The first couple of weeks at a new college – particularly one with a campus as large as UCF’s – can be pretty daunting. Where should you park? Can you make it across campus before your next class? Where are all those buses going?
But there’s no need to be intimidated. These tips will have you navigating your way around campus like a pro.
If you don’t have to drive to campus, you may not want to. But if you do, parking can be tricky while everyone gets their bearings during the first two weeks of the fall semester.
Here’s a no-brainer: Parking spaces close to the busiest buildings are harder to come by. You can almost always find parking aplenty a bit further away in Garage A and the Libra Garage.
Also, consider UCF’s Park and Ride system. You can park in Lot E4 (next to the Softball Field and across from Bright House Networks Stadium) and hop on a shuttle that will drop you by the Health and Public Affairs buildings. They pick up every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Pro Tip: If you don’t already have a parking permit, avoid the long lines by applying online and having it mailed.
A fleet of free shuttles serves students on and off campus. On campus, the Black and Gold line runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters, stopping at the busiest buildings and facilities. They hit every stop every 15 minutes or so, with the Black Route running clockwise around campus and the Gold Route running counter-clockwise.
Another 14 shuttle routes run between campus and 19 off-campus apartment complexes and Central Florida Research Park. Those shuttles operate between 6:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.
There are shuttles that run between the main campus and the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, and others that connect students at the Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona. And don’t forget the Tuesday shuttles to Publix, and the game day shuttles that pick up students at apartment complexes and take them to Knights football games.
Pro Tip: Shuttles are tracked via GPS. Find out when one will arrive at your stop and see its exact location by visiting online, or better yet, download the UCFMobile app on your Apple or Android device and click the “Shuttles” icon.
How to Get to Class
The first two days of the fall semester, you can find helpful people at key spots around campus. These Campus Locator tents will be staffed by UCF employees and student leaders who can answer questions, provide directions and give you a map and a bottle of water. Look for them on the sidewalk by Garage I and the Education Building; Memory Mall by the Veterans Commemorative Site; the side of the Reflecting Pond closest to Howard Phillips Hall; and the courtyard north of Ferrell Commons, near the Mathematical Sciences Building.
Printed maps are great. But what if you aren’t sure where you are? Open the UCFMobile app on your smartphone and click the “Maps” icon. If you hit the arrow in the lower corner, you’ll see your exact location on a campus map. A search function will also highlight specific buildings, making your path to your next class – or bite to eat – quick and painless.
Have an appointment across town but don’t own a car? For occasional driving, consider the car-sharing service Zipcar. There are five Zipcars based on campus. Members who pay $70 a year or $7 a month can reserve one of the cars, use their Zipcard to unlock it and drive away. You’ll pay rates starting at $7.50 an hour or $69 a day for a cars like a Toyota Prius, Nissan Versa or Ford Escape, gas, insurance and mileage included.
Another option is ZimRide, a ride-sharing service for UCF students and employees. It connects you to potential carpool partners, whether it’s for a regular commute to and from campus or a weekend trip to another city.
Finally, the Student Government Association operates a bike-sharing program. UCF students and employees may check out a bicycle, lock, helmet, and light, free of charge. Just visit one the three locations around campus: the Student Union, Suite 312; Member Services in the lobby of the Recreation and Wellness Center; or the main office at Lake Claire housing community. If you can check out a bike Monday-Thursday, it must be returned 24 hours later. If you check out a bike on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, it’s due by noon on Monday.