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Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

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Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

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I saw this article on the Sun Sentinel Website about FAU. It's from Anne Geggis

Boca Raton may be better known for its attitude than activism, but Mayor Susan Whelchel foresees the city's future as a college town.

It's the home of Florida Atlantic University, Lynn University and a branch of Palm Beach State College. And with FAU closing its Fort Lauderdale campus, Whelchel says, the Boca Raton campus is about to grow bigger in a way that will decrease the city's average age. "Like it or not," she said.

Not everyone buys into the idea of Boca as a "college town."

Here are some of the reasons they say it's definitely no Gainesville, the hard-partying home of the University of Florida:

Food for thought

Boca Raton has no restaurant that vegguide.org recognizes as "vegan" and just two rated "vegetarian," while Gainesville has three vegan establishments and three vegetarian. For those on a college budget, Domino's Pizza has one outlet for every 17,764 residents in Gainesville, compared to one for every 42,196 residents in Boca Raton.

Acute lack of accessories

Pity the poor FAU Owls. First, they have to share their mascot species with Temple and Rice universities, unlike Gators that are UF's alone. Add to that, you can find Gators emblazoned on everything from iPhone covers to pacifiers. Official gear includes dangly Owls earrings, but, alas, nothing to reach the pre-toilet- trained.

Golf courses vs. college courses

Gainesville has three golf courses that belong to the U.S. Golf Association; Boca Raton has 21. That, plus all the area's older people strikes FAU student David Baez, 21, as distinctly unlike a college town: "They need a younger crowd in a bigger radius."

Party, not so hearty

The Princeton Review ranks Florida State University and UF as the eighth and ninth top party schools, respectively. FAU, however, doesn't break into the top-20 ranking. Even the food places close too early, students say. "We need places that are open later," said Christina Sanchez, 19, of Naples. ""We're hungry at 2, 3 in the morning, but everything is closed."

Mind-blowing stats

Unlike Tallahassee (home to FSU and Florida A&M University), Jacksonville (University of North Florida) and Gainesville, no city in South Florida's vicinity made last year's list of top 40 pot capitals in the Daily Beast a list dominated by college towns. Tallahassee was rated No. 1, bringing new meaning to the term "cannabis capital," and Gainesville has its own celebrated strain: Gainesville Green.

Driven by pride

Gator fans have made UF's tag the state's most popular, accounting for 102,890 plates, whereas FAU's tag drives in at the 77th spot, with 2,309 ordered.

Not-so-liberal ferment

Gainesville Democrats outnumber Gainesville Republicans by nearly two-to-one, but in Boca Raton, registered Democrats have just a 422-person advantage over the Republicans out of 57,698 voters. Real purple.

It just doesn't feel the same

Lenore Wachtel, a longtime Boca Raton resident, summed it up: "I've been to college towns. It's very different. My daughter lived [in Gainesville] for seven years and thought she got too old for it, nd she was in her 30s." The average age in Boca is 42.6 years, with 21 percent of its residents 65 or older.

This has to be hands down, one of the DUMBEST articles ever written in the history of the newspaper. Ted, you should be happy you're not there anymore.

I agree about nothing being open late, and the lack of pizza delivery stores in the area. However, as more and more kids come on campus and the average age begins to get younger and younger, it wouldn't surprise me to see more dominoes or pappa johns' pop up in the area. I do think some of these places should stay open until at least 2am. I think they'd be surprised how many drunk and high kids living on campus have the munchies at that time.

As for the rest of this article… So let me get this straight, until FAU makes it among the pot heads and the stoners we'll never be a college town? Then she brings up politics. WTF does being a democrat or a republican or even an independent have to do with whether you're a college town? I've been to University of Texas in Austin and THAT is a college town! Texas is known for being a Red state, so does that mean they're not a college town because most Texans are republican?

Must be a slow news day for the SS because this was amateur at best. Thanks for the laughs though

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

I couldn't help but to make an account and write what I think about this article. I'd expect this from an unofficial UF student paper, talking about why Gainesville is a trashy dump. I plan to call the Sentinel and file a complaint.

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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

The more I read this article, the dumber she sounded. The Sentinal should issue an apology to FAU, Boca AND everyone else named in this P.O.S. piece!
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

She has an email address and phone number on the page. I'm not going to post it on here, but its on the article.

If you're going to write an opinion piece at least call it that. Boca has no vegan restaurants. Ok? what's your point. If you're a vegan, can you not order vegetarian food from ANY restaurant?

