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Off-campus leisure opportunities for students are not quite established

As the number of newlyadmitted students to Florida Gulf Coast University continues to rise, it only makes sense that Estero be considered a real college town. It does seem, however, that the areas surrounding FGCU did not receive the memo regarding the almost 15,000 young people that reside in their backyard.

Life just outside of the University perimeter seems to cater to another group entirely, one which can be seen at any Starbucks or shopping mall as well as any restaurant in Estero. There’s no denying that our mature neighbors make Florida the thriving state that it has come to be, but it does raise the question of what there is to do for the evergrowing FGCU student body.

There are undoubtedly a small number of places that can occupy a student’s time, after they’ve completed homework of course, but not many. As one student puts it, “You can only go to the same bars so many times.”

Chris Brown (not the recording artist) is a junior majoring in communication and understands this dilemma all too well. Brown explains that life in Estero reminds him of home, which happens to be located directly in the center of a 20 mile stretch of road, with the nearest plaza at either end.

To venture outside of the University typically means that you have the funds necessary to go shopping or to one of the nearest restaurants.

Unlike many college towns, there are unfortunately not many places that students can reach by foot or pedal power. A night on the town, for FGCU at least, may constitute a drive to the nearest town where you may have the pleasure of sharing the same bar space as your parent’s coworkers. Not to be misinterpreted, there are activities to be done, especially if students are creative with their time and efforts — it’s just that there are several limitations to living in an area that is designed for an older demographic.

If a 10 or 15-minute drive does not seem reasonable for a good night out, though, students do have the option of engaging in the ancient ritual of interacting with one another right on campus.

Joe Yzaguirre is a senior majoring in communications with a concentration in public relations. When he is not working on a project for any of his three minors, he can be found writing or spending an obnoxious amount of time on tumblr.

Gulf Coast Town Center
EN Photo/Paul McDade

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