National Outdoor Nation campus challenge at UND

Connor Johnson, Staff Writer

University of North Dakota competes to get students outdoors and stay active

Physical wellness is one of the key supports to success at the University of North Dakota, and a current nationwide competition may help encourage more students to get active.

On Sept. 4, the current National Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, or ON Campus Challenge, began with almost 90 colleges across the United States participating. The 6-week program- now in its 4th- encourages participants to go out and do some form of physical activity, and record it for a certain amount of points, which are massed with the rest of the participants at a college. On Oct. 15, the campus with the largest amount of points wins.

While the college that comes in first receives a grand prize, participants can enjoy weekly prizes as well. Other awards are given for the most “outdoorsy” individual of a certain school, and an overall “Outsider of the Year” out of the entire nation. Last year’s winner was Southern Utah University, and currently Humboldt State University is in the lead with 51,166 points- UND has about 2,700.

But it’s not about the winning, according to Patrick Marcoe.

“If we’re getting people outdoors more, I feel that’s a win for everybody,” he said.

Marcoe, Assistant Director of Wellness Programs, has recorded 114 UND students participating in the challenge. However, the competition is not only open to students, but also faculty members and all residents of Grand Forks and the surrounding area. And while the challenge is now at its two-thirds mark, anyone interested can join up at anytime.

To earn points, participants record physical outdoor activities that are a minimum of 30 minutes long (team sports don’t qualify). Other than that, there are few rules, just be outside and be active, whether you climb the rock wall in the Wellness Center or wander downtown searching for a virtual creature, log the time and earn points, as well as a weekly prize for participation.

Marcoe also thanks the competition for allowing the Wellness Center to host community weekly activities, from canoeing on the English Coulee to this Friday’s family night.

“Participating in the outdoor challenge was a great way to get involved,” said Marcoe, “and the prizes provide incentive for outdoor activities.”

For more information regarding the ON Campus Challenge, visit the organization’s website, and register with UND. 

On a final note, the challenge may let students at UND discover more about the Grand Forks area. As Marcoe says, there’s plenty to do, “you just have to look for it.”

Connor Johnson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]