LARAMIE, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming is one of the top institutions in the country when it comes to outdoor adventures, according to an article in Outside magazine.
The article, which appeared in Outside's online edition on Aug. 14, ranked UW as No. 15 on a list of 25 top colleges and universities for its adventure-seeking readers.
It cited the university's proximity to public lands, its selection of outdoor-oriented educational programs, the programs it offers through the Outdoor Program and the national championships the Nordic ski team has been racking up. The article even mentioned that legendary climber Todd Skinner was a graduate.
"It's a recognition that the students have really been pushing for, and that the administration has really been behind and supportive of — to make us a school that can be on these rankings," Dan McCoy, who coordinates the Outdoor Program, tells the Laramie Boomerang (http://bit.ly/P8IuH1).
Outside magazine used a set of criteria to make its evaluations.
"This process wasn't about gut feeling. We needed to be methodical, so we developed a scoring key designed to capture all possible aspects of an institution's ability to cater to your adrenaline-rush cravings," the article says.
That scoring key included the breadth of a school's outdoor recreation program, the affordability of school-offered outings, the proximity to state and national parks, the number of days of sunshine per year, the ranking of the school's outdoor sports teams, the academic courses that require field work, the availability and cost of rental equipment, the availability of certification programs on campus and the availability of on-campus training facilities.
The article called attention to the Outdoor Program's variety of offerings — rock climbing, fly fishing, mountaineering, kayaking, cross-country skiing, avalanche safety and bike maintenance — as well as its programs for incoming freshmen, bike library, rental program and monthly Friday Night Bouldering Series.
I'm excited they focused so much on what our Outdoor Program does," McCoy said.
Christi Boggs, who coaches the UW Nordic ski team, said she was honored to see the club team's success play a part in the ranking.
"The Cowboys have left a legacy in a few places: the men's and women's Nordic skiing teams have storied programs, together having won nine national titles over the last 10 years," the article says.
Boggs said the ranking doesn't surprise her because not many schools are so close to great outdoor recreation areas.
"There really aren't many places that have any ski team at all that have access to trails 10 minutes away," she said.
Being recognized for its outdoor excellence is definitely a good selling point for UW, she said.
"I think a lot of students are looking for more than just a straight school, but somewhere where they can have a good time and be happy for four years, instead of just doing school for four years," she said.
Boggs and McCoy both pointed out that UW is one of the most affordable schools on the list, which includes 18 public schools and seven private ones.
Four California schools led the way at the top: University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, Stanford University and University of California San Diego. Cornell University rounded out the top five. No Colorado schools made the list.