Buena Vista University is a thriving academic community, but it’s also part of the larger community of Storm Lake. Nearly 11,000 people live around the lake’s waters. BVU is located near the center of the north shore, adjacent to University Cove – a beach restored by students in cooperation with the city.
There are 200 acres of parks around the 3,200-acre lake as well as a five-mile trail on the north side for walkers, joggers and bikers. The trail passes through campus, and along the way features tree sculptures by local chainsaw artist Jeff Klatt.
In summer mornings, sailboats glide across the lake’s smooth surface. Skiers cut through the waves under the afternoon sun, and passengers on lazy pontoons watch the sunset. Canoes, kayaks and other recreational equipment are available – free of charge – for students to check out from the University. In winter, ice fishers take to the frozen surface, along with hockey, broomball, and other winter sports. Throughout the year, the lake and watershed are heavily studied by students in BVU’s environmental science program.