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Exploring the Best Activities and Attractions at JMU: A Guide for Students and Visitors

Photo stuff to do at jmu

James Madison University (JMU) is a public research university located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, JMU has grown into a comprehensive university offering a wide range of academic programs. The university is named after James Madison, the fourth president of the United States and the “Father of the Constitution.”

JMU’s campus spans over 721 acres and is home to more than 22,000 students. The university is known for its beautiful campus, which features a mix of historic and modern buildings. The campus is located in the Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by picturesque mountains and rolling hills.

JMU prides itself on its diverse student population. The university attracts students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, creating a vibrant and inclusive community. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, students at JMU have the opportunity to engage with their professors and receive personalized attention.

Key Takeaways

  • James Madison University (JMU) is a public research university located in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
  • JMU offers top-rated academic programs in fields such as business, health sciences, education, and engineering.
  • Campus life at JMU is vibrant and diverse, with over 350 student organizations and clubs to choose from.
  • Sports enthusiasts will love the state-of-the-art facilities at JMU, including a football stadium, basketball arena, and fitness center.
  • Foodies will appreciate the diverse dining options and food culture at JMU, which includes everything from farm-to-table cuisine to international flavors.

Top-rated academic programs at JMU

JMU offers a wide range of academic programs across eight colleges and schools. The university is known for its strong programs in business, health sciences, education, engineering, and the arts.

The College of Business at JMU is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the country. The college offers undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting, finance, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including a trading room equipped with real-time financial data.

The College of Health and Behavioral Studies at JMU is also highly regarded for its programs in nursing, health sciences, psychology, and social work. The nursing program has a strong reputation for producing highly skilled nurses who are in high demand in the healthcare industry.

JMU’s College of Education offers a variety of programs for aspiring teachers and educators. The college is known for its innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in local schools.

The College of Integrated Science and Engineering at JMU is recognized for its programs in engineering, computer science, and biotechnology. The college emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and provides students with opportunities to work on real-world projects.

JMU is also known for its strong arts programs, particularly in music, theater, and dance. The School of Music offers a wide range of performance opportunities, and the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts hosts professional performances throughout the year.

Notable faculty and alumni at JMU include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, former U.S. Senator Jim Webb, and Grammy Award-winning musician Kishi Bashi.

Campus life and student activities at JMU

JMU offers a vibrant campus life with a wide range of student organizations and clubs. There are over 400 student organizations on campus, covering a variety of interests and hobbies. Whether students are interested in joining a professional organization, participating in community service, or pursuing a hobby, there is likely a club or organization that suits their interests.

In addition to student organizations, JMU also hosts a variety of campus events and traditions throughout the year. One of the most popular events is “Madipalooza,” an annual music festival featuring live performances by both local and national artists. Other campus traditions include “Paint the Town Purple,” where students paint the town purple to show their school spirit, and “Ring Premiere,” where students receive their official class rings.

Housing options at JMU include traditional residence halls, suite-style housing, and apartment-style living. The university offers a variety of housing options to accommodate different preferences and needs. Living on campus provides students with easy access to classes, dining options, and campus activities.

Sports and recreation facilities at JMU

Facility Location Capacity Availability
Bridgeforth Stadium East Campus 25,000 Reserved for JMU Athletics events
Godwin Hall West Campus 2,000 Open for JMU students and faculty
UREC East Campus 10,000 Open for JMU students and faculty
Memorial Hall West Campus 1,500 Open for JMU students and faculty

JMU has a strong athletic program with 18 varsity sports teams competing at the NCAA Division I level. The university is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and has won numerous conference championships.

The football team at JMU is particularly successful, having won multiple national championships in recent years. The team plays its home games at Bridgeforth Stadium, which has a seating capacity of over 24,000.

In addition to varsity sports, JMU offers a variety of recreational sports and fitness programs for students. The university has state-of-the-art facilities, including a fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, basketball courts, tennis courts, and a climbing wall. Students can also participate in intramural sports leagues and club sports teams.

Dining options and food culture at JMU

JMU offers a variety of dining options on campus, ranging from traditional dining halls to food courts and cafes. The university is committed to providing healthy and sustainable food options for students.

One of the highlights of dining at JMU is the “Farm-to-Table” program, which sources ingredients from local farms and producers. This program allows students to enjoy fresh and locally sourced food while supporting the local community.

JMU also hosts a variety of food-related events and traditions throughout the year. One of the most popular events is “Taste of the ‘Burg,” where local restaurants and food vendors set up booths on campus to showcase their offerings. The event gives students the opportunity to sample a wide range of cuisines and discover new local favorites.

