USF Leading Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

September 29, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

Three USF students take time between classes to try out slacklining on the campus quad.

Hiking. Kayaking. Backpacking. Bicycling. Even bird-watching. These are just a few of the activities students, faculty and staff, and alumni at the University of St. Francis (USF) in Joliet will be participating in from September 18 through October 15, as they compete to win the 4th annual Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge.

Hosted by the Outdoor Foundation, a nonprofit committed to reconnecting millennials with the outdoors, and sponsored by REI, The North Face, Hydro Flask, and ENO, the Campus Challenge aims to get students from more than 90 universities off the couch and into the wilderness. To participate, students simply download the Campus Challenge app, join their university’s team, and log their outdoor activities during the Challenge to score points. Prizes for winners include national titles, free outdoor gear, and most importantly, bragging rights.

This is the first year USF has entered the competition and they are taking it by storm. USF is currently in first place in all three categories: national, regional and individual. The USF team is led by Recreation and Sport Management professor and Recreation Club Moderator Jerome Gabriel.

“This challenge gives USF an opportunity to engage with the outdoors across the spectrum. Students, employees and alumni are all involved in the success that we are seeing,” says Gabriel, who is also the faculty moderator of the Recreation Club. “It is not a coincidence that we are currently ranked first nationally.  We have an amazing campus that is excited about seeing how we can compete against the bigger schools,” he said.

As an added incentive for participation, USF secured sponsorships from Zip Chicago,, Yak Shack LLC and Kayak Chicago, who donated zipline tours, kayak trips and classes to participants.

About the Outdoor Foundation & Outdoor Nation

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action-oriented outreach and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that aims to empower young leaders to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States.

To learn more about the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, visit and

About Recreation and Sport Management at USF

Established in 1974, the Recreation and Sport Management department at USF has prepared students to enter the leisure services profession for nearly 40 years. The program was one of the first in the nation to become accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions, and has been continuously accredited since 1983. Recreation and leisure are essential for strong communities and satisfying lifestyles. USF’s Recreation and Sport Management program prepares students for rewarding careers in a variety of settings. Its dedicated faculty trains students for professional leadership roles through innovative instruction, experiential learning and a personalized advising process. For more information please visit

 The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,900 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.