#50 Oklahoma State University-Stillwater—Stillwater, OK from The 50 Fittest Colleges 2013
The 50 Fittest Colleges 2013
#50 Oklahoma State University-Stillwater—Stillwater, OK
The cowboys and cowgirls of Oklahoma State are an athletic bunch. On game days they fill up Boone Pickens Stadium in droves, and every other day of the week—every day, actually—they take advantage of the world-class Colvin Recreation Center. OSU also has the distinction of having opened the nation’s first wellness center in 1990, which has grown in scope to encompass group fitness, personal training, fitness assessments and nutrition counseling. The goal: to create “America’s healthiest campus.”
#49 University of California, Berkeley—Berkeley, CA
Berkeley’s 2006 overhaul of its campus dining program turned what for some students was once a dining downer into a healthy eaters heaven. Every eatery on campus now includes its very own 100-percent organic salad bar, and the school—ranked number 20 in the country by U.S. News & World Report—even hired a few gourmet chefs to design new dining hall meals. Berkeley is also adamant about offering plenty of options for its vegetarian and vegan students. One College Prowler commenter said, “There are so many vegan options in the dining halls that it is ridiculous.” Whether or not the amount of alternative dining options is particularly absurd we can’t say for sure. But we do know that the school's effort to fuel its students with healthier foods gets it a spot on our 50 Fittest Colleges list.
#48 Michigan State University—East Lansing, MI
With several national football, basketball, and hockey championship titles to its name, it’s no wonder Michigan State ranks number ten on College Prowler’s list of schools with the most active varsity sports. What makes Michigan State a truly fit school, though, is the fact that the elite athletes aren’t the only students on campus who like to stay active. For those who probably won’t go pro, the university offers a long list of intramural and club sports, plenty of fitness classes, and more than 15 athletic facilities. Chances are if you like to exercise you’re probably into eating well, too, so it’s no surprise that the quality and variety of MSU’s cafeteria food lands it among College Prowler’s top 100 schools for healthy dining.
#47 Princeton University—Princeton, NJ
The Ivy Leaguers at Princeton like to workout their bods just as much as their brains. Even with a recently renovated fitness center, students report having to wait in line for cardio machines at the gym—which may be an annoyance, but is also a sign of a student body inclined towards exercise. As if being the country’s number-two-ranked school weren't enough to brag about, the university also boasts a top 100 spot on College Prowler’s healthiest dining options list and is among the Princeton Review’s group of schools with an exceptionally high quality of life rating.
#46 Florida State University—Tallahassee, FL
Florida State gets an A+ for athletics from College Prowler and is the Princeton Review’s number-four-ranked “Jock School.” So yeah, students here are pretty into sports. With thirteen national championship titles, FSU has one of the most competitive athletic programs in the country. But it’s not just the elite players who like to get in on the game. Intramural sports teams include everything from flag football to bowling. College Prowler student-author Cheryl Justis says, “IM sports are well organized and highly competitive, so make sure you’re serious about the sport you choose, otherwise you may end up on the sidelines.” Whoa. Nothing like a some good, old fashion competition to spark your fitness motivation.
#45 Syracuse University—Syracuse, NY
Whether they're playing or cheering, students at Syracuse count sports as a big part of everyday life. Another “jock school” that ranks for its athletic program, the university is most recognized for its highly decorated basketball team. But with 17 other men’s and women’s varsity sports teams and an endless list of club and intramural sports to choose from, the rest of its students are far from inactive.
#44 Boston College—Chestnut Hill, MA
Athletics, from intercollegiate down to intramural, are a big part of life at Boston College. The Eagles compete in 29 Division I sports—the men’s ice hockey team were the 2012 national champions, by the way—an uncommonly high number for a school with only 9,500 undergrads. Students eagerly participate in club and intramural sports, ranging from water polo to equestrian to basketball at multiple skill levels. And, according to College Prowler, spots on the teams go fast.
#43 Emory University—Atlanta, GA
Maybe the school can’t brag too much about its sports teams or athletic facilities, but Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center is definitely something to boast about. The university houses its very own health sciences research center and is home to Georgia's largest health care system. So aside from scoring an exceptionally high quality-of-life rating from the Princeton Review, the school is also dedicated to promoting healthy living beyond its own campus.
