With the Margaritaville state of mind in mind, let’s take a tour of the SEC campuses…
Ole Miss: Isabelle Repinski
Fins Up from Jimmy’s home state of Mississippi, where he claims to have “started this wild and crazy run”! Ole Miss has a very easygoing culture, so Margaritaville goes hand in hand with the campus lifestyle. Our own personal Margaritaville is known as The Grove. On weekdays, it is a favorite spot among students to meet up with friends or study, but on Saturdays in the fall, it turns into 10 acres of tailgating like you’ve never seen it before–with girls in their pearls and chandeliers hanging from every tent! This is my fourth semester as an ambassador on campus, but last semester was especially exciting when the student body voted to change the official school mascot to the LandShark! Oxford is full of seafood and Cajun flare from the Mississippi coast, and is a foodie’s heaven! And being just over an hour south of Memphis, we’re not too far to celebrate “Cinco de Mayo in Memphis” either! FINS UP & HOTTY TODDY!!
Texas A&M: Taylor Feuchec
Texas A&M University, the SEC’s newest member and the home to the Fightin’ Texas Aggies is the stomping grounds to two Margaritaville University college ambassadors. The culture of the school runs deep with tradition, from yell practices the night before football games, to incredible ceremonies to honor fallen classmates. Margaritaville University made its appearance in the Spring semester of 2017, and found a great home. Decals have spread across all majors on the backs of laptops and stuck to water bottles and koozies have become a highly sought after item. For a school that is a few hundred miles from the coast and known for its agriculture programs, it is surprisingly full of coastal minded people. When the weather turns warm, the short drive to Lake Bryan is made by many Aggies and their friends with the goal of relaxation, escaping the stress of being a college student and catching some rays. It may not be white sand and salt water, but it does the trick!
If you are a big SEC fan and like to travel for games, some places for your College Station SEC bucket list should include these stops: the famous Dixie Chicken located on Northgate, right across the street from campus, Bottle Cap Alley (conveniently located right next to the Dixie Chicken) and the Bonfire Memorial, which is on campus.
University of Alabama: Virginia Dodenhoff
Picture this: you’re standing in a sea of crimson and white, your football team is destroying their opponent; and you’re chanting the lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama.” It’s Saturday in Bryant-Denny stadium. Here on the University of Alabama’s campus, winning is a tradition, and having fun while you’re doing so is a priority. From drinking Yellow Hammers in the fall to hanging out with your best friends behind the black tarps of a frat house in the spring, we love to have a good time.
Head down to Manderson Landing on a nice day to take a walk along the Black Warrior River or take a group of friends to the lake to hangout on the cliffs. There are so many ways to relax and embrace the Margaritaville state of mind on Alabama’s campus! Students find time to escape their busy class days by heading to the quad and taking a quick nap or sitting on a bench and people watching. Even on a Sunday afternoon, students can sit back and relax in the Right Field of “The Joe” and watch the baseball team play. At the end of a long day of class as you’re walking home from campus, you look up and see another beautiful sunset that takes your breath away every time. It’s another day in paradise in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
University of Florida: Kristina Genovese
It’s in the tropics somewhere between the Port of Key West and Southwest of Jacksonville, but no parallels of blue and orange mark the spot exactly. Palm trees provide the camouflage, Gator games bring the corn hole and kegs, tourists and travelers. Passports are not required. Island music rules. The lines to the bars are brutal.
At the University of Florida, fun and escapism is an everyday occasion. While most students escape to the sunshine state for spring break or family vacations, students at UF get to live the island lifestyle every single day. In fact, I had bananas growing outside of my dorm room freshman year. Margaritaville is more than a state of mind here, it’s a constant state of life!
Despite its less than alluring nickname, the Swamp is without a doubt each and every student’s favorite location on campus. Tailgates that start at 9am, constant gator chomping and over 90,000 fans in the stadium, with many more flooding the streets, restaurants and bars surrounding Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, are the epitome of Saturdays in Gainesville. The Gator Nation once cheered so loud, it registered an earthquake with the University’s earthquake seismograph.
As you walk through campus, students are sporting Hawaiian shirts and flip flops, studying in hammocks underneath palm trees, longboarding or riding their beach cruiser to class or taking a stroll around Lake Alice where, yes, there are live gators that occasionally wander too far and block traffic. A few miles down the road, the school also owns Lake Wauburg that boasts sailing, paddle boarding, waterskiing and wakeboarding, all at no cost to students.
As if that wasn’t enough, UF both works hard and plays hard as the first school in the SEC to be named a top 10 public university, coming in at No. 9 in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. The University of Florida truly is 85 degrees and sunny and with more Margaritaville lodging and dining locations than any other state, it’s easy to see how Margaritaville University and Florida blend together like tequila, salt, and limes.
