Virginia Tech has another accolade to add to its list, as The Active Times recently named the university the fittest college in America for 2015.

The combination of a recreational sports department that encourages healthy competition and holistic well-being, top-ranked dining centers that boast organically grown, sustainable foods, and a host of opportunities for students to stay active earned Virginia Tech this title.

“Virginia Tech is deeply committed to the holistic well-being of our students,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo. “Whether it's the healthy options in our dining centers, significant opportunities in recreational sports, resources to foster the relational, emotional, vocational, and spiritual health of our students, or our dedicated faculty and staff members who make healthy living a priority for themselves and our students, this campus exemplifies what it looks like to be the fittest college in America each and every day.”

Nearly 150 schools were originally considered, and Virginia Tech has held this top spot for two of the three years in which the fittest college has been named. The Active Times consulted U.S. News and World Reports’ “Best Colleges Rankings,” along with The Princeton Review’s rankings of happiest students, top quality of life, excellent campus dining options, and top-notch athletic facilities.

In addition, the publication said they review the ratings posted on Niche Colleges, which are “the opinions that matter most — the opinions of the students who currently call these campuses home.”

A healthy culture is undoubtedly valued at Virginia Tech. Chris Wise, assistant vice president for student affairs, focuses on student health and wellness.

“It is more than what happens in our fitness centers that makes Virginia Tech a well-rounded campus,” said Wise. “We have active student organizations, an active Corps of Cadets, and dining programs that promote wellness and environmental sustainability. We have excellent health and wellness programs—both preventive and corrective.

“Of course, we have outstanding varsity athletic programs that bring great recognition to Virginia Tech, along with some pretty exciting intramural and club sport programs that give all of our students an opportunity to play and compete.”

Recreational Sports offers opportunities for students to participate in competitive sports, group exercise, one-on-one training, sport clubs, classes, self-directed workouts, and small group training. The intramural sports program is one of the most active in the nation, serving nearly 13,000 participants each year.

Dining Services is committed to providing nutritious options for students, as well as educating the Virginia Tech community about healthy living. Collaborations with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have resulted in the creation of the Dining Services Farm at Kentland Farms, which provides fresh produce to dining centers across campus. The Farms & Fields project in Owens Food Court features sustainable, local, and organic foods, and Y.E.S. (You’re Eating Smarter) encourages healthy habits while minimizing impact on the environment.

"Our comprehensive line-up of fresh, from-scratch recipes, combined with our in-depth ingredient and nutritional website, provides our campus community an abundance of choices and the knowledge they seek when making food selections," said Ted Faulkner, director of Dining Services.

The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, in partnership with the Army, Naval and Air Force ROTC programs,as well as its own Citizen-Leader Track program, promotes an active lifestyle and the development of fitness practices for a lifetime. 

In addition to being named the fittest college in America, Virginia Tech ranks second on The Princeton Review’s list of schools with the happiest students, third for best campus food, and fourth in the nation for quality of life and students who love their school. 

Written by Holly Paulette.

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