RU Outdoors Competes to Win “Most Outdoorsy School”


By Taylor Poff |

Looking to avoid the freshman fifteen? Getting outside and being active can help with just that.

RU Outdoors is joining the nationwide Outdoor Campus Challenge along with 98 other rival schools in the country.

The challenge begins Monday, Sept. 16 and continues until Sunday, Oct. 13. 

The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) defines the challenge as a March-Madness-meets-Mother Nature competition, in which Radford University and all other opposing schools go head to head to see which University can get the most people outside and active.

Rachel Hooker, office assistant of RU Outdoors, describes the event as “A way to try and motivate students to spend time outside because the majority of students spend most of their time inside, working on assignments for class, or tasks for their job and don’t get a chance to take advantage of the outdoors.” 

Hooker said she gets irritable sitting at a computer all day and only going straight between class and work. She believes simply being outside and getting some sun has helped her mental health.

Sneak peek of available prizes students could win.

To participate in the challenge, students must download the AORE CC app on either iPhone or Android and join the Radford University team. The challenge allows anyone that is a U.S. resident to enter the competition, as long as they register and choose a school to support.

Once students or any others interested have gotten the app and registered, they can now begin getting outside and logging their hours.

At the end of the challenge, the school with the most people outside wins and gets the title of “Most Outdoorsy School.” The winner also receives some cool prizes.

These prizes are awarded through competing in weekly challenges as well as taking the title of “Most Outdoorsy School.” The prizes include trendy gear such as backpacks, hammocks, tents and more. There are also some more traditional prizes like T-shirts and water bottles.

According to AORE’s “AORE Campus Challenge FAQ” page, “Outdoor activities are considered nature-based activities where an individual intentionally engages in the outdoors, with the outdoor element being the focus of the activity.” 

They could be simple activities like bird watching or watching other animals, going for a walk, or even yoga, really just anything outdoors.

Students can log up to five outdoor activities each day, which can range from biking to fishing to even putting up a hammock. 

“They don’t have to be athletic activities,” Hooker said. “They could be simple activities like bird watching or watching other animals, going for a walk, or even yoga, really just anything outdoors as long as they last for thirty minutes.”

AORE designed a point system to motivate students to try more strenuous activities. For instance, climbing or mountain biking awards more points than gardening or stargazing, but each activity still accumulates points.

Radford University has competed in the Outdoor Challenge in previous years and once placed fourth while it would be even better to top that this year, the primary goal is to get students outside, not just for their health and wellness but also to promote the care and wellbeing of the environment.

If you have any questions about the Outdoor Campus Challenge, contact RU Outdoors. Their office hours are Monday-Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-3pm. AORE’s official website has additional information, as well.

For more information on RU Outdoors, follow your Tartan Newspaper.

Photo Credit: (Taylor Poff | The Tartan)

Featured Image: (Rachel Hooker, office assistant of RU Outdoors.)

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