Harrisonburg, VA
Tuition (in-state)
$17,932 ($4,642)
Admission Difficulty
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5 College Freshman

Facilities: there is good transportation, good food, libraries, so many campus clubs

5 College Freshman

Facilities: great campus life and facilities available to students

5 College Freshman

Facilities: Everyone is so nice and friendly. willingness to help is always apparent. Hey, its JMU we hold doors for everyone.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Everything is very nice and well taken care of. no problems

5 College Junior

Facilities: Beautiful. Better than Disney World.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 12th
    Best Performance Venues
  • 66th
    Best Athletic Facilities
  • 104th
    Greenest Campuses
  • 158th
    Best Library
  • 231st
    Best Student Centers

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sandra Jolles
Great Falls Virginia
Media Arts and Design
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Not only are buildings at JMU aesthetically pleasing, they also offer students a safe, effective way to pass the time, aside from sleeping and studying. The Quad, for instance, is commonly packed with students. The collective activity on the Quad seems to underline social activity. You might see sunbathers, students throwing around a football, or even some Media, Arts, and Design students shooting their latest flick.

Possibly the most cherished relic on the JMU turf is the Recreation Center, popularly known as UREC. Spanning three stories, complete with a climbing wall, racquetball courts, and an indoor track, UREC offers a little something for any student. For students who prefer to tailor their own workouts, there are rooms brimming with weights and cardio machines. If you're someone who likes to taste a little bit of everything, there are more than 100 classes offered at UREC that vary from worldbeat dance to body sculpt to cycle fit. It's no wonder JMU was ranked 10th out of the top 25 healthiest schools. Even if you’re not in the mood to work out, study tables and a smoothie restaurant greet every student as they walk in. UREC can be a perfect place for group meetings, or just people watching.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
712 acres
Student Centers
Festival Conference & Student Center
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • Carrier Library
  • East Campus Library
  • Memorial Library
  • Music Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • The Commons (outside D Hall)
  • Festival
  • The Quad
  • Taylor Down Under (TDU)
Bar on Campus
Bowling on Campus
Coffeehouse on Campus
Einstein Bros. Bagels, Java City, Starbucks, TDU
Movie Theater on Campus
Grafton-Stovall Theatre behind Taylor and Warren, conveniently located on campus, offers late-night showings and, on occasion, sneak previews.
School Slang
  • APL: The Airport Lounge is located on the fourth floor of Warren Hall and is technically named The Loft. It got its name from looking like an airport lounge.
  • CMISS: Center for Multicultural/International Student Services, the core of a lot of JMU's ethnic clubs, as well as a few sorority and fraternity organizations
  • The Commons: The area right outside D-Hall used for a variety of programs and advertisements; also the place to meet your friends for lunch
  • CRU: Not the rowing team, but the Christian organization Campus Crusade for Christ
  • D-Hall: Students' nickname for the all-you-can-eat Gibbons Dining Hall
  • Dukes: The short name for the dining facility PC Dukes
  • Frogs: The Freshman Orientation Guides, who help new students get acquainted with the campus in the first week of school
  • ISAT/HHS: Integrated Science and Technology and Health and Human Services buildings (connected)
  • JAC: If you want to eat, go to the gym, access your records or survive on campus, you'll need to have your JAC card.
  • Mappy: Your guide to getting around campus, given to you on your first day at JMU
  • Trashby: Nickname for Ashby Crossing; it tends to look a bit trashy because of frequent partying.
  • The Village: One of the largest communities of residence halls on campus, basically in the middle of campus
  • For the Technology Junkies: In 2000, JMU hired Karim Altaii, an ISAT professor who decided it was time JMU had its own hovercraft. Two years later, the 550-pound Fenix, the brainchild of ten integrated science, technology, and computer science students, took flight one foot above the ground. The project took place in the ISAT/CS loading area, and the hovercraft can still be viewed today.
  • The Foxhills Block Party: Anybody who's anybody, anybody who wants to meet everybody, and anybody who wants to get smashed with everybody will be at the block party in Foxhills early in the school year. Usually, it takes place sometime within the first month. The structure is typical—girls, guys, more girls, and beer—except that this party is a block long, from one end of the street to the other. To find it, just open your window; you'll hear the festivities from a mile away. Cops hear it, too, and try to tighten the reins more every year.
  • Godwin Field Festival: On Saturday during Homecoming Week, the Godwin Field Festival gets the Dukes all riled up with live entertainment, games, and food. The whole shindig is aimed at pumping students up to watch the JMU football game that follows the Festival.
  • Greek Week: April showers bring May flowers and Greek Week, too. During Greek Week, sororities and fraternities participate in a week-long train of events, including Greek Letter and Greek T-Shirt Days, activities like tug-o-war and kickball, a barbecue, a Mr. and Ms. Greek Coronation, and Greek Sing. Greek Sing takes place annually and includes a mix of song and dance to support a local or national charity.
  • Homecoming Week: During late October, Duke spirit abounds for a week of activities on campus. Events include a talent show, parade, football game, a night of entertainment (one year featured alumnus Phil Vassar), Sunset on the Quad, and the Godwin Field Festival.
  • James Madison Week: Madison Week hosts a variety of events to bring attention to the JMU campus. Throughout the week, students and visitors can witness the Wreath Laying at the James Madison Statue in front of Varner Hall, attend sessions, listen to speakers and satirical comedians, or watch the Battle for the Madison Cup, a commemorative debate, and a citizens' forum. For more information on Madison Week, visit www.jmu.edu/birthday.
  • JMU Holidayfest: Early each December, students and faculty have the chance to burrow into the Christmas spirit. Holidayfest includes a seasonal music concert performed by the JMU chorale, symphony orchestra, and brass band. Preceding the concert, audience members are invited to sing carols, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, and witness the lighting of the JMU holiday tree on the campus Quadrangle in front of Wilson Hall.
  • The Kissing Rock: In the Normal School days (before JMU was coed), girls would entice their dates to smooch them on the Kissing Rock; it was believed her stone-standing pecking partner would someday be her husband. One might as well give it a try. The Kissing Rock is still located in the middle of the front of the Quad.
  • MACRoCk: It all started early in 1997, when the first Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference was put on by WXJM, which is the JMU student-run radio station. Now, it's an annual tradition that brings punk, emo, and hardcore fans from up and down the East Coast. MACRoCk showcases DJs and managers from East Coast college radio stations, roundtable discussions, a label exposition, and many different concerts held in the Harrisonburg area over the course of a weekend. Thousands of music aficionados flock to JMU in the springtime in the name of student-run radio, independent music, independent thought, and independent business.
  • The Must-Dos: Many students believe their stay at JMU would not be complete without four interesting endeavors: streaking the Quad, traversing the tunnels under the Quad, hiking up into the cupola (the Wilson Clock Tower), and swimming in Newman Lake (the lake with the fountain, located by the main entrance to campus).
  • Parents' Weekend: Invite the parental units up for a couple days in mid-October for a little taste of life at Madison. Parents are invited to attend a variety of events, some of which have included a Dukes football game, a 5K Breast Cancer Walk/Run, a Beatles Tribute Show in Wilson Auditorium, and a concert by the JMU School of Music in the Convocation Center. In addition, the campus never looks finer than it does during Parents' Weekend. It is the only time of year you will ever see fresh bark chips spread, new flowers planted, tents erected, and cloth napkins and tablecloths displayed in D-Hall.
  • Sunset on the Quad: Every year during Homecoming, students gather on the Quad to gorge themselves on complimentary hot dogs and soda, watch the sunset, and listen to the University's a cappella choirs and other entertainment groups perform.
Urban Legends
  • The Little Bo Peep story is an urban legend that has been making its way around college campuses for more than a generation. The rumor revives itself every year or so around Halloween. The JMU version of the myth centers on Eagle Hall. According to the story, a deranged student dressed as Little Bo Peep celebrated Halloween by taking an ax to her suitemates on the sixth floor of the residence hall. In some versions of the tale, the murder weapon becomes a knife. The number of victims varies. Later versions of the story have the killer wearing a "Scream" mask.
  • The story of the hanging in the Wilson Hall cupola has made its way around the JMU campus for more than 50 years. The story goes that a student was indulging in some hanky-panky with a married professor, but eventually the professor dumped her. The student is said to have made her way to the cupola of Wilson Hall and hanged herself. According to the legend, on some nights you can see the woman hanging in the window of the cupola.
  • There are tunnels under the Quad which were closed for unknown reasons to the general public. This spurred on the rumors that they were shut down because of murders in the tunnels as well as them being haunted.
Favorite Things To Do
During the week, The Commons is a popular place for JMU's clubs and organizations to promote themselves and their events, which are often for charity. They hand out pamphlets, pens, shirts, and so on, all giving information about service days on campus during the year, musical performances, or even awareness events.

