After six weeks of competition between 57 colleges and universities across the country, Southern Utah University (SUU) claimed the overall win in the inaugural Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, according to a press release. The challenge consisted of more than 20,000 outdoor activities that the SUU student body and surrounding community—2,500 people total—completed. Participants were given a list of more than 60 activity options and had to take a picture of themselves midway through and later post it to an online submission form. The school with the most students (and people in its surrounding community) participating in outdoor recreation activities from the list won. There was also an award for the individual who logged the most outdoor activities from the list.
“We’re using selfies for good,” Christine Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, told Outside. “I think it’s one of the most important issues, engaging the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. We’re very excited about [the program’s] potential.”
The event tallied more than 100,000 activities with almost 20,000 participants from the University of Maryland, Syracuse University, University of Alabama, and others.
SUU junior Kyle Motis was awarded the individual Outsider of the Year title. “It’s gotten me to think more outside the box, of cooler things to do instead of the generic camping and hiking,” Motis, an outdoor recreation major, told Outside on Thursday. The 21-year-old logged 210 activities—sometimes more than five a day—including running, skateboarding, fly-fishing, and caving.
Fanning credited the success of the Campus Challenge to school spirit, rivalries, and competition. She said there are plans to expand the program in 2016.