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The absolute best thing about Alabama is Alabama football! The energy of the campus is phenomenal and being in the stadium with 96,000 other Crimson Tide fans is life changing! If I could change anything about the University I would do away with the Greek organizations. They provide a segregation between blacks and whites, upper class whites and lower class whites, as well as many in-state and out-of-state students. Many people join to meet new people which end up being the new people they spend the rest of their collegiate careers with. The Greek system is the beginning of the tensions that arise on campus. They receive special privileges. They are isolationists and if you can't beat them, most people just join them out of desperation. The school itself is tidy in size. By that I mean, you will know a lot of people just from commonalities, such as being at the Recreation Center at the same time, or being in the cafeteria around the same time, etc. So you will recognize faces and get an occasional hello. The interesting thing is wherever you go people always assume the University of Alabama is in Birmingham. Too often I have to clarify that the University of Alabama is in Tuscaloosa, and is not UAB, or Alabama State. Others who are familiar with the school though, instantly strike up a conversation about football, which is good that you can relate in some aspect, but begin to wish that there was more to Alabama than football. I spend most of my time at the Rec which is the greatest way to meet and interact with people. Often times, you are competing against people so often you develop a respect for one another. Other times, people in there see how committed you are to your workout program and ask questions or help. I love being in the Rec sometimes just to people watch. Or in my case girl watch. Tuscaloosa is the definition of a college town. There are two malls that are both one story and a Wal Mart. Other than that, you may have to travel to Northport which is two minutes away, or to Birmingham, a more healthy commute of about 45 minutes. The University of Alabama's administration is absolutely useless! Often times, I have sought an answer to a problem and have been sent to three different people only to be told to call back tomorrow. It is so frustrading dealing with people in the offices here, and it seems at times that some of the administrators simply don't want to help you, are distracted by something more important, or just don't care about your problem. The biggest recent controversy on campus is the idea of "a machine", a political regime organized by the Greek system to hold power in the Student Government Association. It is only a theory. The actual existence of this Machine has not been confirmed but there are conspiracy theories that the reason the past 50 or so SGA presidents have been members of predominately white Greek letter fraternities is mindboggling. This is backed by shady polling activities, intimidation methods of minority candidates, and unusual backing out of other candidates that may have a viable chance of winning to allow a lesser qualified candidate to take the position. There are a lot of questions surrounding whether "A Machine" exists to keep the power in place but nothing has solidified. UA is bountiful with school pride. Hate does not even describe what is felt about that other school in Alabama often referred to as the Cow College. UA used to have a real prevalent squirrel army in the summer and fall semesters, but they have declined in recent history. One experience I'll always remember is the day Coach Saban was announced as the new head coach at the basketball game. The place erupted so much so that they had to delay the game from all the people who stormed the court. The most frequent complaints at the school are the lack of parking and the even greater parking fines, the school store charging horrendous prices for books and giving nearly nothing back in return for them, and lighting in some places of the university.
UA is a great college. Tuscaloosa is definately a college town. The whole city revolves around the college. Everyone that goes to UA and everyone that has graduated take a lot of pride in their school. The quad is a nice play to go on campus. People go there to play football, walk, jog, or study. One of the most frequent complaints is parking, but this year, UA got a trolley system. I'm not sure how that is working out, though, because I graduated in May.
For me, the best thing about UA is that I have met so many people from a lot of different places. I have definitely learned to appreciate the fact that I am getting a chance to see what type of people I may be working with on a daily bases. If you don't like to be surrounded by a lot of people all the time then UA is not the place for you. The enrollment is increasing every year and I don't think it is slowing down anytime soon. But the very good thing about the school is that the buildings are not that far apart from each other. Your freshmen year you may find yourself trucking from Ten Hoor to Shelby Hall in ten minutes, BAD IDEA, but for the most part once you get in your major you really won't have that big of a problem. For me this was a big deal, because where I am from most people don't attend big universities like UA. So for me it has always been a positive response. At work, lol, I work on campus. But a lot of people chill on the quad or at the Ferguson Center where the food court is. But it really depends on the person. Tuscaloosa is definitely a college town. If you come here during the summer, there is nobody here and you are always bored because fun events are centered around it. Depends on what you are talking about. In my opinion, UA have made some dumb decisions about how they have spent their money in the past year, but they have made some good ones also. Particular the Crimson Ride, transit system, has made it a lot easier for students to study late and night and have rides back to their dorms and feel safe. Gay rights. In the fall there was a lot of talk about whether or not gay rights should be added to our constitution since we were one of the only schools in the Southeast not to have it. The administration added them at the end of Fall '07 or the beginning of Spring '08. YESSSSSS...I don't know of too many places that top UA pride. It is amazing "Roll Tide" is used in place of "Hello" sometimes. Unusual, I don't know. This is the only school I know so I really can't answer that question. It would have to be my first UA football game my freshman year marching in the band. The crowd noise as I was marching in the band is the best feeling in the world as they await to hear "Yea, Alabama" for the first time in Bryany-Denny each season. It was amazing. Most complaints are about money. UA have taken a lot of "give ins" away the past couple of years but those complaints only come from upperclassmen since they are the only ones to have them.
UA is a fantastic place to go to school. Tuscaloosa has enough to meet any college student's needs, and Birmingham is only 45 minutes away for concerts, good shopping, and nice restaurants. The campus is gorgeous, and although the enrollment is bigger than some nearby towns, I have never felt overwhelmed or crowded on campus. No one can have enough school spirit during football season, and about half the student body can be seen wearing some type of school logo on a daily basis. The Administration is really making efforts to improve the University's reputation academically, as most people think of UA just in terms of football and partying. The Honors College has a minimum ACT score of 28 and makes up about 20% of the student body. Although the University is not normally thought of as an academic powerhouse, it definitely is. UA students regularly win numerous awards like the USA Today scholar award and Hollings Scholars.
UA is a really big school. There are aver 25,000 students, so at first its pretty daunting, because you don't see all the same people all the time like in high school. Football and school spirit is important to a lot of the students on campus. People go crazy during the fall for the games and tailgaters permeate the city. Tuscaloosa is a pretty small town, but there are plenty of places to eat, grocery stores, and bars.
If I could make a major change at UA, I would do the impossible and break up the greek system to be less elitist, less political, and more approachable. From an outsider's point of view, one would never know that Greeks make up about 28% of the student population here at UA, because they have the appearance and presence of being the majority, since they seem to dominate all leadership positions on campus. The greek system here at UA is segregated and corrupt. Independents on campus rightfully feel that they have little influence over what happens on campus because the Machine has dominated campus politics for so long, it seems that even showing up to vote is a wasted effort, hence the less than 20% voter turnout for campus elections. Granted the greek system is a great way to socialize, serve the community, and collaborate with groups of like-minded, smart men and women, but its manifestation on campus has been so pervasive and evolved so corruptly that it is more of a burden than a blessing at this point.
Jessica SeniorReviews provided by: Unigo