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Fitness programs and healthy dining make Virginia Tech the fittest campus in America


Women in a yoga class Virginia Tech students take advantage of the many fitness options offered through Recreational Sports programs.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 29, 2013 – Virginia Tech has landed the top spot in The Active Times list of 50 Fittest Colleges in America 2013

The recently published rankings are based on fitness, health, and wellness factors, including athletic facilities, team sports participation, campus dining, and overall quality of student life.

“Honestly, what fit list isn’t Virginia Tech on?” the Active Times article asked. “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.”

Chris Wise, director of Recreational Sports said fitness is valued at Virginia Tech. “Our environment promotes activeness, be it physical activity, sustainable initiatives, or group dynamics. Through that culture our students are aware of the importance of their overall health and wellness.”

A huge factor in promoting that culture is offering students options for activity. Recreational Sports programs encompass a variety of fitness alternatives, including competitive sports, group exercise, one-on-one training, sport clubs, classes, self-directed workouts, and small group training.

“We understand that people need to find the one that is right for them, so we try to offer something for everyone,” Wise said. “We ask for student input and listen to what students say about what opportunities they would like within our Recreational Sports programs. It keeps us as a department in touch with our students and what will work for them.”

The Active Times article also noted Virginia Tech Dining Services’ “multiple top-ten ratings on college healthy dining lists across the board.”

Dining Services Director Ted Faulkner said, “It’s all about options and education. We offer students not only healthy food, but also the information they need to make the right choices, and ultimately develop eating habits that will serve them throughout their lives.”

Dining Services is committed to providing healthy selections in all dining centers. The Farms & Fields project in Owens Food Court features sustainable, local, and organic foods. The Y.E.S. – You’re Eating Smarter program encourages healthy eating while minimizing impact on the environment. Students can also use the interactive nutrition analysis program to find nutrition information for menu items. Additionally, Dining Services’ allergen filter helps students find menu items that do or do not contain one of the eight most common allergens.

“The staff members in our health and wellness areas are extraordinary educators,” said Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs.  “They know that they are not just providing services to students but rather engaged in students' learning. They are deeply committed to helping students make healthy choices and developing habits of well-being that will last a lifetime — all part of the formula for a good life!”

The complete list of 50 Fittest Colleges in America is posted on The Active Times website. “Our list of the 50 Fittest Colleges includes schools — many of which are among the country’s top academic institutions — that place a special emphasis on keeping students active, promoting athletics and providing healthy dining options,” the article stated.

This is not the first time Virginia Tech has been recognized for its healthy lifestyle. Last spring, Virginia Tech was ranked third among 25 Healthiest Colleges in the U.S. by Greatist, an honor that was published in USA Today. One of the reasons given for the high ranking was the creative exercise incentive programs offered by Recreational Sports.

The Division of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech encompasses departments dedicated to providing a rich co-curricular experience and essential student services. Virtually every aspect of a student's life outside the classroom is represented through the division's departments.

Employee wellness

Hokie Wellness icon

An average of more than 3,000 Virginia Tech employees take advantage of the university's employee wellness program each year. In addition to a myriad of seasonal activities for faculty and staff, including flu vaccination clinics and the Maintain Don't Gain program, Hokie Wellness hosts the Finding Balance Conference and the health and benefits fair each year.

Collaborations encourage fitness

Collaborations help contribute to Virginia Tech’s fitness quotient.

  • SmartLIFE, a collaborative effort of Dining Services, Schiffert Health Center, and Recreational Sports focuses on smart exercise habits and nutrition practices
  • Cook Counseling Center collaborated with Recreational Sports, Schiffert Health Center, and Services for Students with Disabilities to provide a multidisciplinary approach to eating disorders through the Healthy Paths program
  • Dining Services works with horticulture, animal and poultry sciences, dairy and food sciences to supply foods from campus farms and to serve Virginia Tech Milk harvested from the campus dairy herd
  • Recreational Sports, Schiffert Health Center, and the Women’s Center partnered to launch the How of Happiness program, which offers a support group for women to learn how to achieve happiness and to teach the Aspirations for Student Learning
  • Registered student clubs and organizations offer fitness and sport opportunities. Better Bodies at Virginia Tech members share training advice and lift together

  • The Women's Health and Fitness Club is for women interested in overall wellness, fitness, nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle
  • Slackers, a group devoted to sport of slackline, as a way to develop and exercise physical and mental fitness

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