#42 Loyola University New Orleans—New Orleans, LA
Another school that ranked for its top quality-of-life score, Loyola University New Orleans has students that may just be more into health and fitness than that friend of yours who can’t stop talking about SoulCycle. Students here produce their own monthly edition of “Student Health 101,” an e-magazine distributed to undergraduates across the country. The most recent issue covers topics like alcohol, stress, how to work out at the gym, and even whether or not tomatoes and avocados are vegetables. (You’ll have to read it to find out!)
#41 University of Nebraska-Lincoln—Lincoln, NE
The University of Nebraska made our list thanks to its A+ athletics ranking and a student body that’s enthusiastically involved in sports. The school hosts 21 varsity sports teams, five of which claim all or part of 23 different national championship titles. Three past members of the football team have won the Heisman Trophy, and in 2007 volleyball player Sarah Pavan was crowned the nation's top female student-athlete when she received the Honda Award. So we guess it comes as no surprise that the university also ranked twelfth on the Princeton Review’s list of top “jock schools.”
#40 University of Florida—Gainesville, FL
Jock school alert! Did you know that more than 150 Gator athletes have competed in the Olympic Games? And that 12 of them are gold medalists? The school’s elite athlete alumni include the likes of Tim Tebow, Ryan Lochte and Dara Torres, and its athletic program has ranked in the nation’s top five 20 times over the past 28 years. (Don’t worry, Gators, the rest of the time Florida never missed the top ten.) Plus, with over 50 club and intramural sports to choose from, there’s plenty of room for students who can’t quite make the varsity cut. Maybe they won’t go on to win the gold, but at least they’re having fun and staying fit, too.
#39 University of Miami—Coral Gables, FL
“U Miami” is another school that adores its sports scene (especially football) and has produced a long list of exceptional athletes who have made it to the NFL, NBA, major leagues and the Olympic Games. And the athletic action isn’t exclusive to the elite. Intramural sports include everything from golf to ultimate frisbee and the club sports program offers more than 34 ways to play. There must be something about the sunshine and palm trees that keeps Florida students energetic and active.
#38 Boston University—Boston, MA
Just because this school may be known more for its brains than its brawn doesn’t mean it’s lacking its fair share of sporty students. With a triathlon team that trains in the rain at 7 a.m., a competitive sailing club and an outing club that recently conquered 5,744-foot Mount Adams in New Hampshire, there’s no question as to whether BU is among the fittest schools in America. It's also got some of the highest rated campus food and a 95/100 quality-of-life rating from the Princeton Review. Plus, BU counts among its recent alumni popular YouTube personality “Jenna Marbles,” and she definitely knows a thing or two about diet and exercise.
#37 Stanford University—Stanford, CA
Ranked the 6th best school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Stanford has much more going for it than just academics. That includes a gorgeous, 8,000-acre campus near San Francisco Bay, 13 undergraduate dining halls that serve seasonal whole foods grown in adjacent, student-run organic gardens, and one of the country’s most storied athletics programs—boasting 104 team national titles, 467 individual championships and a 19-year streak as the nation’s top-ranked collegiate athletic program. Last school year, Stanford introduced its “10-Weeks to a Fitter You” program, in which certified trainers create personalized programs to help students jump-start their fitness.
#36 Scripps College—Claremont, CA
With year-round sunshine, campus dorms “like palaces,” and students who say they eat “healthier and better [while] at school than when at home,” it’s no wonder Scripps gets a 99 out of 100 quality-of-life rating from the Princeton Review and its very own spot on our fit list, too. The college’s 24,000-square-foot fitness center at the Sallie Tiernan Field House offers group exercise classes like yoga and martial arts and houses the schools progressive “Healthy Lifestyles” program, which provides workshops devoted to topics like weight management, body image, nutrition and exercise.
#35 University of Texas at Austin—Austin, TX
Another school that made our list for its overall devotion to athletics, the University of Texas was called “America’s Best Sports College” by Sports Illustrated in 2002. After taking a look at some of their outstanding varsity sports statistics it’s not hard to see why. The football team holds four national titles, the baseball team has attended the College World Series more than any other team in history and won the title six times, and the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have a combined 16 NCAA Division I titles. One student put it this way: “If you come to Texas apathetic about sports, you’re crazy.” That’s not to say you have to be a star athlete, though. The school caters to sports lovers of all levels and even offers a “Get Active, Get Involved” directory where students can find detailed information about all of the school’s club and intramural sports.
