Outside University: The Top 40


Sep 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Paradise, a mere four hour drive from Palo Alto    Photo: PhotoDisc

Brunswick, Maine
LOCAL COLOR The legions of leaf peepers that flock to Maine for its vibrant autumn foliage have also added quaint coastal Brunswick to their circuit. Shop-lined Maine Street is the draw—and home to the Bohemian Coffee House, where some of the 21,000 locals tank up for sea kayaking on Casco Bay, whitewater runs down the Class IV Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, surfing at Reid State Park, and fly-fishing on the Cathance River. Winters can be snowy (71 inches annually) and cold (a 30-degree day is cause for celebration)—good thing Sunday River and Sugarloaf ski resorts are an easy two hours away.
WORD ON THE QUAD Founded in 1794, Bowdoin College is built around a tree-lined quad on 200 acres. In 2002, the Bowdoin Outing Club received a shiny new present to match its importance as the largest student organization on campus: the 5,500-square-foot Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center, with its extensive map library, industrial kitchen, and overflowing gear room.
EXTRA CREDIT Thanks to a long tradition of Arctic exploration by alums (including the first man to reach the North Pole, Robert E. Peary, class of 1887), students taunt opposing hockey-team crowds by chanting that Bowdoin's polar bear will eat their mascot.
VITAL STATS CONTACT: 207-725-3000, www.bowdoin.edu; STUDENT BODY: 1,700 undergraduates; TUITION: $29,470; room and board, $7,670

Palo Alto, California
LOCAL COLOR A hotbed for Silicon Valley tech types, Palo Alto (pop. 59,000), on the south side of San Francisco Bay, is a wealthy, family-oriented place (the average home sells for more than $800,000). Talk about a prime location: 30 minutes from Big Basin Redwoods State Park, 40 minutes from the Pacific rollers at Half Moon Bay, and four hours from Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.
WORD ON THE QUAD Stanford students are crazy about running on the 8,180-acre Spanish Mission Revival campus, whether on four-mile Campus Drive Loop or on trails in the green foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The university is best known for its engineering and computer science departments, but geological and environmental sciences are also popular (the latter runs a Wilderness Skills class each quarter). Stanford Outdoors is an umbrella group for six outdoor clubs and courses that offer rock climbing, ski mountaineering, kayaking, and hiking.
EXTRA CREDIT One is not a true Stanford student unless kissed by a senior under a full moon. Hence, "Full Moon on the Quad," each September, when bands serenade and resident assistants dole out breath mints.
VITAL STATS CONTACT: 650-723-2091, www.stanford.edu; STUDENT BODY: 6,700 undergraduates, 7,500 graduates; TUITION: $28,563; room and board, $9,050

Madison, Wisconsin
LOCAL COLOR On a broad isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona, 80 miles west of Lake Michigan, this liberal midwestern town of 208,000 is constantly abuzz, thanks to its rambunctious student body, contentious state government, and lively State Street pedestrian mall.
WORD ON THE QUAD UW is home to the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, which offers undergrad classes and graduate degrees in conservation biology, environmental monitoring, land resources, and water-resource management. The 933-acre campus is right downtown, but the ample green space and barnlike old armory (which now houses administrative offices) make it feel more rural. The lakes are the largest outdoor draw, and many students learn how to windsurf, kayak, sail, or row before their four-year tenure is up. More than a thousand students pay dues to the Hoofers, the outdoor rec program that runs hang-gliding, mountaineering, equestrian, scuba, sailing, skiing, and snowboarding clubs.
EXTRA CREDIT In the Spring Chicken Regatta, held every April, dinghies race at the UW boathouse on Lake Mendota to celebrate the start of summer's sailing season.
VITAL STATS CONTACT: 608-263-2400, www.wisc.edu; STUDENT BODY: 29,000 undergraduates, 13,000 graduates; TUITION: residents, $4,470; nonresidents, $18,390; room and board, $5,940

Hilo, Hawaii
LOCAL COLOR Close to one massive dormant volcano (13,796-foot Mauna Kea), with views of another (13,677-foot Mauna Loa), Hilo overlooks Hilo Bay, on the east coast of Hawaii's Big Island. Even with 41,000 residents, Hilo has the sleepy, small-town feel of old Hawaii. On a typical day, townspeople kayak or paddle canoes on Hilo Bay, jog along Kamehameha Avenue, or surf at nearby Honolii Beach. Farther afield, there's hiking in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 30 miles to the southwest, and skiing and snowboarding on Mauna Kea.
WORD ON THE QUAD Diversity is the buzzword here—with students from Asia, the Pacific Islands, Europe, and mainland USA. And the Big Island is like a giant enviro laboratory: Geology majors watch a live volcano, Kilauea, erupt; astronomy majors visit the prestigious observatory at the top of Mauna Kea; and geography majors can study 11 of the world's 13 climate zones. When not hanging around Library Lanai on the 115-acre campus, students hike, canoe, or head to the beach.
EXTRA CREDIT Few students can say they study near the world's tallest volcano: Measured from the ocean floor to the summit, Mauna Kea is 32,000 feet.
VITAL STATS CONTACT: 800-897-4456, www.uhh.hawaii.edu; STUDENT BODY: 2,900 undergraduates, 135 graduates; TUITION: residents, $2,376; nonresidents, $3,564 to $7,944; room and board, $4,839

Ashland, Oregon
LOCAL COLOR Within two hours of Ashland, you'll find five world-class whitewater rivers: the Rogue, the Upper Klamath, the Salmon, the Scott, and the North Umpqua. The 5,000-plus-foot Siskiyou, Cascade, and Klamath mountains wrap around three sides of town. But it's not just paddlers and climbers who are drawn to this community of 20,000 in southwest Oregon. Ashland's thriving theater scene and the eight-month Shakespeare Festival attract artsy visionaries from throughout the Pacific Northwest and California.
WORD ON THE QUAD On sunny days, the Stevenson Union courtyard on SOU's green 175-acre campus fills with students in frayed corduroys and the requisite rafting sandals. Hardly anyone graduates without paddling southern Oregon's whitewater, hiking the 2.3-mile White Rabbit Trail, or snowboarding or skiing at 7,530-foot Mount Ashland. Students interested in natural-resource management enroll in the environmental studies program for biology, geology, and environmental policy courses; field-oriented classes like Geology of the Rogue River also get students outdoors.
EXTRA CREDIT Thanks to the theatrical influence, Halloween is huge in Ashland: Prepare for wild parties and creative costuming.
VITAL STATS CONTACT: 541-552-7672, www.sou.edu; STUDENT BODY: 5,000 undergraduates, 560 graduates ; TUITION: residents, $4,113; nonresidents, $12,783; room and board, $5,500

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