CSU: A great place to educate, recreate

Strap on your hiking boots and experience the great outdoors at CSU, named second among the Top Colleges for Outdoor Sports & Recreation by Best College Reviews.

Best College Reviews is an online resource that helps students decide on which college to attend.

CSU ranked ahead of the University of Colorado and just behind Stanford University on the list, which categorized 35 higher education institutions based on several factors, including:

  • Average yearly days of sunshine
  • Number of school-endorsed outdoor, adventure-oriented sports, clubs, and teams
  • Proximity to outdoor opportunities
  • Substantial outdoor opportunities on campus or directly adjacent to campus
  • Number of courses requiring outdoor work

Outdoors essential to learning

CSU offers approximately 60 classes requiring coursework be completed outdoors through several of the eight colleges. In addition to the main campus in Fort Collins, the university has a 1,200-acre mountain campus, located in an alpine valley and surrounded by Rocky Mountain National Park, Roosevelt National Forest and Comanche Peak Wilderness area. Hundreds of CSU students spend their summers immersed in environmental education and natural resources field courses at Pingree Park.

CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources offers an Outdoor Leadership Residential Learning community where students participate in outdoor leadership seminars, Wilderness First Responders courses, outdoor leadership conferences and field excursions to prepare them for personal outdoor adventures and careers in the field.

“CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources offers eight undergraduate degrees in natural resources subjects from ecosystem science to recreation and tourism, and outdoor learning in incorporated into each degree to enrich students’ education,” said Dean John Hayes. “Colorado State University’s location gives students a unique advantage to learn about natural resources through first-hand experience; surrounded by some of the most amazing natural environments – from alpine mountains to wild rivers to desert plains – that serve as incredible outdoor classrooms and laboratories.”

Student organizations praised

The website praises CSU’s outdoor student organizations, including fishing, climbing, mountaineering, Nordic skiing, skydiving, snowboarding, English riding, jousting, logging sports, longboarding, mountain horse riding, the outdoor club, and the Heisenberg Society. There are more than 40 outdoor student organizations at CSU, some of which also include organizations focused on the environment and sustainability.

“The Outdoor Program of Campus Recreation hosts over 50 different trips, special events, and clinics each year aimed at providing students with the knowledge and skills to engage in outdoor recreation throughout Colorado,” said Andy Nelson, Outdoor Programs coordinator for the Campus Recreation Center. “Rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, skiing and snowboarding, and ice climbing are just some of the many activities offered.

“Trips and clinics are instructed by student staff, which provides them with the opportunity to develop their outdoor leadership experience,” he said.

The ranking also recognizes CSU’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains and Horsetooth Reservoir, allowing students access to fishing, boating, swimming, skiing and scuba diving.