Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge seeks 'outdoorsiest' college

ASU students can participate in outdoors challenges against colleges across the country

The 2017 Campus Challenge, created by Outdoor Nation, a social network for outdoors enthusiasts, is challenging students from ASU and colleges across the country to show why they believe they go to the "outdoorsiest" campus in the nation. 

According to the Outdoor Nation website, the competition offers college students the opportunity to win $100 gift cards, gear from companies like The North Face and recognition for their university. 

To participate, students must download the Outdoor Nation app, set ASU as their school and post pictures of outdoor adventures from Sept. 18 to Oct. 15. Each picture receives points that go toward prizes and rankings against participants from other colleges.


Those who want to be more involved in collegiate outdoor recreation can join the Arizona Outdoors Club for outdoor excursions, fun activities and extra Campus Challenge events with a twist of Sun Devil spirit.

Ivan Levin, the deputy director for Outdoor Foundation, the advocacy group that oversees Outdoor Nation, said the network was created in 2008 while government agencies were discussing the lack of student involvement in the outdoor activities. 

“There was a lot of conversation about how do we get young people outside, why aren’t young people getting outside, what are the barriers to ... getting outside, and the wrong people were having the conversation," Levin said. "So, we wanted to ask young people themselves and that’s really how Outdoor Nation came about.”

Levin said the transition between high school and college provides a unique chance for students to experience nature.

“Research shows us that there’s a big drop in team sports right after high school, and so that’s a great opportunity to take the time that was going toward sports and using that to connect young people with the outdoors,” he said.

Zane Bickham, engineering management senior and president of the Arizona Outdoors Club, said the challenge provides a healthy incentive for students to find new outdoor activities.

“The Campus Challenge ... is a nice segue into doing outdoor activities," Bickham said. "It’s not intimidating at all. I mean, you get points for doing something as simple as riding your bike to class and taking a picture of it. It’s just a cool experience to get our members involved and ... add a little bit of a competitive feel.” 


Bickham said the Outdoor Club offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities, largely because of the amount of member-driven participation.

“We’re an entirely member-driven club," he said. "The bigger (trips) are led by some of our officers and more experienced members but our trips every weekend are led by our individual club members.

"We’ve had everything from (Lake) Havasupai to skydiving, caving, canyoneering, rock climbing, hiking Mt. Humphreys, snowboarding, cross country skiing — if it’s outside, we’ve had a trip that has done it.”

Raquel Bartelt, a nursing senior, said ASU students have an astonishing number of outdoor venues nearby to enjoy.

“I like going on road trips, I like traveling," Bartelt said. "There’s a lot do in Arizona, actually. People don’t really realize all that it has to offer.”


Reach the reporter at trevor.hutchins14@gmail.com or follow @TrevorMHutchins on Twitter.

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