We built this city: FIU and the City of Sweetwater partner up creating University City

Giselle Cancio/Staff Writer 

A campus that started off as an airport tower has the potential to officially become a college town, or as Sweetwater and FIU like to call it, “University City.”

University City is the name that has been given to the partnership between FIU and the City of Sweetwater. There are many projects, facility constructions and events that will be taking place over the course of the next few years to bring this all into reality.

“The creation of student housing, the proposed pedestrian bridge across Eighth Street and the various internship opportunities offered by the City are a few of the components of this strengthening relationship,” said Daniel Irigoyen, Student Government Association Housing Senator. “In a sense, this is a mutualistic relationship where the FIU and Sweetwater communities enrich each other and add value to living, studying and working in the area.”

The FIU Honors College has had a working relationship with Sweetwater for years, but the University as a whole has been moving towards having a closer connection with this neighboring community and has had success.

In order to celebrate these recent accomplishments, this Saturday, March 8, FIU SGA in conjunction with the city of Sweetwater will have the University City District Festival.

The festival is a street party with diverse food, live music, craft beverages, a DJ battle between fraternities, giveaways, street vendors, a farmer’s market and much more for students and families to enjoy.

It was originally thought of by former Student Government speaker, Javier Navas, who currently works for the City of Sweetwater.

Navas created the Ad-Hoc University City Committee in the senate, which among many things, has helped with the planning of this event.

The event is being executed by the University City Committee, the City of Sweetwater, and the developer of 109 Tower.

109 Tower is the residence hall that is currently in construction across the street from PG5. There is not an expected open date yet, but they are taking applications for both residency and resident assistants.

“I think the event serves as an orientation to University City,” Irigoyen said. “At the moment, the academic opportunities for students in Sweetwater are increasing, but I think that a festival is the best way to make the sense of community a tangible feeling.”

Irigoyen’s goal, alongside the committee is to introduce students to the community that we have right across the street.

In other universities around the country, the surrounding communities are a part of, and add value to the college experience.

“There is something to be said about being in a diverse environment that exposes students to both academic and working-class individuals that see things from different, but equally valuable standpoints and seeing those layers enriches one’s understanding of the world,” Irigoyen said.

This event has been in the works since January and they expect it to be nothing short of a success. It will run from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. right across the street from PG5 and students are encouraged to bring friends and family with them.

City officials, including the Mayor of Sweetwater, will be in attendance and will say a few words to the community.

“As a civil engineering student, I think it would be really nice to have a public square where people from different walks of life are able to see and interact with each other on a daily basis,” Irigoyen said. “I think good public design that encourages civic interaction would really bring the University City vision home.”


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