Outdoor Nation Launches the First-Ever Campus Challenge – Engaging College Students in a Major Campaign to Increase Outdoor Participation

The initiative is fueled by The North Face and will invest in the best ideas driven by colleges and universities that activate a new generation of outdoor champions.
Mar 19, 2014 9:00 PM ET

March 19, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Outdoor Nation, the signature program of the Outdoor Foundation, in partnership with The North Face, is launching the first-ever Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge -- working with colleges and universities across America to get more young people outside and active.  For the next month, Outdoor Nation and The North Face are on the search for the top schools with the best ideas of how to inspire students to recreate outdoors. In May, the top ten colleges will be announced and awarded a grant and additional resources to activate on their ideas during the fall 2014 semester.  

“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.”

Capitalizing on school spirit and traditional rivalries, the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge will culminate with one national “Outdoor Nation Campus Champion” – the school that inspires the most number of people - students, alumni and the local community – to recreate outdoors. The winning school will have priceless bragging rights among its peers as well as earn a valuable prize package including a scholarship for an outdoor program assistant, custom gear library, and a major outdoor festival for all students.

"We are extremely proud to be a founding partner of this groundbreaking initiative, bringing young leaders together 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 fresh perspective and new solutions." 

Outdoor Nation has also teamed up with NIRSA, the leading membership association for students and professionals working in campus recreation, to promote the Campus Challenge to its network of 650+ institutional member schools. “NIRSA is committed to inspiring healthy people and healthy communities,” explains NIRSA Executive Director Pam Watts. “Outdoor recreation is among the fastest growing areas of campus recreation and we are excited to partner with Outdoor Nation to promote the inaugural Campus Challenge and encourage active lifestyle choices on campuses across the United States.”

An individual achievement award, ‘Outsider of the Year’, will also be given to the student that inspires the most people to get outdoors -- earning a year’s worth of outdoor gear, an internship with the Outdoor Foundation and an outdoor trip of a lifetime.

Perhaps more important than the grand prize, the Challenge will provide ongoing incentives and rewards for overall participation regardless of leader board status – giving the opportunity to earn gear for simply participating and reaching their goals. Schools and individuals that surpass a specific outdoor hour goal will get rewarded and advance to the next level that will include a higher outdoor hour goal with rewards.

A powerful online platform will track progress, recognize school and individual leaders and reward participation. The national champion will be recognized at the end of the semester – earning valuable bragging rights and other great prizes. If you are interested in supporting the Campus Challenge or getting involved as a student or university, contact Chris Fanning at cfanning@outdorfoundation.org for more information or visit the Campus Challenge Application.