#34 University of California, Santa Barbara—Santa Barbara, CA
Maybe it’s because Santa Barbara is nestled between the Southern California beach and the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains, but students at UC Santa Barbara are generally among the happiest in the country. Many, if not most, students use bicycles as their main form of transportation, which explains the presence of a student-funded bike shop on campus. School spirit is strong at UCSB, but more so, students say, for the competitive intramural scene than for its Division I programs.
#33 University of California, Davis—Davis, CA
Zumba, “Pump N Sculpt,” “Sunrise Cycle,” “Cardio Chisel,” and “Bosu Blast” are just a few of the many group exercise classes offered at UC Davis’ Activities and Recreation Center. If that doesn’t sound like a fitness-forward campus then we don’t know what does. The ARC (as Davis students call it) also houses its very own rock climbing wall, an indoor track and a martial arts studio, just to name a few more impressive features. Students tend to work up an appetite after a day full of challenging activities like these, so it's a good thing they can choose from plenty of healthy dishes all across campus, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The school also happens to be located in one of the most cycling-forward cities in America, as recognized by the League of American Bicyclists and Bicycling Magazine, a fact that hasn't escaped Davis' bike-crazy student body.
#32 University of California, Los Angeles— Los Angeles, CA
The Bruins of UCLA have won more national titles than any other school, a fact that speaks to the pride of place athletics has in student life. The state-of-the-art John Wooden Center, named for the legendary basketball coach, is always bustling and has generous hours to accommodate even the busiest students. Club sports are numerous and wide ranging—surfing or triathlon, anyone?—and an impressive spread of activities, both IM and recreational, make sure that all students have options to stay fit. There’s an adaptive sports program to serve students and community members with disabilities; an Outdoor Adventures program with an in-house bike shop, rock wall and wilderness outings; and a long list of free or discounted instructional classes in yoga, dance, windsurfing, and just about any other activity you can imagine.
#31 University of Wisconsin-Madison—Madison, WI
Wisconsin may be most widely known for its highly competitive varsity sports teams, but it also scored well in our rankings because it happens to top the Princeton Review’s list of schools with the best health services. Along with students from Loyola New Orleans (see above), Wisconsin students also contribute to the “Student Health 101” e-magazine, and the school encourages participation in wellness workshops about topics like happiness, healthy sleep habits, healthy eating and weight management, and even meditation.
#30 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—Chapel Hill, NC
UNC-Chapel Hill is a triple threat when it comes to fitness, health, and wellness: its varsity sports teams are among the best of the best, it has healthy dining choices all across campus and it's number three on the Princeton Review's list of schools with the best campus environments—so obviously there had to be a space for the Tar Heels on our list of fittest schools. Carolina currently holds 40 NCAA championship titles in six different sports, twenty-one of which belong to the women’s soccer team. Despite a collective campus dining rating of B+ on College Prowler, the school still manages to come in 81st out of over 1,300 schools for healthiest dining.
#29 University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, MI
Whether competing in football or basketball, swimming or ice hockey, Michigan’s Wolverines collectively make up one of the most successful all-around athletic programs in the country. Besides filling up the “Big House” on game days, the student body takes its enthusiasm for athletics seriously on a more, well, active level. Students participate in 31 club sports and a full complement of drop-in and intramural activities. There are three student athletic complexes on campus, including the nation’s first collegiate intramural sport building, built in 1928. Outside of sports, the UM School of Kinesiology offers a number of fitness courses under the “U-Move” moniker, and the school also boasts an outdoors program that organizes outings, offers skills courses, and runs the Blue Bikes rental service. Students can rent a bicycle for only $75 a semester.
#28 Ohio State University—Columbus, OH
Ohio State’s Recreation and Physical Activity Center is one of the largest and most tricked out in the country, bar none. Completed in 2007, RPAC contains 569,000 square feet of wall-to-wall amenities: two pools, a 25,000-square-foot weight and fitness area, an indoor track, tons of court space that can be reconfigured for different sports, aerobics rooms, a golf station and a healthy cafe—among other things. As if this weren’t enough, the campus has four other rec centers, all of which are well used by students. Once you look at the athletics program this all makes sense: the Division I Buckeyes regularly rank among the best in the country in football, basketball and hockey, to name a few highlights, and student pride trickles down to an active intramural and club sports scene.
