Nixon extends 100 Missouri Miles challenge


Terri-Lynn Frasher

Students who particiapted in the campus challenge were entered into a drawing to win a custom made bike. The bike has been on display in the Beimdiek Student Recreation Center throughout the semester.The winner of the drawing is Summer Barba, an undecided freshman.

The 100 Missouri Miles Campus Challenge has been extended for the month of October. Gov. Jay Nixon launched the program at the beginning of September under the umbrella of the 100 Missouri Miles program to get college campuses more physically active. It was set to end Sept. 30.

Southern’s director of recreational services Steven Benfield said he was not pleased when the governor’s office contacted him to vote on whether the challenge should be extended.

If the contest had ended as scheduled, Southern would have been the winner. With the extension, there’s a chance, although Benfield says it’s a slim one, that another school will win.

“I don’t think they had the turnout that they thought they would,” Benfield said. “I think they might have been a little over zealous with the goals for each university.”

Missouri Southern has been in the lead from the beginning of the challenge. Each participating college or university was placed in a tier according to school size, and each tier has a separate goal.

The winner of the challenge will be determined by the percentage of goal reached and will take home the 2014 Missouri Miles Cup.

The challenge leader board on shows four tiers, with Southern in tier three. Southern’s tier was given a goal of 35,000 miles, and so far, the University has reached 46 percent of its goal with 16,223 miles.

The next closest school is Central Methodist University with 29 percent of its goal of 15,000 miles.

Benfield said the wellness incentive program issued by the recreational services department for the challenge, which offered participants the chance to win drawings for prizes and a T-shirt just for logging 50 miles, encouraged Southern students be active from the start.

With the extension of the Campus Challenge, Benfield said they were faced with a dilemma: If they pushed the incentive program to the end of October, students might be upset as they expected their prizes at the end of September, but if they ended the incentive program in September as planned, students may be less driven to log miles.

“We decided we wanted to stay true to our word, congratulate our students on a good job, and tell them to keep going,” he said, “but the challenge was for the month of September, so we wanted to stick to that.”

The recreational services department gave away five $10 gift cards to the Southern bookstore; five $10 gift cards to The Run Around; two FitBits; one Garmin GPS watch; and a custom bike. The prizes were issued Friday, Oct. 3, to the winners. T-shirts for participants who logged at least 50 miles will be available Friday, Oct. 10.

Benfield said he hopes the Campus Challenge will be assessed and that changes will be made to enhance the participant experience.

“A mobile app would be awesome,” he said. “If we could just make it easier to log those miles, it would be much easier for schools to reach their goal.”

Benfield encouraged participants to keep up the good work and continue logging miles through the end of October to ensure Southern keeps its rightful place as Campus Challenge champion.