Something special has been cooking up at University of North Alabama. They recently held their third annual Camping on Campus event. McKenzie Martin, Coordinator of Outdoor Adventure & Special Events at UNA, served up the idea as a way to welcome new students and connect them with upper-classman that are also interested in the outdoor industry. This is the third year ENO has been involved with Camping on Campus, and every year it gets bigger and better!
Camping on Campus is packed full with contests and activities in addition to lots of downtimes–or hammock time. Students enjoyed slacklining, disc golf shoot-out, tight fit, marshmallow toss-catch, and outdoor gear relay, followed by a campfire and smores.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a party unless there was some ENO swag in the mix! We sent UNA a goody box filled with Earth Bags, Twilights, DoubleNest Hammock and Atlas Straps, B.Y.O.’s, ENO Liberty Bottles, ENO-Rasta T-shirt, and stickers.
Alabama Outdoors, Chaco, Sam’s Sports Grill, and Rivertown Coffee also joined in on the fun. Together we are proud to be behind such a cool event that connect students with their university, their peers, and the outdoor industry.
We sat down with McKenzie Martin to learn a little more about the conception of Camping on Campus, how the students reacted and what the plans are for the future.
Q: What inspired you to initiate the Camping on Campus event?
“Three years ago, when I was hired as the coordinator of Outdoor Adventures at the University of North Alabama, I brainstormed a few ideas of how to showcase the awesome FREE resources the Outdoor Program offers to the UNA community. I realized the more the program’s equipment and activities were seen on campus, the more it intrigues students to ask questions and get more involved. So me and my 3 staff just brought all our camping equipment to the center of campus and camped during a school night. We had a lot of students, walking to and from campus buildings, stop by and ask what we were doing. It was the perfect opportunity to explain the FREE programs and services offered. That first year was small, but it has continued to evolve each year!”
Q: How did Alabama Outdoors get involved?
“Alabama Outdoor serves a very similar population and instead of competing with each other, we help each other out! Students that check out our camping equipment can be seen as a ‘trail run’ and if they like it we send them to Alabama Outdoors to buy it. After the first year of Camping on Campus, my staff and I realized this is a huge opportunity to capitalize on the attention Camping on Campus gets so we invited Alabama Outdoors to join in on the fun.”
Q: What were the student’s reactions to the event?
“The Students love this event! There are lots of friendly competitions with awesome prizes throughout the night, free pizza for dinner, and delicious coffee the morning after to start the school day off right- what more could a student ask for?!”
Q: Please tell us a little bit about that wonderfully colorful hammock stand you all put together!
“Well unfortunately throughout the years, a couple of trees on campus have died and been cut down; they just so happen to be the trees we set up our Camping on Campus hammock nest on – This was not the cause of the trees dying (we checked). So my student workers took home some scrap wood the UNA Recreational Sports & Fitness program no longer needed, trial ran several hammock stand ideas until they came up with the system we used. They wanted to show school spirit so they painted them our school colors, purple and gold. The hammock pod was such an eye-catcher. We hung the ENONATION banner above it with pride!”
Q: What are your goals for the next Camping on Campus??
“Our goals for the 4th Annual Camping on Campus are to have more participants, more activities, and more business partners attend the event. I’d love to see Camping on Campus become more of a festival scene and have the ENO Lotus Lounge!”
The ENO Lotus Lounge is no longer available, but you can view ENO’s other chair options here.
“Do you think your school could be the next Camping on Campus location?!”
Well, why not right? With a little bit of teamwork and communication, together we could bring these sorts of experiences to more campuses across the country. Interested?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why you think your school, outdoor department, friends, and local retailers are the right combination to make it happen! We look forward to hearing from you.