More than 5,600 people have registered to compete in the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge just two weeks after The Outdoor Foundation kicked off the contest.
Ten universities are competing in the eight-week contest to see which can get the most people outside and active. Through contests, prizes and appeals to school pride, each university is urging students, faculty, staff and others in their community to document their outdoor adventures by posting photos or videos at oncampuschallenge.org. The school that activates the most people will be crowned National Champion and earn bragging rights as “the most outdoorsy school in America.” Individuals are vying to be named the “Most Outdoorsy Individual,” a title that will earn them gear, a campus-wide celebration, head-to-toe outfitting by presenting sponsor The North Face, an internship with the Outdoor Foundation and more.
The Outdoor Foundation is using an online platform called ContestCore to track, validate, reward and recognize participation. The more an individual posts and shares content, the more points they will earn for themselves and their university. The university and the individual with the highest scores when the contest ends Nov. 22 will be crowned champions.
The Outdoor Foundation’s three-person staff was struggling last week with how to score a large number of posts showing people outdoors, but not particularly active.
On Saturday, for instance, the three people tied atop of the leader board each had 76 posts and 750 points although the images posted by the two men depicted much more active lifestyles that included rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, slack lining, trail running and geocaching in one instance and kayaking, camping, kite flying, road and mountain biking and trail in the other. The majority of photos posted by the woman at the top of the leaderboard depicted her eating or reading outdoors, walking her dog, gardening or her outdoor photography.
As of Oct. 11, the College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University in Minnesota was crushing the competition with 1,703 participants and 60,990 points. Posts on the schools page depicted people collecting frogs, shooting a bow and arrow, throwing Frisbees, hiking, practicing yoga, cycling and raking leaves. But their page also included people eating, husking corn and lazing in a lounge chair by the swimming pool. One man posted a headshot with a caption explaining he was attending an outdoor wedding.
As photos showing people eating at outdoor restaurants began to proliferate, staff at The Outdoor Foundation and ContestCore decided they would have to individually screen each post to make sure it met contest criteria,” said Outdoor Foundation Executive Director Chris Fanning. But it soon became apparent that would not be possible.
“But with the volume of entries, we just cant keep up with it,” Fanning said.
Not only is that a good problem to have, but it could help surface opportunities for new types of outdoor products.
Regardless, the response has thus far exceeded expectations and set the bar high for the outdoor industry as it is called to participate in The Outdoor Foundation’s newest contest. Launched last week, the Get You(th) Outdoors Challenge invites those working in the industry to post and share essays of up to 300 words describing their best outdoor memories at getyouthoutdoors.org. Participants are automatically entered in weekly sweepstakes giveaways from top brands in the industry and the three who garner the most votes will win a $500 donation for an outdoor charity of their choice. On Saturday, the sixth day of the contest, there was just one entry at getyouthoutdoors.org. Voting begins Nov. 1