USF Captures ON Campus Challenge Championships

October 23, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

USF students Julie Jandeska, Caeley Grady and USF professor Dr. Jerome Gabriel celebrate their victories in the 2017 Outdoor Nation Challenge.

After much hiking, biking, ascending and kayaking, the University of St. Francis (USF) placed first in regional and individual competitions and second in the national division for the 2017 Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge.

On the individual level, Assistant Professor and Recreation Club Advisor Dr. Jerome Gabriel won Faculty National Outsider of the Year, and Recreation and Sport Management (RSM) student Caeley Grady won National Outsider of the Year for Division 2. RSM student Julie Jandeska finished third on the individual competition as well.

“This competition was a great opportunity to showcase the University of St. Francis to the country and really show off the many opportunities our students have to learn and work in the outdoors,” said Gabriel. “With a brand new Outdoor Recreation concentration available at USF, we are able to show that USF is the place to study if you truly want an education that not only teaches you about the outdoors but helps your experience it.”

This is the first year USF has entered the 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. Participants joined their teams through the Challenge’s app and logged their outdoor activities.

Several recreation companies sponsored the USF team by providing classes and gear as an added incentive for participation. The Yak Shack (, Kayak Chicago (, Zip Chicago ( and Venture Gear LLC ( all sponsored USF in the Outdoor Challenge.

Gabriel and his team are already strategizing for next year’s competition. “This year was a great learning experience for all of us,” he said. “We were able to develop a lot of great partnerships across the campus, community, and region to help support our efforts. We are looking forward to strengthening those ties in order to secure the national championship next year.”

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.