Outdoor odyssey: UB competes in nationwide outdoor challenge


Taking a hike, doing yoga or going for a bike ride will make UB students eligible to win some athletic gear.

Outdoor Pursuits and the Outdoor Adventure Club are urging students to participate in this year’s Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge. The Campus Challenge is a six-week event in which students join together on their college campuses to go outside to explore nature. UB is one of 90 schools entered into a six-week, nationwide outdoor challenge to be considered the “most outdoorsy school.”

Russell Crispell, the director of Outdoor Pursuits, wants to ensure that students are exploring the area and contributing to the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge.

“The goal and objective of this is to get people outdoors, that really is my mantra,” Crispell said. “Even just going for a bike ride or quick hike can help UB and the students get outside more often and can also help us win.”

The event began last week and ends Oct. 14, but students can join at any point during the event.

Students are encouraged to do various activities around campus, take a picture and then enter it into the website or application to receive points.

Points go toward both a personal and school total. At the end of the challenge, a student and a school will be named “most outdoorsy.”

The challenge is a way for students to get motivated to go outside and explore outdoors around the campus, but if that’s not enough incentive, there are also prizes offered.

Every week, Outdoor Nation will post an activity list for each day of the week. If students complete the activity and post a photo on social media on the Campus Challenge app or website with the requested hashtag, they will be eligible to win prizes.

Josh Catucci, a recent graduate with an exercise science degree, is taking classes and helping facilitate Outdoor Pursuits with the Campus Challenge.

“There are daily giveaways, along with weekly [giveaways],” Catucci said. “Outdoor Nations gave us gear to give away to UB students that do on-campus challenges.”

This week, The North Face is offering gear to those that can complete group activities, such as rock climbing, hiking and yoga.

This isn’t just a solo event for students to win prizes. Crispell also wants UB to be in the top 10 of the 90 schools competing in the event. UB currently sits at number 10, but the number could change based on student participation. Last year UB was at 24.

There are currently 235 UB participants in the contest.

Outdoor Pursuits is working directly with Student Life to find ways for students to expose themselves to outdoor activities on campus. Student Life helps facilitate canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding on Lake LaSalle, along with offering hikes, ice-skating and white water rafting.

Sammy Glenn, a senior geography major, also known as “Nightmare” on the trails, mentioned his favorite spots to go to for advanced and beginner hikers.

“The Niagara Gorge hike is very easy, but a little harder would be the eternal flame,” Glenn said. “Also stomping around Chestnut Ridge and Hunters Creek is fun, but I suggest the Adirondacks.”

He recently completed the Appalachian Trail and hiked through Colorado.

Crispell has taken students on trips to Alaska and mentioned how much the students bond and find direction after the trip.

“Catucci graduated and had no idea what he wanted to do and then he went on the trip and is now going to graduate school in the spring or fall for outdoor recreation,” Crispell said. “He got that from the learned and shared experiences he gained from his experience with Outdoor Pursuits.”

Outdoor Pursuits works in conjunction with the Outdoor Adventure Club to create events and activities to rack up as many points as possible so UB can be considered one of the top 10 most outdoorsy schools in America.

“Outdoor Pursuits helps students find the passion for the outdoors and then create opportunity from that passion,” Crispell said.

Evan Grisley is the features desk editor and can be reached at evan.grisley@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @evangrisley