LSU: Catherine Smith
Louisiana State University (LSU) is rich in cajun culture and tradition. Saturdays in the fall are for one thing and one thing only, tiger football. LSU game days begin the day before, as fans set up tailgates, load RVs, and prep an array of Cajun cuisine from Jambalaya to smoked meats to boudin balls and meat pies. The energetic, delicious tailgates are followed by nights in Death Valley: a great escape for LSU students.
There is nothing in the world as energetic and loud as Saturday nights in Death Valley. In fact, it has been ranked as one of, if not the loudest, college football stadium year after year. LSU football is the epitome of the Margaritaville lifestyle! Being on the Gulf Coast and only one hour from New Orleans, most students at LSU were raised by Parrotheads and have known Buffett and his music since childhood.
On campus, Margaritaville as a brand is growing as we now have two LSU MargU Ambassadors to stir the conversation, spread the word, and share the MargU swag sent to us ambassadors each semester. When LSU students need to escape from classes and the hustle and bustle of college life, you can find us jamming to some live music and hydrating at local watering holes such as Fred’s in Tigerland, walking the LSU lakes, sipping margaritas at Superior Grill (a favorite local margarita spot with live music, I suggest the house frozen strawberry!), filling up on some boiled crawfish at the local Sammy’s Grill, or partaking in Taco Tuesdays at The Rum House.
When the college life gets too hectic and we need to set our clocks to island time, you can find us down in the French Quarter of New Orleans sipping hurricanes at the unique and always entertaining Pat O’Brian’s Piano Bar, the heart and soul of New Orleans! So if you ever find yourself escaping to the Bayou, just find any local and they are sure to point you in the right direction of food, fun and relaxation. Fins Up and Geaux Tigers!
University of Tennessee: Jake Wade and Autumn Townsend
Being a Margaritaville University college ambassador usually describes a specific lifestyle of each member. Being a Margaritaville University ambassador in an SEC school has the potential to be so much more. My name is Jake Wade and I am a Margaritaville University ambassador at the University of Tennessee. I grew up wanting to go to UT and I also grew up with my family always playing Jimmy Buffett on the radio. Some big parts of being in at a SEC school are Greek life and football. Margaritaville fits into both perfectly. Jimmy Buffett concerts continually hold some of the largest tailgates I’ve even been to, with UT tailgates right up there with them.
Greek life has also played a big part in my Margaritaville state of mind. There aren’t many places where you’ll see a big group of guys hanging out in Hawaiian shirts and shorts in 60 degrees weather, drinking, singing and having a great time. Although Tennessee may not be very close to the ocean, we have some of the best lakes around. Some of the best summer days involve being out on a boat without a worry in the world. I’ve been blessed to be a part of Margaritaville University, and I couldn’t imagine spreading the lifestyle on any other campus. I have loved being able to bring Margaritaville to this campus but one great thing that has made it even better is having other Margaritaville ambassadors to share the Margaritaville state of mind with here at UT!
Hey ya’ll! My name is Autumn Townsend and I am also an ambassador at the University of Tennessee and like Jake, I am also in Greek life on campus. I couldn’t agree more that Saturdays in the south are the closest thing we can get to tailgating at a Jimmy Buffett concert on a beautiful summer evening. I have been to too many JB concerts to count (aka, collecting too many t-shirts to count) and have loved the island lifestyle for as long as I can remember. Coming to Tennessee, I was so excited to see that I had an opportunity to bring the Margaritaville state of mind to Rocky Top and also be able to grab a Cheeseburger in Paradise at the Margaritaville Pigeon Forge.
All in all, we are proud to say that we go to an amazing school and that we get to share one of our favorite brands with other students on campus. We can’t wait to grow the MargU family with more Parrotheads just like us here at the University of Tennessee!
University of Arkansas: Phoebe Frazier
536 miles. That is the distance it takes to get from Fayetteville, Arkansas to the nearest beach. Luckily, at the University of Arkansas, we don’t need a beach to put us in the Margaritaville state of mind! Any given afternoon or weekend, weather permitting, one could walk the Old Main Lawn to find nearly 100 hammocks filled with 1-2 occupants in each enjoying a book, music, or good company.
Drive 15 minutes north and students flock to Lake Fayetteville in the Spring and Summer to avoid responsibilities and soak up the beautiful weather and good times. Travel 20 minutes south to one of the best study break destinations in town, Devil’s Den State Park for some hiking.
Come football season, everyone gathers to unwind and enjoy watching our boys in white and cardinal take on our SEC rivals. Though it may not be close to the beach, you don’t have to go too far to find an escape into a state of pure bliss and relaxation.
The University of Arkansas and the people whom inhabit the area have truly created a special environment. By simply swinging from a tree in my hammock, taking in the world around me, and listening to my favorite Buffett album, I am able to realize how simple finding your own version of Margaritaville can be. From hammocks to lakes to hiking, Fayetteville is an escape to Margaritaville with its own unique twists.