Art and culture scene at JMU

JMU has a thriving arts scene, with a variety of programs and performances throughout the year. The School of Art, Design, and Art History offers undergraduate and graduate programs in studio art, graphic design, art education, and art history. The school hosts regular exhibitions featuring the work of faculty, students, and visiting artists.

The School of Theatre and Dance at JMU is known for its high-quality productions and talented performers. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in theater and dance, and students have the opportunity to participate in mainstage productions, student-directed shows, and dance concerts.

The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts is a state-of-the-art facility that hosts a variety of performances, including music concerts, theater productions, and dance performances. The center features multiple performance spaces, including a concert hall, a theater, and a dance studio.

Students at JMU have the opportunity to get involved in the arts through student organizations and clubs. There are a variety of performance groups on campus, including a cappella groups, dance troupes, and theater clubs.

Best places to visit around JMU campus

While JMU’s campus offers plenty to see and do, there are also many attractions and landmarks worth visiting in the surrounding area. One popular destination is Shenandoah National Park, which is located just a short drive from campus. The park offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has over 500 miles of hiking trails.

Another nearby attraction is Luray Caverns, one of the largest cavern systems in the eastern United States. Visitors can take guided tours of the caverns and explore the underground chambers and formations.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Massanutten Resort offers a variety of recreational activities, including skiing, snowboarding, golfing, and hiking. The resort is located just a short drive from campus and provides a great opportunity for students to enjoy the outdoors.

In downtown Harrisonburg, visitors can explore the local shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The area has a vibrant arts scene and hosts regular events and festivals throughout the year.

Local events and festivals in Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg is known for its lively events and festivals that celebrate the local culture and community. One of the most popular events is the Harrisonburg International Festival, which showcases the diversity of the city through music, dance, food, and art. The festival features performances by local and international artists, as well as food vendors offering a variety of cuisines.

Another popular event is the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival, which brings together local breweries and musicians for a day of beer tasting and live music. The festival is a great opportunity for students to sample local craft beers and enjoy live performances by local bands.

Harrisonburg also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including film festivals, art exhibitions, and theater productions. Students at JMU have the opportunity to get involved in these events through volunteering or participating as performers or artists.

Outdoor adventures and nature trails near JMU

The Shenandoah Valley offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities for students at JMU. There are numerous hiking and biking trails in the area, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. Some popular trails include the Appalachian Trail, the Shenandoah National Park trails, and the George Washington National Forest trails.

For water enthusiasts, the Shenandoah River provides opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing. Students can rent equipment from local outfitters and spend a day on the river enjoying the scenic views.

JMU also offers opportunities for students to get involved in environmental conservation efforts. The university has a sustainability program that focuses on reducing waste, conserving energy, and promoting sustainable practices on campus. Students can participate in volunteer programs and internships related to environmental conservation.

Tips for planning a visit to JMU campus

If you’re planning a visit to JMU campus, there are a few things to keep in mind. The university offers campus tours for prospective students and their families, which provide an opportunity to explore the campus and learn more about the academic programs and student life at JMU. It’s recommended to schedule a tour in advance to ensure availability.

For accommodations, there are several hotels near JMU campus that offer convenient access to the university. Some recommended options include the Hotel Madison, the Courtyard by Marriott Harrisonburg, and the Hampton Inn Harrisonburg – University.

To make the most of your visit to JMU, consider attending an admissions event or information session. These events provide an opportunity to meet with admissions counselors, learn more about the application process, and ask any questions you may have.

Lastly, take some time to explore the surrounding area and experience the local culture. Visit downtown Harrisonburg to explore the shops and restaurants, and consider checking out some of the nearby attractions and landmarks mentioned earlier.


What is JMU?

JMU stands for James Madison University, a public research university located in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

What are some popular things to do at JMU?

There are many popular things to do at JMU, including attending sporting events, joining clubs and organizations, exploring the Arboretum, visiting the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, and attending concerts and performances.

What sports teams does JMU have?

JMU has a variety of sports teams, including football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and more.

What clubs and organizations are available at JMU?

JMU has over 350 clubs and organizations, ranging from academic and professional organizations to cultural and recreational groups.

What is the Arboretum at JMU?

The Arboretum at JMU is a 125-acre botanical garden and forested area that is open to the public. It features walking trails, gardens, and educational exhibits.

What is the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum?

The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is a 125-acre botanical garden and forested area located on the JMU campus. It features walking trails, gardens, and educational exhibits.

What types of concerts and performances are held at JMU?

JMU hosts a variety of concerts and performances, including classical music, jazz, theater, dance, and more. Many of these events are open to the public.