The dreaded freshman 15 has been around since before college was even a thought in most of our minds. There have been countless articles written about everything from how to avoid it, to how to get rid of it. But there are some schools are doing more than just offering more fruits and veggies in their dining halls as a way to keep their students healthy. They’re taking health and wellness on in new and innovative ways that don’t just target your physical fitness and nutrition, they’re taking into account your mental and emotional wellness too.
These 11 schools are taking things up a notch and putting the health of their students first.
1. The University of Maryland
The University of Maryland in College Park, MD is a well know research university that is often at the forefront of discovery. But they are are also a college putting the health and wellbeing of their students first. Through healthy meal plans at their dining centers and the wellness hut, a booth on campus that is available to all students as a safe space to seek help and get their questions answered, UMD is ensuring their students are healthy in mind, body, and spirit.
Another amazing thing that UMD does for their students is to host a farmer’s market each week on campus. This allows students access to locally-sourced, healthy options from farmers in the area, which not only keeps the students healthy, but keeps area farmers in business. The market is held each Wednesday from 11-3 in front of the field house from March to November and is open to the public. Check out their Facebook and website for more information.
2. Colorado State University
It is not surprising that health and wellness are at the forefront of the minds of educators and students in Colorado. With so many amazing natural wonders to explore, it’s pretty hard not to be active. But Colorado Sate University in Fort Collins, CO is taking things a step further. Their on-campus recreation facilities are some of the best in the nation and they offer tons of outdoor recreation options for their students and faculty.
As if that weren’t enough, the faculty at CSU have done research studies on how bikram yoga affects fitness. The study, which was the first of its kind, quantified the number of calories burned during a bikram session all well as showing the effects of bikrum yoga over time. With so much research still to do, and multiple classes at multiple levels offered each week, CSU is a yogi’s delight.
3. UC Berkeley
The campus of The University of California at Berkeley gets an average of 256 days of sunshine each year and has average temperatures ranging from 43 degrees in the winter to 70 degrees in the summer. With such favorable weather year round, it is not hard to find time to get outside and explore northern California.
Students at Berkeley aren’t only benefiting from the great weather though. Their “Wellness Week” allows students to learn about themselves on a holistic level through lectures and campus activities like Frisbee on the lawn, meditation, and mental making.
4. Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles is a mecca for the health and wellness minded. With Hollywood’s biggest stars constantly needing to be in tip top shape, it is no surprise that there are just about as many yoga studios as there are Starbucks. And the students of Loyola Marymount located just south of Santa Monica and moments from the beach are definitely benefiting.
The college offers a Master’s degree in Yoga Studies. Students of the program learn the history of yoga as well as different teaching methods and techniques. Each student also studies in India before completing their degree.
With an entire degree program devoted to yoga, it is no surprise that the undergraduate population of LMU have access to amazing fitness and wellness programming. Their recreation centers offer multiple different classes as well as nutrition counseling, stress relief counseling, and massage therapy.
5. The University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh may not be the fitness and wellness mecca that LA is, but that isn’t stopping the University of Pittsburgh from being one of our front runners when it comes to student health and wellness. The powers that be at Pittsburgh know that half the struggle of going to the gym is just getting there. So, they’ve equipped 2/3 of the residence halls with 24 hr fitness studios. Equipped with cardio and weight training equipment, these fitness studios are making it easy for students to get their exercise.
On top of having outstanding fitness studio access for their students, Pitt has developed a program called Healthy U, which is dedicated to helping students be universally healthy. As their website states, “True wellness is more than just physical health—it’s the integration of all aspects of your life, including your emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, and financial well-being.”
6. The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa is known for its world-class professional schools (medical, dental, law, and pharmacy), and it’s top-ranked football program. But the football players and professional students aren’t the only beneficiaries of top of the line facilities. Iowa’s campus boasts over 10 indoor and outdoor fitness centers which offer many classes, one-on-one nutrition counseling and physical training, outdoor recreation options, and a post-workout smoothie if you’re so inclined. And the students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the wellness focused nature of Iowa’s recreation services. The employee liveWELL program has received national honors.
The gyms aren’t the only aspects of wellness that Iowa is focused on though. They offer outdoor recreation classes and trips for students as well as a full range of counseling options to keep your mind and emotional health in tip top shape too.
7. The University of Missouri
Columbia, MO is home to a college going above and beyond not just for the wellness of their students, but also for the wellness of the earth. The University of Missouri is focused on sustainability. Through multiple programs including composting excess from the dining centers and their bike share program which allows students to check out bikes to get around campus and the city of Columbia, Mizzou is working to teach students to live a sustainable lifestyle.
If biking through campus isn’t your style, the rec center, which boasts 14 different areas devoted to different types of work outs, is bound to have something for you. And after your work out–or in the middle of finals week–a trip to the campus’ spa is the perfect way to unwind and relax.
8. Bowdoin College
Not to be outdone by the large colleges on this list, Bowdoin College in New Brunswick, ME is home to a health and wellness program that is sure to please. Not only do their dining centers make everything in small batches to ensure freshness, they have their own in-house butcher and all ingredients are locally-sourced from farmers’ markets or one of Bowdoin’s two MOFGA-certified organic gardens. To top it all off, all of the nutrition information and recipes are all listed online.
Students can get a fresh, healthy meal and then take a multitude of classes in everything from yoga and Tai Chi to Zumba. The health and wellness center also offers seminars, acupuncture, and many different counseling services.
9. Whitman College
Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA starts students off on a path to a wellness-driven life before they even set foot on campus. Whitman offers incoming freshman the option to participate in what are called Scrambles, outdoor adventure trips with their classmates.
Scramble trips give students a way to make new friends before coming to campus, and to experience all of the amazing things that Washington state has to offer. Whether it’s kayaking or mountaineering, these trips help students to learn and grow in a healthy environment before getting to campus. After students arrive on campus, Whitman’s outdoor recreation programming offers even more opportunities for students to live a healthy lifestyle.
10. UC Santa Barbara
The University of California’s Santa Barbara campus is located on 1,000 acres of the Southern California coast. The campus itself is incredibly bike-friendly and thousands of students and faculty members commute to the UCSB campus by bike each day. In order to make commuting by bike easier for everyone, lockers are available for rental and faculty members are able to use showers and lockers on campus.
Biking isn’t the only way to focus on wellness at UCSB. Students also have access to multiple indoor and outdoor recreation classes and facilities.
11. Westminster College
If skiing and snowboarding are your idea of staying fit, active, and focusing on wellness, then Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT might just be the perfect fit. Located incredibly close to 7 different ski resorts, there is no shortage of places for students to hike, mountain bike, ski, and snowboard. And the colleges schedule makes it easy for students to spend their weekends on the slopes in any season.
If you’re not feeling a trip into the mountains, the recreation center offers loads of options of classes, personal training, and intramural sports. The school also offers counseling services to all of their students in everything from nutritional health, to emotional support.