I didn't realize smoking pot was the be all to end all of determining a "college town"

For anyone who has ever seen Billy Madison, this is what this lady needs to be told:

What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

According to her Facebook profile, Anne Geggis is a South Florida Staff Writer at the SS who lives in Gainesville, Fl.

A Google search pulled up several pieces she had written for Gator Sports and the Gainesville Sun.

There are several good arguments to be made about what a college town should be like and how Gainesville compares to Boca Raton. This article contains none of them.

So, how did this piece get through without some editor saying, "Seriously, are you a 17-year-old freshman? Save it for your blog. This is not journalism. Stop wasting my time."


P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

Owl2Doc said

"Seriously, are you a college freshmen? Save it for your blog. This is not journalism. Stop wasting my time."

Haha seriously! This article belongs on a UF message board. Yes UF is a college town, no one is arguing that. Is it more fun for a college kid than Boca? Of course, no one is disputing that. But her reasons on why Gainesville and Tallahassee or more of a college town than Boca are stupid. It looks like something a 4th grader would write

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

How many other college towns have a beach?

If Welchel wants to turn Boca into more of a college city, all the power to her. It should also be her goal to encourage the community to help the FAU develop into a top university. This will enhance Boca's image and possibly attract businesses to locate in the area. This might already be what she is trying to accomplish.

FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

Right now the opposition to any "college town"-type development is through one Council member, Anthony Mahjess, who has tried to stonewall a number of projects that would detract from traditional Boca Raton as a slow-moving, high-cost retiree's paradise.

Hopefully he'll never become mayor because if he does, there will likely be zero progress made during his tenure. Those of you who live in Boca Raton can help to make sure that doesn't happen when (if) you vote for mayor in the future. You can also stop by at a City Council meeting and speak up during Public Forum in the end. They listen to you. Tell them you're a Boca citizen and pulling for FAU. Let them know people like that exist and have a say in what happens.

illinoisowl said

It should also be her goal to encourage the community to help the FAU develop into a top university. This will enhance Boca's image and possibly attract businesses to locate in the area. This might already be what she is trying to accomplish.

If done correctly, the University Boulevard project will pull in plenty of business. That area will really take off. It's going to start off slow; the University Park project brings students to that area, who bike and drive up and down the street every day. Maybe they start hanging out at NaKava, they shop at the bookstore and the head shop over there, someone buys the old Fabric building, turns it into a sports bar/Applebees type place, that works, someone else buys another piece of property, a Steak 'n'shake goes up, or a bar, or something, and piece by piece it builds over the years. Maybe the businesses there want to get out, sell off their warehouses behind Boca Bargoons and the strip plaza, and people build more student housing that feeds right out onto the strip of bars, restaurants and stores. And if nobody's "protecting" it in City Council, some of the businesses become upscale like downtown Delray, and suddenly you have a "Campus Bar & Grill" with "$2 PBR and a slice of pizza" next to a Truluck's with $15 appetizers "because college students want to go out to nice dinners to celebrate stuff sometimes" when we already have Mizner for that kind of sh!t.

Anyway, it's going to be interesting.

But once that's in full swing, FAU should have 5k+ students on campus (including Greeks) and hopefully new basketball and baseball stadiums. Enrollment's up to 40k, life is good, football gets into the Top 25 by two unexpected upsets, and the town starts settling into its new life as… if not a "college town", a "university city" that's proud of their Owls… even if they're Gator/Nole/Hurricane fans on the side too.



P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

Boca is changing whether this guy likes it or not. Take Mizner for example. As FAU grows it seems like Mizner has continued to grow along with it. We've seen the addition of Dubliner, iPic movie theater, Yard House. This past year they had a craft beer festival for the first time ever.

So if Anthony Mahjess thinks Boca is still for retirees and not college kids, my question to him would be then why are more and more bars starting to open in this area? Old retirees certainly aren't going to Yardhouse and definitely aren't going to a craft beer festival. When was the last time you saw a 65 year old couple at Blue Martini at the mall at midnight on a Friday?

I want him to tell the owners of Duffys' and Yard House when their restaurants are packed with people, a majority of which are under 35, during the NBA finals or Football Sundays when it's impossible to find a seat, that Boca is for old retirees and not college kids or FAU graduates who chose to stay in the area

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: Boca Raton, A College Town Wannabe?

GREAT posts guys! Maybe attitudes like those exhibited in her "article" will help unite FAU and Boca and Palm Beach County too! You can be a "college town" without the drugs and crime she seems to make as very important elemants of a "real" college or college town., in fact I think anytown would prefer that!
Watch and see how the entire area lites up and changes regarding the football team and stadium once Coach P and staff get this baby turned around, and it won't take very long either IMHO, Go Owls!
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