#27 Yale University—New Haven, CT
Varsity sports are not what you would call a priority at Yale—the national champion men’s hockey team being an exception—but intramurals are another matter. Students take their IMs very seriously here, almost as seriously as their academics. The residential colleges are pitted against each other—think Hogwarts if the term “residential colleges” draws a blank—in 30 sports, and points are awarded according to an arcane scoring system. The college with the most points at the end of the school year wins the coveted Tyng Cup.
#26 University of South Carolina—Columbia, SC
Princeton Review’s tenth-ranked school for jocks, USC (not to be confused with a certain university in Southern California) is a no-bones-about-it sports school. And by sports, we mean football. Of course, there’s more here for the average non-varsity athlete than tailgating and cheering from the stands. USC has two huge rec centers, including the 10-year-old Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center, a 192,000-square-foot super gym that rates among the best of the best: it’s got a 52-foot climbing wall, two pools, lots of gym space, cardio and weightlifting decks, and outdoor amenities as well. The Strom also has very student-friendly hours of 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, so that nobody has to miss a workout because of a busy class schedule.
#25 University of Missouri—Columbia, MO
Varsity sports are a major part of the culture at Mizzou, but that’s not the main reason why it’s on this list. The school’s top-notch rec facilities and fitness programs scored it big points: the rec center, named the best in the nation by Sports Illustrated in 2005, houses a menu of programs that would give any private gym a run for its money. For only $53 a semester, the TigerX program has a well-organized lineup of classes from Zumba to endurance cycling that run from early morning to night. Students also have the opportunity to take sub-$100 courses to become fitness instructors, yoga teachers, spin instructors or personal trainers, and there are also boot camps for students who really take their fitness seriously. This is to say nothing of one of the school’s most unique amenities: the Tiger Grotto, an indoor resort-style complex with palm trees, a lazy river and waterfall. “I'd stay at Mizzou just for the rec,” quipped one College Prowler user, “but that's not practical.”
#24 Tufts University— Medford/Somerville, MA
Tufts has some of the healthiest, best-loved student dining in the country. Not only is the school one of the top for vegetarians and vegans, much of its produce is local and organic, and there’s even a farmer’s market run by the School of Nutrition where students can pay with dining plan points. Tufts also opened a brand new fitness and rec center last year where students can sign up for five free personal training sessions.
#23 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
Football has a long and storied tradition at Notre Dame, but that’s only part of the story. Fully 10 percent of male students and 7 percent of its undergrad women are varsity athletes, according to College Prowler, and the rest, well, they’re not exactly slouches. Club sports and intramurals play a big role in campus life, almost as big as varsity athletics, some would say. Rolf Sports Recreation Center hums morning to night with activity (except on game days) and gives students access to such bonus amenities as free triathlon training workshops, equipment orientation and cross country ski rental.
#22 Loyola University Maryland— Baltimore, MD
This small Jesuit university in Baltimore has some of the best athletic and recreation facilities in the country—the second best, according to Princeton Review. Perhaps it’s because nearly 12 percent of students are varsity athletes that the $25-million Fitness and Aquatic Center was built to such high standards, but regardless, nearly all students take advantage: apart from the typical amenities—including a climbing wall—group fitness classes are free at the beginning of the semester and cheap thereafter, and the top-of-the-line Mangione Aquatic Center is well used (the on-deck whirlpool and sauna likely help with that.) Michael Phelps is even reported to train there.
#21 Bryn Mawr College—Bryn Mawr, PA
This small women’s college recently renovated its rec facilities to good effect and has a full calendar of free drop-in fitness classes. Wellness is a particular concern of the administration at this academically rigorous school, which is why undergraduates must pass a swim test or take a swimming class, rack up a certain number of PE credits, and take a mandatory wellness class freshman year. While these factors all add to a general sense of well-being on campus, the largest contributor to Bryn Mawr’s high ranking is its nationally recognized campus dining, which places a premium on healthy, organic foods with a vegan- and vegetarian-friendly bent.
