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Tampa Gator Club Brings the Gators to the Tampa Bay!

By Elisha Neubauer

Across the nation, Universities host 'clubs' that are designed to keep alumni connected, active, and involved with the University, faculty, and other alumni. It's a common ground for those who poured their heart and soul into a school, team, or program and allows relationships to foster based on those factors- no matter the location.

The University of Florida plays host to over 100 Gator Clubs, which are, according to the website, "affiliated organizations of the UF Alumni Association and exist to support the mission of teaching, research and service, for both the Alumni Association and the University of Florida." Out of these 100 Gator Clubs, the Tampa Gator Club is the 2nd largest in the Association, with steady hopes to take the number 1 spot shortly.

"We aim to bring together alumni of all ages and interests by offering a variety of activities throughout the year," Amy Stanley, President-Elect of the Tampa Gator Club, tells us when we inquired about their purpose. "During football season, Gator fans gather at locations all around Tampa to cheer on the Orange and Blue with their fellow fans. Our watch party locations offer drink and food specials for those watching the game." These events include board members raffling off Gator goodies, which include anything from signed footballs and tickets to upcoming games to shirts and Gator decor. The proceeds from these watch parties go directly to the Club's scholarship funds, which are given out to Hillsborough County students attending the University of Florida.

The Tampa Gator Club hosts numerous other events, such as Chomp at the Trop with the Tampa Bay Rays, Gator Night with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and alligator painting at Painting with a Twist. They host a football and cheerleading clinic alongside the Boys and Girls Club in which Gator football alum and the Storm cheerleaders participate with the local children. They partnered with kidsPACK, an organization that provided meals for needy children to take home over the weekends and holidays so that they'll have food to eat, to pack 600 meals for Hillsborough County kids. "We even invited out Give and Grub, so that our dinner that evening would help feed local families," said Stanley.

In an effort to bring the Gator standard of education to the Hillsborough area, the Tampa Gator Club provides "Gator Talks" right in the Tampa Bay. "This event is an outreach event with the University of Florida and the first we've done in a few years," explains Stanley. She went on to tell us more, stating that the outreach events are opportunities for UF professors and faculty to come share about a topic at an event put on by a local Gator Club. "Our event will feature two deans from the College of Education and guests from the School District of Hillsborough County in a TED-style talk about Standardized Testing," she details. "We hope to do an outreach event like this each year and feature other colleges from the University on other pertinent topics."

For those looking to get involved but aren't alumni, don't worry. Membership is open to anyone who loves the University of Florida and the Gators. As the website states, "It is not mandatory that you graduated from Florida or even attended UF; you just have to LOVE the GATORS!"

For more information please be sure to visit their website at www.tampagatorclub.org.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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