Polar Vortex, Shcmoler Vortex: The Toughest College Students in America

Source: Joshua Lott/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Most of us can't stop complaining. The entire country is living a cold, snowy nightmare this winter — and it isn't over yet. Yes, the Polar Vortex will ravage the country again this week 

When it comes to being a student, the weather could really get you down: How are you supposed to walk to class in a blizzard, let alone party? 

We took a look at which schools were hit the worst this winter — and didn't let it stop them. Based on factors like campus size, inches of snow, lowest temperature, wind chill, number of school closures in January, and overall school spirit, we ranked the colleges who deserve to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Winter 2014. 

Toughest in the South: University of Louisville

We’re pretty sure these students have never seen snow before, judging by the amount of Louisville snow memes that were generated on Twitter. This school took it all in stride.

Inches of Snow in January: 19.3

Coldest Temperature in January: -3 F

Number of School Closures in January: 1


The Pros: University at Buffalo

Blizzards are nothing new for Buffalo — the city is often ranked as one of the snowiest in the United States. The University of Buffalo didn’t seem to mind the polar vortex one bit, and has even continued hosting winter-themed festivals.

Inches of Snow in January: 90.6 (they have since passed the 100-inch mark)

Coldest Temperature in January: -1 F

Number of School Closures in January: 0


Most Festive: Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech took the polar vortex in stride, using the extra snow to make intricate storybook-themed snow sculptures for their Winter Carnival. Well, at least someone knew what to do with all that extra powder.

Inches of Snow in January: 55.25

Coldest Temperature in January: -12 F 

Number of School Closures in January: 2


Toughest in Chiberia: Northwestern University

Each winter, Northwestern constructs an ice rink for students. This year, the rink saw a record number of skaters, despite freezing temperatures and the possibility of frostbite. Chiberia indeed.

Inches of Snow in January: 42.5 

Coldest Temperature in January: -15 F (although the wind chill made it much worse

Number of School Closures in January: 2


Best Civil Servants: IUPUI

Although Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis students may have hoped for more snow days, they have to at least be as tough as the city’s elementary school students. Each year, children from an Indianapolis elementary paint a snow plow to honor veterans, and this year, those plows were put to good use. Leslie Knope would be proud.

Inches of Snow in January: 30.6

Coldest Temperature in January: -15 F

Number of School Closures in January: 1


Most Persistent: The University of Michigan

The University of Michigan refused to cancel classes for most of the polar vortex, dismaying staff and students alike. Before the closure on January 28, the school had not closed since the blizzard of 1978. Now that’s tough.

Inches of Snow in January: 31.5 

Coldest Temperature in January: -18 F

Number of School Closures in January: 1 


Best Flash Mob: University of Minnesota

Although the U of M has its main campus in Minneapolis, it also has a smaller campus in Duluth, Minn. which was hit especially hard by the snowstorm this year. But instead of moping about the amount of snow, students put it to good use: they made over 2000 snow angels to raise money for clean water initiatives.

Inches of Snow in January: 40

Coldest Temperature in January: -23 F

Number of School Closures in January: 1.5 (at the Twin Cities campus)