Nearly 100 colleges and universities are set to compete in the Challenge to get the most people outdoors
August 14, 2017 – (Washington DC) – Outdoor Nation, a national initiative that connects college students and their communities to the outdoors, today announced that four preeminent outdoor-oriented organizations have pledged their support for the 2017 Campus Challenge, which will includes 93 colleges and universities competing to get the most people recreating outdoors. Organizations supporting the four-week, head-to-head competition are: REI Co-op, The North Face, Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) and Hydro Flask.
“The Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge celebrates college students’ ideas and ingenuity – and uses a little bit of school rivalry – to combat the inactivity trend among young people,” said Ivan Levin, deputy director of the Outdoor Foundation, the organization that founded the Outdoor Nation initiative. “Thanks to the amazing support of our national sponsors, the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge will engage even more college campuses, activate more young people and achieve our common goal of getting more Americans into the great outdoors.”
The concept of the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge is simple; college communities (students, faculty, alumni and the local community) across the country compete to see who can spend the most time outside and active. Participants score points by snapping a picture of their outdoor outing and tracking it via the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge app. The individual who gets the most points wins the title of Outsider of the Year. The school that has the most individuals logging outside hours will win the title of National Outdoor Champion. Throughout the Challenge, outdoor prizes and friendly competition ensure that participants have favorable memories of their outings and connect to the outdoors in meaningful ways. The competition kicks off at the start of the fall semester in early September. A full list of participating schools can be found here.
The Challenge was developed to combat some of today’s bleak statistics around young people and outdoor participation. Current research tells us young people spend 50% less time outdoors in natural settings than the generation that preceded them. And, the average young adult today spends eight hours in front of a screen and only a few minutes outside.
The Challenge has grown from 10 competing schools in 2014 to 93 schools. Last year, the Challenge engaged 89 colleges, and in just six weeks, 16,500 participants logged almost 123,000 outdoor activities, totaling 138,683 hours outdoors. That’s more than 16 years. Many outdoor programs and outing club members served as organizers for the Challenge — planning school-wide activities, promoting individual participation and introducing new outdoor activities to spark interest.
The winner of the 2016 competition was Humboldt State University. The university received a gear bank, sponsored by The North Face and REI, that included technical packs, tents, sleeping bags and more along with cash prizes which rewarded their activation efforts.
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