Dare to Adventure: Outdoor Nation Challenge encourages students to get outside

Elise Covert, Sports Co-Editor

Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) is heading the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, a national competition that universities across the country compete in each year. Beginning on Sept. 18 and running until Oct. 15, students are encouraged to log their time spent engaging in outdoor activities.

The Challenge is run by the Outdoor Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on educating younger generations of Americans about the importance of the great outdoors. The Outdoor Foundation describes the Challenge as “a March-Madness-meets-Mother-Nature competition.”

The University is one of 94 schools registered to compete. Current students, alumni, faculty, staff, and University family members are able to record hours for the Bison. The campus with the most points at the deadline wins free gear from top companies like REI, The North Face, ENO, Hydro Flask, and more.

It is the first year that OEL has sponsored campus participation in this event. At the time this article was published, the Bison were in fourth place on the Division 2 leaderboard, below University of St. Francis, Grand Canyon University, and Ferris State University.

“One of our goals is to get outdoor education at Bucknell more well known,” Kathleen McGivern ’19 said. McGivern serves as the student leader for Outdoor Nation and a liaison between the University and the national organization.

The Challenge has sparked a resurgence of outdoor activities hosted by OEL and the Outing Club to provide students with opportunities to earn points. Events include yoga, biking, paddling, and hiking trips. The Challenge kickoff was a Sept. 18 breakfast for dinner gathering on the Engineering Quad, complete with yard games and slacklining. OEL will sponsor a hammocking event in the Grove on Oct. 5, which also includes a smoothie bar. On Oct. 12, there will be a campus-wide Capture the Flag event, which McGivern expects to be popular.

This month, however, isn’t the only time that OEL supports University students who want to spend more time outdoors. OEL has the resources to help students participate in any of their favorite outdoor sports and recreational activities. Gear is available year-round for students to use at the Tustin Rental Center, including ENO hammocks, kayaks, tubes, and any camping necessities you can think of.

Students can get involved with the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge by downloading the OutdoorNation app on their smartphones, registering with the University, and logging hours for points.

“It’s really easy to walk to class and say that you’ve been outside. The idea is that with Outdoor Nation, you can’t log points unless you’re actively engaging with the outdoors,” McGivern said. She hopes that the competition will emphasize the importance of getting outside and excite students about participating in future OEL events.

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