#20 University of Massachusetts, Amherst— Amherst, MA
A meal plan at UMass-Amherst is something students actually want. Recognized by College Prowler and the Princeton Review for having some of the highest-quality dining hall food anywhere, UMass rates highly when it comes to nutrition and healthy dining. Many dishes are made to order using fresh, local ingredients, and every meal has at least one option certified by third-party nutrition consultants SPE. The campus recreation center is also a major part of campus life, hosting a comprehensive schedule of free fitness classes that include Insanity, P90X, high intensity interval training, spinning, yoga and more.
#19 Georgia Institute of Technology—Atlanta, GA
Students at Georgia Tech are famous for their hard-studying ways, which is why they appreciate having a such a nice rec center where they can unwind. The school’s athletic facilities are rated seventh in the nation by Princeton Review, due in large part to the massive, 300,000-square-foot Campus Recreation Center that houses the world-class aquatics complex used in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Georgia Tech’s luxe athletic digs include a huge floor with weights and cardio machines, the Wilderness Outpost to coordinate outdoor activities, plenty of gym space and group fitness studios, and even a 184-foot water slide at the aquatic center’s leisure pool. No wonder students flock to the CRC in droves.
#18 University of Maryland, College Park—College Park, MD
With one of the most active varsity sports programs in the country, it makes sense that the University of Maryland would also be home to a handful of highly rated athletic facilities. Finished in 2002, the school’s $125 million Comcast Center (unofficially named “The House That Gary Built” after national championship-winning basketball coach Gary Williams) has the ability to house over 17,000 people and hosts campus events from basketball and volleyball games to wrestling matches and gymnastics competitions. The College Park campus is also home to the Eppley Recreation Center, several fitness and weight-training centers, a campus bike shop, the Cole Fieldhouse, the school's “Maryland Adventure Program,” and the "wooded hilllock"—22 acres of forest situated next to the Comcast Center.
#17 Dartmouth College—Hanover, NH
The nation’s smallest Ivy League school makes the most of its rural New England setting, promoting fitness through a robust outdoors program that includes access to a canoe club on the Connecticut River, a 23-foot-tall bouldering gym, the Dartmouth Skiway ski area (home to the college’s three-time NCAA championship ski team), a rugged 27,000-acre private recreation preserve in New Hampshire’s north country and a student-run organic farm that supplies produce to an on-campus farm stand. Indoors, the sunlight-filled Zimmerman Fitness Center houses 16,000 square feet of state-of-the-art workout equipment. With such opportunities, it’s no surprise 80 percent of undergrads participate in interscholastic, club or intramural sports, and a full quarter of the student body belongs to the Dartmouth Outing Club.
#16 University of Georgia—Athens, Georgia
Being one of the three oldest public Universities in the U.S. (along with UNC-Chapel Hill and the College of William and Mary), the University of Georgia is clearly committed to longevity. This school is best known for its influential research programs, but hard work in the lab is well balanced with fortitude on the field. The Bulldogs lay claim to 39 national championship titles and over 120 conference championships. Plus, the Ramsey Student Center is one of the largest recreational facilities in the entire U.S. It takes up a whopping 8 acres of land and has 2 gyms, 3 pools, a suspended track, a rock climbing wall, a 14-foot bouldering wall, 10 racquetball courts, 8 basketball courts, and a 19,000-square-foot weight-lifting room. If that’s not enough to convince you that this is one of the most fit schools in the country, maybe it would also help to know that the university is among the Princeton Review's top 20 schools for both food and health services.
#15 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—Urbana and Champaign, IL
The University of Illinois has a competitive varsity sports program and some of the best athletic facilities in the country to go with it. The 60,600-seat Memorial Football Stadium, the massive, dome-shaped State Farm Center, two full-fledged rec centers, an ice rink, and multiple outdoor field complexes are just a few of the school’s highly-rated athletic amenities and all reasons why the university scored mega points while vying for a spot among the 50 fittest colleges.
#14 St. Olaf College—Northfield, MN
This quaint college is situated next to 325 acres of preserved land, which the college most notably uses to house wind turbines that supply one-third of the school’s daily electricity needs. And St. Olaf’s dedication to sustainability goes far beyond its energy-conservation efforts. Like Wheaton College, the school also works with Cafe Bon Appétit to purchase and serve fresh food from 15 different local producers. Plus, the students here even run their own organic farm called STOGROW. While its varsity sports teams might not have much to brag about, the students at least get even more “fit cred” for having one of the most highly active intramural sports programs in the country, too.
