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Scarvey column: Finding my inner Big Dawg

By Katie Scarvey
kscarvey@salisburypost.com
Last week, my husband and I attended freshman orientation at the University of Georgia, where our oldest daughter will be attending in the fall.
I wasn’t bubbling over with enthusiasm about the prospect of her becoming a Bulldog. Honestly, I wasn’t quite finished mourning her decision not to go to Chapel Hill.
I started to come around, though, after she got an hour of academic advising before she registered. That level of attention is pretty impressive, given that there are about 5,000 incoming freshmen.
Besides, I’m a Wake grad, so those tender Tar Heel feelings I had been nurturing weren’t really natural.
Some things that struck me about UGA:
The bookstore carries sheep brains.
They also carry Clinique makeup and Godiva chocolate, which I found sort of amazing.
In case you’re wondering, the Godiva gets better floor space than the sheep brains.
Food service has gone upscale as well. The UGA dining hall food is so good it’s the first thing that pops in my head when somebody asks about how orientation went.
“The FOOD,” I say. “Oh sweet sassy molassey, the FOOD!”
The UGA food services program has received numerous national awards and is rated in the top 1 percent of collegiate programs nationwide.
After eating a few meals there, I fought the urge to stand and applaud when the director gave a presentation about meal plans. The man is like a rock star on campus. OK, maybe not, but he certainly should be.
I came home with a bumper sticker of my new favorite saying: “Let the Big Dawg Eat.” Let him eat steak, fresh fruit smoothies, sushi, ribs, omelets to order, cheesecake and piping hot bread pudding with pecans.
No wonder bulldogs drool so much.
When I consider my own college dining experience a quarter of a century ago, baked scrod always comes to mind ó and not in a good way.
Of course, if you’re going to eat like a big dawg but don’t want the jowls of one, you’ve also got to Let the Big Dawg Sweat ó which can be done in high style at the school’s $40 million fitness center.
When I was in school, the weight rooms were reserved for sports teams. Georgia’s Ramsey Center ó named by Sports Illustrated as the best recreational center in the country ó features an incredible 11,500 square feet of weight training space open to all students, plus four gyms, three pools, an indoor track, a climbing wall, an outdoor bouldering wall, 12 racquetball courts, two squash courts and eight basketball courts.
And while all UGA residence halls are not uniformly wonderful, I was astounded at how nice the one my daughter will be living in is, with cozy common areas and a fantastic view of a big grassy quad.
It all made me sort of wish I could be an undergrad all over again. But then I remembered the courses my daughter will be taking ó things like organic chemistry ó and that pretty much snapped me out of my little daydream.
I’m looking forward to visiting, though, and I hope my daughter knows that I’ll be wanting to dine on campus.
Let the Big Mom Eat!
Contact Katie Scarvey at kscarvey@salisburypost.com.

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