Many Vermonters – and just about anyone who has spent time in the Green Mountain State – can tell you that Vermont is a special place. You know we have a plethora of storybook villages, bucolic cow-dappled farmland, lush mountainscapes, lots of delicious ice cream, and impossible-to-believe-holy-wow-that’s-colorful fall foliage, but what you may not know is that Vermont is also one of the best places in the world to go to college.
Here are the top 10 reasons why those of us in the Sterling College community think Vermont is the best place to earn a college degree.
1. We have (at least) 6 seasons
Vermont boasts Winter, Mud, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Stick Season. Every week of the year has a different feel – from the languid lilac-scented evenings of late June to the deep powder drifts and bluebird skies of mid-February. The seasons of Vermont manage to both inspire and stimulate the senses while also acting as a kind of natural metronome, connecting people to the natural rhythms of the landscape.
2. You’ll be surrounded by smart people
You’re investing in higher education so that you can learn more about the world, expand your horizons, and, ultimately, get smarter! According to a study published by the California-based online real estate giant Movoto, Vermont isn’t merely among the smartest states, it is the smartest state. Massachusetts is home to both Harvard and MIT and yet they only ranked 3rd on the list. TAKE THAT, BAY STATE!
3. Consumption of maple syrup boosts brain function.
Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the USA. In 2014, we produced over 1.3 million gallons of the liquid gold.
We put maple syrup in our coffee, on our pancakes, in our salad dressing, hot sauce, candy, throat lozenges, ice cream…the list goes on! It’s also a fact that maple syrup is rich in magnesium (among other healthy stuff!) and magnesium has been shown to boost brain function. Landing in a place where higher brain function literally drips from the trees is a good idea when you’re headed to school.
4. Not only are we smart, we are also healthy.
A recent Gallup poll ranked Vermont as the healthiest state in the USA. We eat more produce and get more exercise than our fellow states and there’s a really good reason why…
5. It’s fun to play outside in Vermont!
Going to college somewhere that’s fun to be is a particularly wise move. The mountains, rivers, trails, and lakes of Vermont provide zillions of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Skiing – downhill or nordic, snowboarding, swimming, paddle boarding, mountain biking, trout fishing, and on and on and on….
6. We have the best state motto.
Freedom & Unity. Say it again, and really ponder it this time. Freedom AND Unity. What an incredible and progressive idea! Balancing both the freedom to be an individual and the unity that is needed to develop healthy communities leads us to the next reason you should study in Vermont….
7. Acceptance is the Vermont way.
In order for freedom and unity to exist simultaneously, you need acceptance, and that is something Vermonters have in spades. As you explore controversial topics in class and express your identity as it blooms with your education, you deserve the space and support that is readily available here in the Green Mountains.
8. VT has an abundance of REAL FOOD. (Yes, even beyond maple syrup and ice cream.)
In a day and age where people are further and further removed from their sources of food, it’s a gift to live somewhere where you can eat local and eat well.
NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) estimates that Vermont has approximately 245 farmers’ markets and CSAs serving a population of 626,000, making us the top ranking State for per capita opportunities for farmers to connect with customers. You can find fresh veggies, meat, cheese, and dairy in just about any town that you travel through.
Our very own Sterling College was also ranked #1 in the nation for REAL FOOD since we grow about 20% of what we eat and source the vast remainder locally. Organic, fair trade, Non-GMO verified and local! The list of award-winning and world class food producers here is incredible! Oh yeah, we’re also home to Ben & Jerry’s. Duh.
9. We don’t have any billboards.
The mental space and attention that is consumed by driving past a highway full of billboards would be an interesting thing to study. Whoa, as it turns out, people are thinking about that already.
Anyway, we don’t have any billboards in Vermont, which means that you can enjoy the lush, rolling landscapes uninfluenced and undisturbed. It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a big impact to replace a barrage of advertising with green mountains and fresh air.
10. Seriously, there is so much culture here.
No matter where in Vermont you go to college, there will always be something cool, innovative, creative, and inspiring happening. Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, has art, music, theater, food, festivals, museums and some pretty fantastic nightclubs, if you’re into that kind of thing. Montpelier, the state capitol, recently got major props for its downtown. Even Craftsbury, pop. 1,300, is home to dozens of musicians, artists, activists, writers, and even a couple of hipsters.
Plus, Montreal is only a hop-skip-and-jump for those of us here in the North Country, and there you have all the amenities and conveniences of a world-class metropolis. With croissants!