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Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia: Why Athens, Georgia, is the Greatest College Town in the Universe

“There is no tradition more worth of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as the University of Georgia.” -University of Georgia Battle Hymn

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There is no better choice I’ve made in my adult life than choosing to attend the great University of Georgia. I have many reasons to be a proud alumnus. The University of Georgia has been a leader in education, research, athletics, and, of course, partying for years. In fact, it is one of the more difficult schools to get into in the South. We have a beautiful campus, amazing traditions, an infamous nightlife, and beautiful people, all in a remote, small town setting. There is a place for everyone at the University of Georgia, from Greeks to hipsters, from future politicians to entrepreneurs to lawyers to businessmen and women. There are more than 600 student clubs and nearly 60 Greek chapters, in which about 25 percent of the student body is involved. We chosen Athenians also have a thriving music scene, producing artists like REM, B-52s, Drive By Truckers, and Widespread Panic. I miss it all. As they say, “UGA: the greatest four to five years of your life.”

Campus And Education

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The University of Georgia easily has one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. Yes, the world. It was the first state-chartered university in these great United States, founded in 1785, and North Campus is a testament to the university’s history and greatness. The classical architectural style, amazing landscaping, beautiful trees and flowers, and of course UGA’s trademark Arch–it truly is a marvel to behold. We tailgate there, we study there, we lounge there, and North Campus even drew the attention of Hollywood when “Road Trip” was filmed there. It’s especially beautiful in the springtime, and should definitely be on anyone’s state of Georgia bucket list.

The University of Georgia has one of the best business schools and law schools in the South, as well as excellent educational, pharmaceutical, and journalism programs. We’re one of the top public education institutions in the country, drunk or sober.

Traditions

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The University of Georgia, as well as the city of Athens, is a place of traditions. We have superstitions, like not walking under the Arch before graduation. We also have sports related traditions, like ringing the Chapel Bell after each Georgia athletic victory. We have Classic City Brewfest and the Twilight bike race, where every bar sets up on the sidewalk so they can serve the race observers well into the morning. And, of course, we have the UGA Battle Hymn before each football game. We also have the Dawg Walk before every football game, where we watch our players march to Sanford Stadium for an SEC gridiron battle. Tailgating on North Campus is a UGA staple, too.

Athens

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Every UGA grad knows you haven’t partied unless you’ve partied in Athens. I’ve had friends visit from other SEC “party” schools and they were nearly blackout while we were just getting started. We’re consistently a top 15 party school while simultaneously–and paradoxically–being great at academics and athletics. We’re basically good at everything.

There are bars for every crowd, and every bar has regulars. There are dance clubs, dive bars, and slightly more upscale bars and restaurants. Downtown is almost always packed with gorgeous women and guys looking to snag one of them. The University of Georgia has really developed a reputation as a party school because of the vibrant Athens scene. Everyone I know who has lived in Athens or has visited Athens even for one night has gone home with a crazy, alcohol-soaked story from an unforgettable experience. I have too many to count.

Whenever you come into town as an alum, you are bound to run into old friends and get drunk off your ass. Automatically, you become a patron to one of downtown Athens’ many drunk food locations, like the famous diner The Grill or Little Italy Pizzeria. Why should Athens be on everyone’s party bucket list? Because even other SEC schools know it’s the best place to party. I had an Ole Miss alumnus tell me that Athens was like Oxford’s Grove on steroids. It sure as hell is, and it was my playground for five years. Go Dawgs.

Sports

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Football at UGA is not just a sport, it’s a religion. From tailgates on North Campus to the Dawg Walk to game time to the post-game invasion of the downtown bars, there is nothing like game day in Athens. When we enter Sanford Stadium, whether it’s our first time or 50th time, we experience the larger-than-life feeling we cannot ignore. We all know the UGA Battle Hymn by heart. When we point at the upper deck above the south end zone and the Lone Bugler begins to play those few notes, we get goosebumps and our adrenaline spikes to near fatal levels. Our hearts pound in anticipation for the game as Larry Munson’s voice fills us with our well-deserved Bulldog pride. The stadium is a powder keg and the Bulldog players tearing through the Georgia logo to take the field detonates it into roars of Georgia pride. On game day, drunk or sober, we are all family, and we embrace all those who chant, “What’s that coming down the track? The mean machine in red and black! Ain’t nothin’ finer in the land than a drunk obnoxious Georgia fan! Gooooo Dawgs! Sic ‘em!”

Our other sports are worth noting, too, as we perennially have talented baseball, tennis, gymnastics, and swim teams. We occasionally have a decent basketball team. In fact, I may make it to Athens for the sole purpose of attending a baseball game this year. ESPN ranked Athens as one of the best sports towns in the country, and we sure as hell show it. We’re always proud of our athletes.

I’ll always love the University of Georgia, and although I’ll never be an Athens townie, I’ll always bleed red and black. Go Dawgs.

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