Wilkes students challenged to go outdoors and be active


Jesse Chalnick

Participants begin stretching during the outdoor yoga session.

Are you a student who is looking for a way to get outside, exercise and gain new experiences?

Are you a student who does not quite have the time to join a full time sports team?  Maybe the intramural sports league is not for you?

Wilkes University’s Adventure Education may have all of the answers and experiences you are looking for, right here on Wilkes’ campus.

There has been an increase of time spent on the campus greenway, finding new hiking trails and weekend camping trips. Wilkes University’s Adventure Education Program has recently joined 87 other universities nationwide in participating in the Outdoor Challenge.

The Outdoor Challenge is a by-product of the Outdoor Foundation. The Outdoor Foundation is a non-profit that aims to grow and establish outdoor events and activities in America that center their focus on youth.

In recent years, Outdoor Foundation created a program called The Outdoor Nation in order to build interest in outdoor initiatives and implement it into various youth programs. This program has been adapted on various college campuses and gained a large following from the students, and has created a community of ‘Outsiders’.

Wilkes Adventure Education first became involved when they received a grant a few years ago from Outdoor Nation to complete programming. The grant was used to create programming in state and national parks and incorporate local youth. After receiving the grant, Wilkes University was invited to participate in the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge.

The way the Outdoor Nation Challenge works is through photo documenting and logging all of the time spent outside and indicating the activities that were done during that time. Each individual activity is ranked at different point values; the more points towards an activity will contribute to the overall points of the university. There are endless opportunities of various types of ways to be involved and what activities will contribute.

This is the second year Wilkes is participating in the Outdoor Challenge. This year the challenge started on Sept. 4, and will end Oct. 15.

Currently Wilkes has about 519 participants including students, staff, faculty and community members helping the university reach its goal. It is competing with some of the largest universities from across the country.

Some of the events that are in place to encourage participation are Monday night rock climbing at the Wilkes-Barre Rock gym 5-10 p.m.; on Wednesday’s there is greenway yoga held behind Chase Hall from noon-12:45 p.m.; Thursday’s there are group bike rides from the SUB; and Sunday’s there are hikes to different trails in the area.

In addition to the usual activities, Wilkes Adventure Education also has special events that are being held throughout the challenge and the semester.

One of the active students in Wilkes Adventure Education, as well as the Campus Outdoor Challenge, is Michael Sabon. Sabon is a senior, environmental engineer, who began participating in the Wilkes Adventure Education events through their events with programming board.

Sabon now leads the group bike rides held each Thursday, as well as participates in all of the on-campus activities. Sadon has become a huge asset to the challenge, and the challenge has become a lot to him.

“Being a part of the challenge means a few things to me.  Mostly it’s just a way to express myself,” he explained. “I already have a bit of a manic personality but it definitely helped me do some things I don’t normally get to try, like hiking cause I don’t always have the time in my schedule to do it. But the challenge taps into my competitive nature so I make sure to do more fun things.”

In order to gain points towards the Outdoor Challenge you have to snap a picture of it and post it to the app.

“Going to watch a football game or other sporting events can count for five points under the category outdoor events/trainings/clinics,” said Jill Price, Adventure Education Coordinator. “Teams and groups can log running each day, and everyone can do 30 minutes of stargazing from wherever they can see the sky.”

There is still plenty of time and opportunities to join in on the Outdoor Challenge. Even if you are not interested in logging in points, all of the activities are open to all students. If you are looking to contribute to the challenge and put Wilkes on the map, you can download the Outdoor Nation app, or sign up at www.oncampuschallenge.org.

For more information: Contact Adventure Education Coordinator, Jill Price

[email protected]