LOGAN — Brigham Young University's sprawling campus in the shadow of "Y" mountain and the University of Utah's capital city amenities apparently have nothing on Utah State University in Logan, named this week the third best college town in America by livability.com.
The national website, which highlights more than 500 of America’s best places to live and visit, said Logan offers an exceptional quality of life for both students and residents.
“I love it here,” said Ashley Berrett, a student who also works at well-known Aggie Ice Cream. “And I actually love it so much that I stay here, even when I’m not in school. I live here during the summers as well.”
The ice cream shop is just one of the enjoyments that grew from the town. “Ice cream, butter and cheese have been here essentially since the university started in 1888,” said Donald McMahon, professor of dairy processing.
Berrett, originally of Salt Lake City, said she not only enjoyed being part of that tradition, but school as a whole.
The listing is based on several factors that began with a review of the Princeton Review’s Best College Rankings guidebook, which looked at key factors that make a college town a great town for students. Those factors include location, weather and public transportation, environment, friendly people, career opportunities, and fun things to do off campus.
Livability.com used the college rankings as a starting point and also looked at factors such as ratio of students to residents, cost of living and entertainment options to come up with its list.
“College towns are appealing to all demographics because universities bring a host of quality of life amenities, such as arts and cultural activities, top-notch medical facilities, and nightlife, as well as economic development assets, such as research and development, continuing education and workforce training,” said John Hood, spokesman for Livability.com.
USU’s School of the Arts is now in its third year. There are shows and activities virtually every night; an asset to the school and the community, said Craig Jessop, dean of the Cain College of the Arts.
“Music, theater, art have always been a vibrant part of this valley from its pioneer beginnings," he said.
Logan comes in with the lowest cost of living on the list. According to the site, people spend about 10 percent less than the rest of the country on housing, food and clothing. That’s a great deal when considering going to USU or looking to move a family to Cache County.
Computer science student Anas Asobeh brought his family to Logan from Jordan. “I heard a lot about Logan, especially, and Utah before coming to here and that encouraged me to come here, because it’s a safe place. It’s a good place for families.”
Other students said the school’s reputation is what got many of them to USU. “My parents came here. My grandparents came here. It’s kind of like a family tradition here to come to Logan,” said freshman Ashton Bingham.
“It’s a pretty big campus, but yet it’s small,” said senior Ashley McCurdy. “You can go and you can talk to your teachers. Everyone’s very friendly.”
Transportation costs in Logan are low. The Cache Valley Transit District offers free bus transportation to all residents.
With a city population of 48,174, the college town has a ratio of one student to every three permanent residents. Logan is close to several ski resorts and about five hours from Yellowstone National Park. Mountain biking, rock climbing and skiing are just some of the many recreational activities offered in Logan.
This is the third year that the website has ranked top college towns, and the first time a Utah town has made it on the list.
At No. 2 on the list is Oxford, Miss., The site says the town has an equal number of permanent residents and college students, yet it retains a sophisticated feel. And the top college town is College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M. Livability.com said the town offered a low cost of living, plenty of watering holes with a country-western vibe and a spirited bunch of Aggie fans.
For the complete list go to livability.com.