In 2015, SUU competed in the Outdoor Nation challenge, a competition spanning the entire United States against universities in every state and won, and this year, SUU is back to defend their title.
The Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge is put on by invite-only social network The Outdoor Nation, found at OutdoorNation.org, a social website of young people who love the outdoors.
92 schools compete across the nation to see who is the most outdoorsy, including Arizona State University, Brown University, Georgia State University, Oklahoma State University, Ohio State University and Utah State University.
The event is sponsored by huge outdoor recreation companies such as REI, The North Face, Eno and Hydro Flask, a popular water bottle company. The winner of the competition gets money and supplies from these companies, which is the reason that SUU got the new rental garage and Base Camp, the SUU Outdoors operated space in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.
The challenge begins on Monday, Sept. 18 and ends on Oct. 15, however pre-registration has already begun.
The competition works through the Outdoor Nation Challenge app, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app allows users to begin submitting photos of outdoor activities on Sept. 18 for points, and is available for anyone to download. Points are weighted based on activities submitted.
Students, faculty, staff, alumni and even friends and family are allowed to sign up and compete for the school of their choosing, so sharing the app and telling others to sign up and compete for SUU can be a great way to earn points for the school.
During pre-registration, competitors who have signed up early are eligible for daily drawings for $100 gift cards to REI.
Most outdoor activities are eligible, such as biking, camping, climbing (indoor and out), hiking, running, outdoor water activities, hammocking, skateboarding, outdoor walking and stargazing. The competition website has a more complete list of what is allowed; the rule of thumb is if it is outside and longer than thirty minutes, it counts.
However, the website’s FAQ states that “traditional team sports are not eligible,” and each activity must last a minimum of half an hour and photos must have been taken and submitted during the competition.
Up to five activities can be submitted each day, so for a weekend long backpacking trip, hiking, camping, hammocking, fishing and swimming might all be submitted for the same trip.
SUU will host various activities on campus to help promote the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge. A campus clean-up event will be held Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Three Peaks Recreational Area. Climbing and bouldering clinics and events as well as outdoor yoga, stargazing and outdoor lectures will begin on Sept. 18 to 19. More information can be found at suu.edu/events.