Originally slated to be a parking lot, The Oak Grove located between the SDC and The Wellness Center is now a place for students to relax and enjoy nature. At Phoenix Family Day last Saturday, the Student Government Association President, Ryan Perez, cut the ribbon officially opening The Oak Grove.

In an address, Dr. Randy Avent, President of Florida Polytechnic University, noted that the area filled with scrub oaks was initially slated to become a parking lot. He remarked that students had a liking to the old growth in the area. Dr. Kathryn Miller, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, herself, noticed students walking through and questioned, “How can we further evolve that?”

“…enjoy nature, reconnect with nature, a place to be calm, a place to reflect.”

Dr. Kathryn Miller, Vice Provost for Student Affairs

The Oak Grove features a connecting path from the Student Development Center (SDC) to The Wellness Center with accessible entrances from the access road and the SDC. Lights, outlets, and picnic tables are ready to use, and additional seating in the form of sittable concrete ledges can be expected by November – Early December.

“I’m hoping that this Oak Grove will provide an additional location where students can go read, process, and hopefully prepare for tests, prepare for those challenges that they’re going to be facing,” Dr. Miller said. Additionally, it could be a lunch spot since it’s next to the Wellness Center. “I could see it for picnics. I could see all sorts of opportunities out there.”

Perez said he was already looking forward to having Open Mic Night in The Oak Grove. “Add some nice little string lights hanging from the trees with the Spanish moss I think [it] would be a beautiful environment.”

Funding for The Oak Grove came from the Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF), funded by student fees of the same name. The University contributes to the statewide fund, and the Student Government Association decides how to spend the fund. The CITF funds from 2018-2019, approximately $150,000, were used on The Oak Grove.

Dr. Miller acknowledged, “We’ll put it there, we’ll create the space, but that is the students, the faculty, our community is really the ones who decide how this is used.”

Photos by Jason Chua – Layers Media

 The Oak Grove is a campus space that allows students to connect with others and enjoy the central Florida weather. As a key component of a healthy campus initiative, this space creates a pathway for students to easily travel to and from key extra-curricular spaces on campus. The space also creates new outdoor, naturally shaded, seating areas. 
This space will be illuminated at night, and further provides opportunities for Florida Poly students to connect with nature, study under the trees, and reflect on their studies. 
This project is partially funded by Capital Improvement Trust Funds (CITFJ which are funded by student fees, and was planned in collaboration with the Student Government Association.
Brochure of The Oak Grove

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Jason Chua

Jason Chua is the founder and Editor in Chief of Layers Media. For questions, comments, or concerns about this or other stories, email or tweet @layers_media

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