School spirit is the most defining aspect of campus culture. Are students proud to rep their schools? Do they attend every game with more enthusiasm than the last?
Sure, students can share pride in their classes, clubs, and other activities — but nothing demonstrates school spirit quite like the energy on game day.
The Princeton Review recently released its 2016 college rankings and, in one survey, asked college students “How popular are intercollegiate sports at your school?” From these findings, it ranked the top 20 schools where “Students Pack the Stadiums.”
Scroll through to find out why these 20 colleges are the most spirited in the nation.
20. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- Tar Heel fans are extremely passionate about their basketball team and its storied rivalry with neighbouring Duke University. Games tend to draw huge crowds of students and Chapel Hill-area families alike.
19. University of Nebraska at Lincoln -- Students say there's an undeniable sense of unity around athletics at UNL. Husker football games are a prized tradition and the team is a strong contender in the Big Ten conference.
18. Florida State University -- Students are drawn to FSU because of its spirit. A student body of 40,000 come together for football games every fall to cheer on the Seminoles.
17. University of Oregon -- The Ducks participate in the PAC 12 North Division and have long-standing rivalries with both Washington State and Oregon State. UO fans are loud and proud, and with good reason; the Ducks are this year's Rose Bowl champions.
16. University of South Carolina at Columbia -- In true southern fashion, USC spends most fall Saturdays tailgating. According to students, 'football is a religion' for the Gamecocks.
15. North Carolina State University -- Tailgate culture is also a student favourite in the other Carolina. 'Wolfpack pride' is evident and students say basketball and football games are obligatory at NC State.
14. Gonzaga University -- Campus culture places a huge emphasis on men's basketball at Gonzaga, according to students. Bulldogs say one of the largest social experiences on campus is waiting in line to buy tickets and going to the games.
13. University of Notre Dame -- The Fighting Irish are wildly passionate about sports, from football to soccer to hockey. Notre Dame is one of 15 universities in the country where every sport on campus participates in NCAA Division I.
12. Ohio State University at Columbus -- Students call Ohio State 'a sports fan's paradise.' Even Buckeyes who aren't on varsity sports teams jump in on intramural sports to keep their school spirit abound.
11. University of Arizona -- Wildcats love tailgating and attending football and basketball games to the tune of 'Bear Down, Arizona,' U of A's popular fight song.
10. University of Southern California -- Trojan pride is lively and infectious. One student says, 'There is absolutely nothing that can top watching our unbelievable football team throttle the competition.'
9. University of Louisville -- Cardinal pride is universal at Louisville. Students from all corners of campus come together to support their teams' frequent championship wins.
8. West Virginia University -- Mountaineers love WVU for its balance of academics and athletics. One student describes it: '(It's) only something you can feel at a football game singing 'Country Roads' with 50,000 of your closest friends.'
7. Syracuse University -- Students at 'Cuse bleed orange. Their school spirit is felt far and wide, and always evident at jam-packed basketball games.
6. Auburn University -- This big-time school in small-town Alabama doesn't skimp on spirit. Tigers football games elicit a tailgating culture that is 'second to none,' one student says.
5. University of Connecticut -- UConn pride runs deep. Students get rowdy at Huskies sporting events from football to soccer to both men and women's basketball.
4. University of Iowa -- Hawkeyes take Saturday game days seriously. According to one student, 'There is just a sea of black and gold swarming toward the stadium. Nothing can really compare to 70,000 Hawkeye fans in one place.'
3. University of Kansas -- Basketball at KU is a way of life. Students say they even plan their social schedules according to games, as school pride is tradition for the Jayhawks.
2. Pennsylvania State University at University Park -- Penn State's Beaver Stadium has the second-highest seating capacity of any stadium in the country. Despite controversy in the past, the Nittany Lions rally like few others can.
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