As the semester draws to a close, many university students are packing their bags and heading out for some summer fun. Students at 10 colleges and universities across the U.S. are gearing up for the outdoor challenge of their lives; coming up with innovative strategies to help them win the title of “most outdoorsy campus” in the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge.
The Challenge, fueled by The North Face, was developed to combat some of today’s worrisome statistics around young people and outdoor participation. Current research tells us young people spend 50 percent less time outdoors in natural settings than the generation that preceded them. More than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas and only 20 percent of young people live within a half-mile of a park or open space.
In response, Outdoor Nation launched the first-ever Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge — working with colleges and universities across America to get more young people outside and active. This week, Outdoor Nation and The North Face selected10 schools that will go head-to-head in the fall, competing to see who can get the most people in their student bodies and surrounding communities outside and active.
“College students are among the most creative, innovative and influential group of people in our country today,” said Chris Fanning executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Over the past several years, these young leaders have emerged as the drivers behind Outdoor Nation and the Campus Challenge builds on our investment in these change makers and thought leaders. If we are truly going to inspire a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts – the ideas and energy must come from them.”
During the eight-week Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, participating individuals at each school will self-report on their outdoor activities through an interactive online platform powered by ContestCore. The school that logs the most activities outside at the end of the competition will win a valuable prize package, scholarship for an outdoor program assistant, a custom gear library, an outdoor festival for all students, and valuable bragging rights. An individual achievement award, “Outsider of the Year,” will also be given to the student that inspires the most people to get outdoors.
“We are excited to see the fresh, unique ideas that these young leaders develop to share their passion for the outdoors and ultimately find better ways to connect people and nature,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “There is no better way to address the issue of getting more people outside than to learn from the brightest minds of the next generation for a new perspective and creative solutions.”
Schools selected to compete in the 2014 Campus Challenge include: Appalachian State University, California State University, Long Beach, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, George Mason University, James Madison University, Michigan Technological University, Spelman College, University of Central Florida, University of Iowa and University of Wisconsin-Madison.