When students aren't studying or getting involved in some of the many organizations, they can get a coffee at TDU while listening to local bands, live poetry, or improv groups. Over the weekend, students can attend sporting events, concerts, and even movies. They also like to hang out in the Airport Lounge on the fourth floor of Warren, work out at the gym, watch choir or dance performances, or listen to guest lectures.
Student Organizations Web Site
Student Newspaper
The Breeze
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Marching band
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Pep band
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student newspaper
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: Yes

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 86 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

What are your favorite campus events or traditions?    Based on 5 responses

  • 18% James Madison Week
  • 18% Homecoming Week
  • 12% Greek Week
  • 12% Sunset on the Quad
  • 12% Parents' Weekend
  • 6% The Foxhills Block Party
  • 6% The Must-Dos
  • 6% JMU Holidayfest
  • 6% The Kissing Rock
  • 6% Godwin Field Festival
  • 0% For the Technology Junkies
  • 0% MACRoCk

What are the best on-campus student jobs?    Based on 5 responses

  • 33% Library (Carrier or ECL)
  • 22% UREC
  • 22% Bookstore
  • 11% Dining
  • 11% Madison Grill
  • 0% Computer lab assistant

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 92 responses

  • 0% The student center is in need of a major renovation.
  • 26% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 53% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 21% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 86 responses

  • 2% I hate my school and have no school spirit.
  • 3% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 29% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 65% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.

Where are your favorite places to just hang out?    Based on 5 responses

  • 50% The Quad
  • 38% Festival
  • 12% Taylor Down Under (TDU)
  • 0% The Commons (outside D Hall)

What are the worst on-campus student jobs?    Based on 5 responses

  • 80% JMU dining services
  • 20% UREC



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