Dennis Kane busting moves in short-shorts. He was banned from campus last year after a student overheard him making threatening comments, but he still makes appearances on West University Avenue near Midtown and on the corner of Archer Road and 34th Street. He’s an advocate for peace and love, so don’t be afraid to wave as you walk or drive by.

This story originally ran on page 3 on 8/14/2013 under the headline "Expect the unexpected at UF"

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