#13 United States Military Academy—West Point, NY
Truth be told, we’d be a little disappointed if West Point didn’t make the list. But thanks to high participation rates in club and intramural sports and a rigorous physical education curriculum, the training ground for the U.S. Army officer corps didn’t need any nudging from our editors. And that participation rate we just mentioned? It’s 100 percent. Competing in at least one sport, be it at the intramural or varsity level, is mandatory. And that’s not even counting the core curriculum, which requires all cadets to take courses in “military movement,” swimming, hand-to-hand combat and boxing.
#12 James Madison University—Harrisonburg, VA
According to College Prowler, JMU ranks third for best cafeteria variety, fifth for best-quality food, and 31st out of 1,300-plus schools for healthiest dining options overall. (And that's in addition to the school's consistent top-five ranking on the Princeton Review’s annual best campus food list.) The dining program is backed by JMU’s “Healthy for Life” philosophy, which aims to fuel student life on campus with good food and by making it “easy to eat right.” All this plus wellness programs and resources designed to encourage an overall healthier lifestyle on campus helped JMU earn its top spot on our list.
#11 Cornell University—Ithaca, NY
This Ivy League school gets high marks for its healthy dining options—30-plus on-campus eateries feature “eating well” icons next to whole-grain, low-fat, low-sugar and other healthy menu items—and high quality of life. With a world-class team of classically-trained chefs serving locally-sourced whole foods (including milk and ice cream produced by the ag school’s dairy herd) and the main campus stretching up the side of 500-foot-high East Hill, keeping the student body trim and healthy is no big sweat. Below campus, Cayuga Lake serves as the training ground for top-notch rowing teams, including the 38-time national champion men’s heavyweight program, one of the most successful programs in intercollegiate athletic history.
#10 Vanderbilt University—Nashville, TN
Maybe Vanderbilt doesn’t technically have an athletics department, but that doesn’t mean its students don’t play sports, and it certainly makes it more impressive that this school was able to hold its own among the nation’s fittest colleges. In 2003 the school’s chancellor integrated the varsity sports program into the Office of Student Life, which also holds the responsibility of handling all 400 of Vanderbilt’s student organizations. Despite predictions to the contrary, the sports program has grown successfully since the change. Plus, with a historically picturesque campus as its backdrop, and access to a top-of-the-line rec facility that comes fully equipped with a wellness center dedicated to helping students lead healthy, active lives, it’s really no surprise that Vandy also has an exceptionally high quality of life rating (among the ten best in the country, says Princeton Review) and a top-ten spot on our list, too.
#9 Pennsylvania State University—University Park, PA
Of course the college with the second-largest-capacity football stadium in the entire country knows a thing or two about athletics. Having claimed 68 national team championships and with a roster of over 50 club team sports (many of which compete nationally) Penn State is home to one of the most successful college sports programs of all time. Penn State also has an entire college devoted to “Health and Human Development,” which includes courses like Biobehavioral Health, Health Policy Administration, and Recreation Park and Tourism Management. Not only is this school athletically inclined, but its students are out to shape the future of health and fitness, too.
#8 Kansas State University—Manhattan, KS
Kansas State loves its football team, there’s no denying that. And the wildcats' number-38 rank on College Prowler’s list of schools with the most active varsity sports teams didn't hurt in our rankings either. But the school’s overall level of fitness isn’t just about sports. In addition to housing one of the most massive college rec centers in the country, the school recently launched its Wildcat Wellness Coalition program which strives to shine a light on health and wellness issues related to the campus community, including topics like physical, emotional, environmental, and even spiritual health. With so much attention paid to its students' well being, it’s no wonder K-State is also home to some of America’s happiest students, too.
#7 Wheaton College—Wheaton, IL
Students who study hard need to balance their rigorous workload with daily doses of playtime. Lucky for the star scholars at Wheaton, in 2000 the school sprung for a $15 million sports and recreation complex complete with its own rock climbing wall, an 8,000-square-foot weight room, a pool, an elevated jogging track, a dance studio, a wrestling room, and three separate recreational gyms. Basically, there’s a never-ending list of ways for Wheaton students to play. Plus, they have some of the highest rated campus food in the country thanks in part to the school’s partnership with Cafe Bon Appétit, which supplies students with fresh, local food through its “Farm to Fork” program.
