The Tiger Lair - super cool cycling room with black lights and a life-sized jungle-themed mural at University of Missouri. Image from Mizzou Rec

The Tiger Lair – super cool cycling room with black lights and a life-sized jungle-themed mural at the University of Missouri. Image from Mizzou Rec

Student-made ice cream? Free laundry? Birthday cake for you and your friends? An indoor water slide? Read on to find out more about seven colleges that offer their students cool perks.

University-Operated Dairy Bar, South Dakota State University

Run by the Dairy Science Department, and operated mostly by students, the SDSU Dairy Bar processes approximately 18,000 pounds of milk a week into cheese, butter, milk, and most importantly, over 60 different flavors of ice cream and sherbet. SDSU’s Cookies n’ Cream ice cream was named the best ice cream treat in the state by Food Network Magazine. More surprisingly, the university claims Oreo ice cream, later known as Cookies n’ Cream, was invented there in 1979. Besides the most popular flavors such as vanilla and chocolate, the plant also produces seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, apple strudel, and peppermint. The SDSU Dairy Farm has its own cows that produce the raw milk needed. The milk is later processed into different products, and all but two of the workers of the plant are students in the university.

However, the main goal of the SDSU Dairy Bar is not to sell ice cream, but to give students industry training. Many daily manufacturing students end up working in production plants, so this is a perfect opportunity for them. Yummy ice cream and hands on experience? Sign me up!

Image from City of Brookings

Image from City of Brookings

Birthday Club, Ohio University

The first birthday I spent in college my parents were super sad because I didn’t get any birthday cake, which is weird of them because I don’t even remember the last time I had cake on my birthday.  I guess parents say weird things when you are away from home. However, had I been a student at Ohio University, this wouldn’t have been a problem. The dining hall offers a super cool program called Birthday Club, where parents can buy a birthday cake for their kid from the Ohio University Bakery. For only $20, students receive birthday cookies or cakes along with forks, plates, and napkins.

Fun fact: Ohio University is also considered the most haunted university in the nation!

Vatican Internship Program, Villanova University

Many schools offer students the chance to study abroad, and many schools even offer students the chance to work or intern while spending time abroad, but only Villanova University offers the incredible Vatican Internship Program. In this program, interns spend a semester abroad in Rome while managing the social media accounts of the Pope, including his twitter account that impacts more than one billion people around the globe. Wow!

Besides interning at the Vatican, students live and study alongside Italian students. Villanova University partnered with Arcadia University’s program in Rome, so students take an Italian language class and two other courses. Students also receive six credits for their internship. These six credits combined with the classes taken add up to a full course load. The program is open to communication majors, and it truly sounds like a life-changing experience.

Managing the Pope's twitter in Rome while getting school credit? Doesn't get a lot better than that. Image from The Villanova Vatican Experience.

Managing the Pope’s twitter in Rome while getting school credit? Doesn’t get a lot better than that. Image from The Villanova Vatican Experience.

Free Laundry, Davidson College

For many college students, laundry is not on the top of their to-do list. Students usually have busy schedules and after academics, extracurricular activities, and hanging out with friends, there just simply isn’t enough time to bother with laundry on the reg. However, this isn’t the case in Davidson College in Davidson, NC. Since 1919, the liberal arts school has provided students with a free laundry service. Talk about convenient!

For nearly 80 years, the Lula Bell Houston Laundry in Davidson College has provided students with free laundry. Even though alterations and dry cleaning cost extra, students enjoy many other free services: clothes washed, dried and wrapped for pick-up, dress shirts and blouses pressed and returned on hangers, bed linens, and free use of all self-serve laundry rooms. If you sign up for the bed linens service, you will receive two flat sheets, a pillowcase, and a mattress cover, and you may exchange these items for clean ones anytime. The laundry cleans about six tons worth of clothes and linens each week!

Best Rec Center in the Country, University of Missouri

With 100 cardio machines, 14,000 pounds of free weights, ten sports courts, and an indoor lazy river and waterfall surrounded by palm trees, it’s no wonder that the recreation center at the University of Missouri in Columbia was named the best in the country by Sports Ilustrated. Besides that, MizzouRec also offers a hot tub, a sauna, a snack bar, and a wide array of spa, fitness, and training services.

With a life-sized jungle-themed mural, black lights, and a spectacular projection system, the Tiger Lair sounds like the coolest cycling room ever. The rec center has rooms for every activity you could think of, from volleyball and basketball, to martial arts and dance. Besides that, personal training services are also offered, and the spa services that include skin care, nail care, and massages will make you feel renewed in no time!

Image from MizzouRec

Image from MizzouRec

Awesome Aquatic Center, Georgia Institute of Technology

Originally built for the 1996 Olympics, the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center hosted all swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, and water polo events for the Centennial Games. The Aquatic Center has a competition pool, a diving well, a spa, a leisure pool, and an outdoor patio.  The competition pool is one of the fastest in the world, and it’s also home to the Georgia Tech Swimming and Diving Teams. This pool is also used for classes, clubs, and recreational swimming. Besides the competition pool, the aquatic facility also has a leisure pool with a 184’ water slide (!!!!), and a hot tub.

The Aquatic Center offers some super cool classes for current students, like water fitness (Aqua Aerobics), lifeguarding, SCUBA, diving, and swimming. The Swim Club, the Water Polo Club, the Triathlon Club, and the Canoe and Kayak Club all utilize the aquatic facilities. Besides an awesome aquatic center, the Campus Recreation Center has a game room, a café, and an awesome fitness center complete with activity rooms and a sauna.

Borrow a Bike Program, Elmhurst College

The Borrow a Bike Program in Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, offers the opportunity to check out a bike for up to 24 hours. The program is open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and at no charge, is super easy, economical, and eco-friendly.

However, Elmhurst College is far from being the only school offering a similar program. Nearly 90 American universities offer some sort of campus bike program. For example, The University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio is offering free bikes to students who promise not to bring a car to campus. This program is an outgrowth to the already existing bike-sharing program. New York University, the University of Alaska at Anchorage, and North Carolina State University are a few examples of schools with similar bike-sharing programs. Washington State University installed a high-tech automated system for its bike program. Students swipe their identification card in one of the four stations on campus to unlock a bike.



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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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