Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN


The mission of The Vanderbilt University Recreation and Wellness Center is to encourage lifelong learning, develop healthy lifestyles, foster leadership, instill an appreciation for diverse communities, and enhance interpersonal relationships. This is accomplished by providing quality facilities, and by using intentional, educational, and enjoyable programming that focuses on Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.


The Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center (VRWC) features 290,000 square feet of indoor facilities and 9 acres of outdoor recreational space. The most recent addition includes an indoor multi-purpose facility, comprised of a turf football field and an 8 lane, 300-meter indoor track.  The expansion also included a demonstration kitchen, fitness loft, expanded weightlifting area, and a new four lane-bowling center.

  • The indoor facility offers a 19-foot climbing and bouldering wall, 25-yard indoor pool, 4 basketball courts, 4 volleyball courts, 1 badminton court, 5 racquetball courts, 2 squash courts, an indoor elevated track, 15,000+ square feet of fitness equipment, 4 lane bowling alley, 4 group fitness studios, and 3 multipurpose rooms.
  • The 9 acres of the VRWC outdoor facilities include a sand volleyball court, half basketball court, and 4 lighted multipurpose fields.
  • The Outdoor Recreation Center is a 3,000 square foot stand-alone facility behind the VRWC. This facility has an open air 1,080-foot canoe and kayak shed that houses over 75 boats including long recreational kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks, whitewater kayaks, and whitewater canoes. Adventure trips and outdoor gear rentals are available for Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and the Vanderbilt University community.


The Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center is more than just exercise. It encompasses a variety of program areas including Aquatics, Fitness, Intramural Sports, Club Sports, Youth Programs, Outdoor Recreation, Wellness, and Nutrition. The services and events offered through each of these programs span a wide variety of recreation opportunities from yoga classes, personal training sessions, and swim lessons, to backpacking trips, intramural competitions, drop-in sports, and massage therapy. With the new demonstration kitchen, a staff Registered Dietitian shares healthy cooking and eating tips through opportunities such as the monthly Vandy Cooks and weekly Nutrition Minute. Additionally, the VRWC offers space that promotes academic studying and social engagement.


  • Vandy Cooks is a 60-minute cooking class that teaches students, faculty, staff, and community members how to make healthy snacks and cook in the student residence halls.
  • Nutrition Minute – Topics vary from hydration to plant-based eating to weight gain and more. Quick tips and recipes are provided on the topic of the day, as well as a sample of the featured food. Members are invited to stop by for a few minutes or stay the whole time. During the 2015 – 2016 year, 51 sessions were held with 2,372 people attending.
  • The VRWC employs over 193 Vanderbilt University students, making it one of the largest on-campus student employers.
  • With over 80 group fitness classes offered at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center each week, annual participation totals exceed 50,000. The group fitness schedule has a wide range of options from A to Z including Body Shaping, Barre, Boot Camp, Cardio Dance, Functional Fitness, Hula-Hoop, Indoor Cycle, Pilates, Pound, Powerlift, Yoga, Zumba, and more.
  • Intramural sports are one of the most popular activities on Vanderbilt University’s campus, and they are recognized by students, faculty, and staff as an integral part of campus life. With over 40 percent of the student body participating, intramural sports provide friendly competition, exercise, recreation, and is an enjoyable outlet for all participants. The VRWC offers over 40+ intramural sports. With the collective thoughts and ideas from the student body, that number grows every year. Intramural sports are hosted both indoor and outdoor, with championships matches held in Varsity Athletic venues.
  • Nashville is home to two regulation squash courts, both located at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center.
  • Wellness Bash, a fall event promoting wellness and health information and services, has been a Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center fall tradition for over 25 years. The liveliness of the VRWC blends with the festive spirit of Halloween to create one of the most diverse health and wellness fairs seen at Vanderbilt.
  • The VRWC offers Massage Therapy services for purchase in the facility. The skilled massage therapists provide relaxing, restorative bodywork using a variety of techniques to address the specific needs of athletes, seniors, parents and young adults.
  • During final exams at Vanderbilt, the VRWC facility stays open 24/7 to provide a haven for students to unwind and destress during a stressful period of time.
  • During the Vanderbilt University Family Weekend, 38 participants completed the first ever indoor triathlon hosted by the VRWC. Participants included a mix of parents, students, and extended family members.
  • The VRWC offers a unique opportunity to provide an Olympic lifting room with 6 platforms, bars and plates, and staff on sight to provide spotting and guidance.
  • The VRWC Group Fitness Coordinator leads a “Yoga on the Lawn” event every spring and fall that is open to the Vanderbilt Community.
  • The Club Sports program is comprised of 32 student led teams with over 1,000 members and growing. During the 2015-2016 season, Vanderbilt Club Sports hosted 60 competitions and traveled to over 95 destinations across the continental US.
  • The Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) offers 50 Adventure Trips per year. Trips included 4-6 big (7-9 day) trips backpacking in Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Yosemite National Park, hiking and white water rafting in Rocky Mountain National Park, and skiing in Steamboat Springs, CO. Weekly kayak roll clinics are offered in the VRWC indoor pool as well.
  • The climbing wall hosts multiple competitions each year like the “Commodore Climb: Chalk to the Hand” bouldering competitions. The shorter wall is mainly used for bouldering, but is also set up to be a teaching wall. Training is offered for our trip coordinators and patrons; these include belaying and lead climbing to bouldering, as well as route setting at our “Everybody Sets” events.
Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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