The University of St. Francis (USF) competed in the 5th annual AORE Campus Challenge and won "Most Outdoorsy D2 School Champion" and "Outdoors Anywhere Champion." Along with USF's win as a school, Caeley Grady, a senior Outdoor Recreation major, competed individually against other students around the country and won "Most Outdoorsy Champion" and "Outdoors Anywhere Champion." Since September 16, students, faculty, and staff have been participating in activities such as hiking, kayaking, backpacking, bicycling and bird watching. The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) is nonprofit organization that reconnects individuals with the outdoors. This year’s AORE Campus Challenge is sponsored nationally by Osprey and locally by DNA Active Lifestyle Outfitters, Paint Pursuit Games, Expedition USA Outfitters and IPRA. The challenge got students from more than 90 universities to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. All students and faculty had to do is download the Campus Challenge app, join their school’s team and log all their outdoor activity to gain points. The school with the most points win the Campus Challenge National Title and free outdoor gear. Besides the National Championship Title, there are more than 30 other individual and regional awards to be received. The winners from the individual challenges will get outdoor gear compliments of AORE and Osprey.
The USF team is led by Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Sport Management, Jerome Gabriel. The students were motivated to win the National Outdoor Championship. Grady says, “I love the challenge because it encourages myself and others to become more active in the outdoors. The challenge enriches life here at USF because it allows students to meet and interact with people they might have never met before.” In 2017, USF finished the challenge as the #1 school in the Midwest and #2 in the nation. Before the announcement of USF's first place win this year, Gabriel said, “This challenge gives USF an opportunity to engage with the outdoors across the spectrum. Students, faculty, staff and administrators are all involved in the success that we are seeing. It is not a coincidence that we are currently ranked first nationally. We have an amazing campus that in excited about seeing how we can compete against the bigger school.”
The challenge concluded October 13 and winners were announced on October 16.
For more information about the AORE Campus Challenge, visit www.aorecampuschallenge.org and www.AORE.org. Congrats, Caeley and Saints, on another year of many outdoor activities!