Hollins University is joining 87 colleges and universities from across the country to compete in the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, which kicks off September 4 and runs through October 15.
The Challenge celebrates college students’ ideas, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned school rivalries to combat the inactivity trend among young people.
For six weeks, members of the campus community will take part in the “Mother-Nature-Meets-March-Madness” program with the goal of becoming National Outdoor Champion. An initiative of the Outdoor Foundation, the Challenge will employ prizes, competition, and gamification to fight the growing inactivity crisis in America among youth by helping connect them to the outdoors.
Jon Guy Owens, director of the Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP), said, “The Challenge is a great tie-in with two significant milestones this year: the university’s 175th anniversary and HOP’s 40th anniversary. For much of our history we’ve encouraged students at every interest and skill level to stay active in ways that are exciting and a lot of fun. The Challenge represents another opportunity for our students to embrace and enjoy the many benefits of being outdoors.”
“The Challenge is about using technology for good – specifically, for the health and wellness of an entire generation of young people,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We are rewarding and incentivizing college students who spend time outside because we believe they will have memorable experiences, develop a love for the outdoors, and ultimately spend more time protecting and enjoying our beautiful parks and wild places. This is what the Challenge is about – creating a cultural shift that leads all young Americans to the great outdoors.”
In the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, individuals compete to see who can spend the most time outside and active, and earn the title of Outsider of the Year. The college or university that has the most individuals logging outside hours will be named National Outdoor Champion. With the support of Challenge sponsors, schools will provide incentives to their student bodies and larger communities to get outside and active, including stickers, gear, head-to-toe outfitting, and even a trip and an internship opportunity.
At Hollins, HOP is the lead organizer for the Challenge, planning school-wide activities and promoting individual participation. Ultimately, the goal is to have students working to build a stronger outdoor campus community and culture.
The Challenge was developed to combat some of today’s bleak statistics regarding young people and outdoor participation. Research has found that young people spend 50 percent less time outdoors in natural settings than the generation that preceded them. The average young adult today spends eight hours in front of a screen and only a few minutes outside.
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.