59 Colleges and Universities Across the US Will Compete in the 2015 Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

Presented by The REI Foundation and The North Face, schools will compete to get the most people outside and active -- vying to win the title of National Outdoor Champion
May 12, 2015 5:20 PM ET

Washington DC, May 12, 2015 /3BL Media/ – Outdoor Nation, the national initiative that connects college students and their communities to the outdoors, announced today the 59 schools representing 30 states that will participate in the 2015 Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge. Combined, these colleges enroll a total of 850,000 students, in addition to faculty, alumni and local community members – demonstrating the extraordinary reach and potential impact of the Challenge, which kicks off in early September. It’s a six-week Mother Nature meets March Madness style competition to determine the National Outdoor Champion.

“More than ever, people need opportunities to connect with and explore the natural world,” said Ann Krcik, senior director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. "We are excited to be a founding partner of this groundbreaking initiative, and even more so to see the positive results of so many young people getting outdoors.”

“We all know that after high school even the most active young people can start to slow down.  There’s a cliff effect when kids move away from organized, hometown sports,” said Marc Berejka, President of The REI Foundation.  “Spending time outdoors is just fun and it’s good for you.  We’re hoping that the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge can inspire young people to incorporate outdoor adventure into their college and post-grad lives.”

The 2015 Challenge is presented by The North Face and The REI Foundation. Other sponsors include Adidas, Osprey and CamelBak and Backpacker.

By 2020, the Outdoor Nation Campus Initiative plans to have a presence on 500 colleges and universities across the country. The 2015 Campus Challenge aims to engage young people in outdoor recreation — rewarding schools with the most outdoor activities logged by the most people in their campus network (students, faculty, alumni and local community). The school with the most participants and outdoor activities will be named the National Outdoor Champion, and the top individual will be crowned Outsider of the Year.

“Outdoor Nation believes in empowering young people to motivate and mobilize their peers to get into the great outdoors,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, the organization that founded the Outdoor Nation initiative. “We are thrilled to welcome 59 schools — 49 more than last year — into the 2015 Campus
Challenge for a little friendly competition with an ultimate goal of activating a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.”

Launched in 2014, the Challenge aims to combat the inactivity crisis prevalent among youth and young adults in America. The statistics are staggering. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average young person spends eight hours in front of a screen and only eight minutes outside and active.

Last year, in its pilot program, the Campus Challenge engaged ten colleges and universities. In just eight weeks, 8,390 participants logged almost 44,000 outdoor activities, with many schools reporting a major surge in campus-wide interest in outdoor recreation. 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 2014 competition was the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (CSB/SJU) in Collegeville, Minnesota. The university received a gear bank, sponsored by The North Face, that includes technical packs, tents, sleeping bags and more. The school also held a campus-wide celebration to honor their accomplishment.

The 2015 Challenge is presented by The North Face and The REI Foundation. Other sponsors include Adidas, Osprey, Chaco and CamelBak and Backpacker.


About the Outdoor Foundation & Outdoor Nation
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action-oriented outreach and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that aims to empower young leaders to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States. For more information visit: OutdoorFoundation.org and OutdoorNation.org.