Healthier U


By: Nikki Nies

When looking for potential universities to attend, everything from tuition, location and academic rigor is compared.  It’s gotten so competitive,  that even the health of the university is ranked.  And, rightfully so.   As of October 2013, The Active Times has ranked the 50 fittest colleges in America.  Athletic facilities, team sport participation, campus eateries and overall quality of life on campus were taken into consideration when compiling the rankings.

Before checking out the list, what’re you willing to bet your school makes the list?

10. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN: Since a 2003 integration of varsity sports into the Office of Student Life, there has been successful growth in the participation of athletic programs; offers top of the line rec facility and wellness center; ranked as having a high quality of life

9. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA: has the 2nd largest capacity football stadium in the nation; has claimed 68 national team championships; offers over 50 club team sports; has an entire college devoted to Health and Human Development

8. Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS: ranked #38 on College Prowler’s list of schools with most active varsity sports team; recently launched Wildcats Wellness Coalition program, which aims to strengthen student’s emotional, environmental, spiritual and mental health; has one of the largest state of the art rec center

 7. Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL : has a $15 million sports and recreation complex; has a rock climbing wall; 8000 square foot weight room; pool; 3 separate gyms; has some of the highest ranked campus food in the nation due to partnership with Cafe Bon Appetit, which offers fresh food through the Farm to Fork Program

6. Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA:  According to the Princeton Review, students are the happiest in the nation; campus offers several healthy dining options; many incoming freshmen are orientated with W.O.A.!, which is Wilderness Orientation Adventure

5. Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA: Ranked #10 on Princeton’s best quality of life list; #5 of “everyone plays intramural sports”; has created a harmoniously happy campus

4. Rice University, Houston, TX: Ranked  Ranked #1 on Princeton’s best quality of life list; described to have “world class dining”; has more than 35 intramural and club sports teams

3. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME: tops Princeton Review’s “best campus food” list 6 times in the last decade; dining service is run by a Registered Dietitian (RD) that include meals such as baked Maine pollock and spicy lentil tacos; since 2009 has state-of-the-art Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness

2. Washington State University in St. Louis, St Louis, MO: consistently producing Division III championship teams in women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball; school has 16 eateries (including kosher); College Prowlers labels the food the “best in the nation”; students score 99 out of 100 on quality of life and happiest rating

1. Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA: has dining halls dedicated to organically grown, sustainable food systems; multiple top 10 dining halls; continually successful Division I varsity sports teams

Now that you’ve seen the top ten fittest colleges, check out the full list at .  It’s great to see students embracing  the impressive services the colleges have to offer. Does this list change your thoughts on where you’re applying next year?


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