University Loses at Outdoor Challenge

By Alicia Cherem

For Unwind magazine


Photo Courtesy of Outdoor Nation


Within the University of Maryland, there are 22.5 miles of sidewalk, a climbing wall, ropes course and several gyms scattered throughout the campus. That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this university participated in the Outdoor Nation Challenge a couple of weeks ago.

The Outdoor Nation Challenge was created to encourage fitness by joining communities and student bodies to take advantage of the outdoors and being active. This is the university’s first year competing for the title of “National Outdoor Championship,” alongside 56 national schools.

The challenge started Sept. 6 and lasted all the way through Oct. 17. The challenge works by encouraging students and faculty to perform an outdoor activity and log a picture of them performing the activity onto the Outdoor Nations website.

The amount of points is determined by the activity and quality of their pictures. Whichever school has logged the most points at the end of the challenge, wins a substantial grant and title as the “National Outdoor Champion.”

The university did not win, but with only 500 student participants, could there be any other outcome? Many students have never heard of the challenge and were surprised to know there was a challenge to begin with.

“I love the outdoors because Maryland has a lot of natural resources, but it’s a shame that people aren’t more aggressive about utilizing what we have,” Hannah Stein, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, said. “I didn’t know about it and I’m sure plenty of other people didn’t know either or else more people would have participated.”

Lucas Thompson, a freshman marketing major, blames the loss on the region.

“[The University of] Maryland is not very close to mountains and is a much more urban area compared to other schools,” Thompson said. “We would have been able to win more points if we lived in an area with more opportunities for outdoors activities.”

Ryan Hernandez, a weight fitness staff member at the Eppley Recreation Center, agreed that more should have been done to make the challenge known.

“I think the challenge is a good idea, I would have liked to participate in it because I like to do stuff outside, but if more people would have known about it maybe we could have won,” Hernandez said.

It seems that the concerns aren’t about motivation or participation, but rather the lack of campus knowledge.

“I actually love hiking, and I go hiking a lot at home, but if I would have found out about the challenge then I would have made an effort to go out and find a place to hike,” Thompson said.


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