Campus Joe

This is the first week of “Campus Joe,” a biweekly column from Oracle columnist Joe Polito that explores random spots on USF’s campus. How does it work? Polito throws a dart at a large campus map and goes there to find a story.

My first dart this semester landed on the empty lot between Magnolia, Pine and Alumni drives on the southwest side of campus.

Sure, I could have moved the dart a few inches left to the Botanical Gardens or picked my own spot, but what’s the fun in that?

Optimistic, I set off on my bicycle hoping to find a spot full of activity and crawling with students. What I found was a field full of garbage that was crawling with ants.

A construction worker insisted I was lost until I explained what I was doing there, to which he said I should have picked a more interesting spot. Thanks for the tip. 

The lot is used for event parking, but it’s usually just extra space for construction purposes. The worker pointed out the GeoPark nearby, though.

Created in 2001, the GeoPark is home to the University’s mini Stonehenge — large rocks that display geological teachings. The displays have information about aquifer wells and sinkholes.

The site was created when representatives from USF’s Geology department insisted that a plot of land be set aside for geological teaching and research, according to the GeoPark Web site.

While initially I thought the GeoPark was a little lame, the idea behind it is sound. However, all the trash on the ground could prevent students from using the site properly.

I don’t know what is more saddening: the University putting dumpsters in a geology park or the lazy students who throw trash everywhere.

Since geology isn’t a hobby of mine, it’s safe to say I really didn’t understand much of the exhibit. However, I certainly appreciated the land. I rode my bike up and down the dirt mounds, climbed a tree, observed a rather impressive ant pile, saw multiple species of bird and watched bees pollinate flowers.

The site is a great place to relax and take in nature. It is one of the few spots on campus where, for the most part, nothing is happening. That is sometimes appreciated.