Oct 16, 2016
The Humboldt State University community has been named the “outdoorsiest” in the nation after winning a contest to encourage people to get outside and reconnect with nature.
The Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge asked students, faculty, staff and community members to get outside and log their activities on a mobile app. The idea was to make fresh air inclusive, to help the community understand that there’s an outdoors for everyone. Hiking, biking, kayaking, quick walks, stargazing, and even hammocking earned participants points, as well as the schools they chose to represent. HSU established an early lead and never looked back.
“It’s a really impressive win, and I was honored to stand behind Humboldt State in their social justice approach to this competition,” says Ruby Jean Garcia, HSU’s Outdoor Nation student coordinator. “The most important part of this Challenge was using it as an opportunity to empower students, and foster their connection to nature.”
Humboldt State enjoys a special relationship with nature, being nestled among the redwood trees on a rugged part of the Northern California coast.
“At Humboldt State, we’re lucky to live and learn in such a beautiful natural environment,” says HSU President Lisa A. Rossbacher. “That puts us in a unique position to inspire the future stewards of our planet. I’m extremely proud of the HSU community for winning this competition and, most importantly, making a statement about how important it is to experience nature.”
Center Activities Manager Bridget Hand agrees. “This competition means so much more than winning,” Hand says. “It is about students connecting with each other to get outside and take advantage of the amazing places in Humboldt. The outdoors is one of the best resources Humboldt has for health and fitness, for self care, research and education, for connecting with new friends, and for having fun. It is what makes HSU unique and this competition is a celebration of that.
“Most importantly, the outdoors is available to everyone and we wanted to share all the opportunities that we have to offer to all the students and potential students. During this competition, we wanted to emphasize to people that being ‘outdoorsy’ doesn’t mean that you have to be doing extreme sports all the time. It is as simple as walking outside in the neighborhood and enjoying the wind, the birds, the plants around you. The outdoors offers its benefits to all equally.
“Our success in this competition shows how eager the students and the community are to share with each other the beauty and opportunities that Humboldt has to offer. Additionally, I believe winning this competition is a way that we can prove to the nation what all of here in Humboldt already know- Humboldt is one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors! It is a great school in an epically beautiful area and more people should know about it.”
HSU had several high-scoring participants, including HSU student Jordan Johnson. He earned more than 2,000 points doing up to five outdoor activities a day, making him among the highest individual point earners in the country. He’s also in the running for “Outsider of the Year,” which Outdoor Nation will announce soon.
“During my time competing in the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge I was having a blast spending quality time in Humboldt’s amazing environment and it fired me up! In other words it was too lit to quit!” said Johnson.
Humboldt State was one of 87 colleges and universities across the United States participating in the 2016 Challenge, which began Sept. 4 and ended Saturday, Oct. 15.
As a prize for being a “National Outdoor Champion,” HSU will receive a gear bank worth $3,000 from North Face.