Written by Kerri Pinchuk, senior, journalism, University of Maryland
Some schools have it, some schools don’t. What is it? IT is that spark, that passion radiating from every corner of a college campus. For some students, school spirit is a lifestyle. Does your school have what it takes to be at the top?
Here’s CM’s list of the top 10 most spirited schools.
1. Penn State University
At one of the nation’s foremost party schools, school spirit is never in short supply. Nestled in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, Penn State University’s University Park campus was ranked No. 1 on the Princeton Review’s “Students Pack the Stadiums” list, and No. 2 on “Lots of Beer.” According to our calculations, mass of students + lots of beer = school spirit.
2. University of Alabama
The Crimson Tide may come in second on our list, but this spirited student body’s obsession with football is off the charts. With a home stadium that seats more than 100,000 and heated showdowns with fierce rivals like Auburn University and the University of Tennessee, ‘Bama students always have a reason to show their ‘roll tide’ pride.
3. University of California, Los Angeles
Ranked one of the Best Western Colleges, UCLA has the best of every world. An average year-round temperature of 73 degrees and access to one of the West Coast’s hippest cities are just a couple of the reasons why UCLA students rate their quality of life at 95 percent. The best part? The opportunities that come with living in L.A., said senior Lindsay Shafran. “I know kids who are submitting screenplays and working as actors in their spare time. It’s just not your average college town,” she says.
4. University of Mississippi
Students who pledge allegiance to Ole Miss are experts in southern hospitality. As rich in history as in traditions, Ole Miss boasts some of the country’s most notable sites from the civil rights era, as well as one of the strongest alumni outreach programs in the country. Noteworthy Rebels include Archie and Eli Manning and William Faulkner.
5. University of Notre Dame
Though the university is on the smaller side with an enrollment of 8,372, with teams known as the Fighting Irish, how can students not have school spirit? The school’s marching band claims to be the oldest band in continuous existence in the U.S., and according to College Fight Songs: An Annotated Anthology, the “Notre Dame Victory March” ranks as the greatest fight song of all time. Enough said.
6. University of Wisconsin
Cheese, bratwurst and beer are staples of this spirited school’s diet. Repeatedly named the No. 1 party school by the Princeton Review and Playboy, the University of Wisonsin also has a long-lived reputation for political activism and academics. With Badgers coming out by the thousands to revel in annual festivals like the Mifflin Street Block Party and the State Street Halloween Party, it’s no wonder that Wisco students are among the most spirited around.
7. Ohio State University
Their mascot may be a type of nut, but the OSU Buckeyes are not a force to be reckoned with. With enrollment close to 40,000, students Ohio State life is all about going big, especially when it comes to sports, tailgating and partying at some of Columbus’s hottest bars. Senior Max Gardner agrees: “I love the feeling of being a part of something huge. Everyone’s really into football and Ohio State culture . . . . We have a lot of pride.”
8. Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge may not be your typical college town, but the Tigers still know how to paint the city purple and gold. With more than 350 student-run organizations, 38 fraternities and sororities, and an award-winning campus newspaper, LSU shines in every light. Not to mention, tailgate fare includes Cajun cuisine like jambalaya, gumbo and alligator stew.
9. University of Texas
Any college student in the country can probably name the long-horned mascot of this massive school. At its main campus in Austin, enrollment is a staggering 37,389. Known as one of the best college towns in the country, Austin is constantly flooded in burnt orange and white. The Longhorns prove that everything is bigger in Texas, including school spirit.
10. University of Miami
Beaches, nightlife and Latin flavor? Welcome to Miami. Living the party life in the heat of Miami, the Hurricanes never run out of reasons to be spirited. Just ask any student and they’ll likely tell you: It’s all about “the U.” “[The University of] Miami has everything,” says junior Michael Heller. “You study by the pool, take a test and celebrate with a night on South Beach. There’s no other way to do college.”