It has long been an open secret that Reed's outdoor programs are among the best in the country. Despite our long and storied tradition of exploring the wilderness, however, backpacking trips and whitewater adventures often don't make it into the description of a college better known for pursuing the life of the mind.
Fortunately, Reed has been getting some well-deserved recognition recently with glowing coverage in Outside Magazine and the Wenger outdoor blog.
Outside's recent feature, titled "Outdoor University: the Top 25 Colleges for Outside Readers," approvingly pointed out that Reed, "founded as an alternative to the elitism of the East Coast Ivies," enjoys close proximity to outstanding forests, rivers, and mountains, with the slopes of Mount Hood just 90 minutes away. The magazine is also wowed by the fact that Reed mandates six quarters of physical education (a point that more than a few Reedies might bemoan). Reed also incorporates the outdoors into its academic program: the biology department, for example, offers a course called "Field Biology in the Pacific Northwest."
And let's not forget the ski cabin, something that contributed to Wenger blog naming Reed "best college for hiking and camping." New students are often introduced to the Pacific Northwest before they even step foot on Reed's campus, through the Reed Odyssey trips during Orientation.
Will Symms, the director of Reed's outdoor programs, isn't surprised at the attention. "The offerings we give to our students," he says, "are second to none." Symms says that this year alone Orientation Odysseys took 87 students out into national parks and forests, and one extraordinary group of Reedies led a successful summit of South Sister Mountain in central Oregon. Hopefully Reed's best-kept secret will not remain a secret much longer.