#6 Claremont McKenna College—Claremont, CA
Why did Claremont McKenna score so high on our fit list? Well, for starters, this college has the happiest students in all of America (at least according to the Princeton Review.) Plus, the campus provides its students with plenty of healthy dining options (it ranks on several “best campus food” lists across the board), and while the school focuses more on academics than athletics, that’s not to say the students at Claremont McKenna aren’t active. In fact, many incoming freshmen are oriented through a program called “W.O.A.!,” which stands for Wilderness Orientation Adventure. In the past the program has included activities like rock climbing in Yosemite National Park, backpacking and camping trips, and canoeing down the Colorado River.
#5 Whitman College—Walla Walla, WA
Ask any wellness guru what the key to good health is and chances are they’ll say something like, “It’s all about balance.” Which is funny, because this school claims that life on campus as a “Whitty” is “a lot about balance.” Since College Prowler rates Whitman 37th overall on their list of healthiest campus dining options and the Princeton Review has dubbed it number 10 on its best-quality-of-life list, number five on its “everyone plays intramural sports” list, number 13 on its happiest-students list and number five on its best-health-services list, we’d say it's got all the bases covered and has created one of the most harmoniously healthy campuses of all time.
#4 Rice University—Houston, TX
Nestled amidst a scenic, wooded area just outside of Houston, Rice University is raising the bar when it comes to college campus health and fitness. Almost unmatched intramural-sports participation shows that Rice's students love to move, and with a top-100 healthiest dining rank on College Prowler, it’s a safe bet that they like to eat well, too. Not to mention, Rice ranks number one on the Princeton Review’s best-quality-of-life list. With what one student describes as “world class dining,” more than 35 club and intramural sports teams (including Quidditch and Powderpuff Football) to choose from, and a robust leafy-green backdrop to bask in, it’s hard to imagine life at Rice being anything but high-quality and healthy.
#3 Bowdoin College—Brunswick, ME
Coaches often tell athletes that what they get out of their bodies in terms of athletic performance is only as good as the food they put in it. As such, Bowdoin students have a huge head-start on their collegiate peers. In fact, this tiny private college in Maine has topped the Princeton Review’s “best campus food” list six times in the last decade. Credit goes to a dining service—run by a registered dietitian, no less—that stresses healthy meals (baked Maine pollock, spicy lentil tacos and the like) made from locally sourced ingredients. Students can choose from a weekly battery of fitness and wellness classes to stay healthy, including yoga, spin, boot camp, Tai Chi, Qigong and HIIT. Self-starters can burn off calories in the new-ish (opened in 2009), state-of-the-art Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness.
#2 Washington University in St. Louis—St. Louis, MO
This top-ranked school (number 14 according to U.S. News & World Report) isn’t the second-fittest college on this list because of its intercollegiate athletics: apart from consistently producing Division III championship teams in women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball, Wash U has little engagement with that world. It’s second-ranked for two reasons: it has some of the best campus dining in the country and ranks among the best in overall quality of life. Healthy options abound at the school’s 16 eateries, including a wide variety of kosher and ethnic food choices—the best in the nation according to College Prowler users. “Unreal” and “gourmet” are words that popped up in student reviews. According to the Princeton Review, students are also among the happiest and most active anywhere, scoring 99 out of 100 in its quality of life rating. Which is not to say Wash U students aren’t sporty: the “Residential College Olympics” are an annual highlight.
#1 Virginia Polytechnic Institute—Blacksburg, VA
Honestly, what fit list isn’t Virginia Tech on? This school’s got dining halls dedicated to organically grown, sustainable food systems, an exceptionally athletic and active student body, and according to the Princeton Review, it's home to some of the happiest students in the entire nation. Oh, and of course there’s more. With multiple top-ten ratings on college healthy dining lists across the board (one student said, “Honestly, this campus is perfect in terms of food.”), a handful of continually successful Division I varsity sports teams, and nods from the Princeton Review for an exceptionally high quality of life, VT barely had to blink an eye to earn the top spot on our list. Go Hokies!