Green Grab Bag

Published on September 8th, 2015 | by GrowWNY Intern

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UB Competes in Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

BY: Steven Rabinowitz

Media Contact:
Stasia Raines
The Outdoor Foundation
sraines@outdoorfoundation.org
619.957.9891

59 Colleges and Universities across the U.S. Compete in the
2015 Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

Next month, University at Buffalo (UB) will compete to get the most people outside and active — vying to win the title of National Outdoor Champion.

8/5/2015, (Washington DC) – Outdoor Nation, the national initiative that connects college students and their communities to the outdoors, announced that 59 schools representing 31 states that will participate in the 2015 Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge kicking off in September. 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. It’s a six-week Mother-Nature-meets-March-Madness-style competition to determine the National Outdoor Champion. The 2015 Challenge is presented by The North Face and The REI Foundation. Other sponsors include Adidas, Chaco, Osprey, Coleman, CamelBak and Backpacker among others.

University at Buffalo is pleased to announce it will be competing in the Campus Challenge this year. According to Steven Rabinowitz, the Campus Organizer for UB, “It has become so easy to hole up indoors with the vast array of technology available and never even realize what you are missing out there.” He goes on to implore, “We need the help of not just our school, but the entire Western New York Community, to get as many individuals outdoors as possible.”

“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,” noted 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.”

“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.”

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 Out-door Foundation, the organization that founded the Outdoor Nation initiative. “We are thrilled to welcome 59 schools — a 500 percent increase over last year — into the 2015 Campus Challenge for a little friendly competition with an ultimate goal of activating a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.”

Preregistration begins August 24th and the challenge officially kicks off on September 6th. The University at Buffalo Outdoor Adventure Club encourages everyone reading this to register, get outdoors, and log their activities in support of our University. There will be additional prizes awarded each week as additional incentives. You can learn more and register at http://www.oncampuschallenge.org/. You can also follow the Outdoor Adventure Club by joining their Facebook group or coming to their meetings.

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.

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.


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