Presented in partnership with the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, The Wright Collegiate Challenge is a semester-long program helping to prepare Colorado higher-ed students to enter the workforce by providing first-hand experience working alongside small businesses and nonprofit organizations to develop actionable solutions to current-day challenges within the outdoor recreation industry sector.
Over the course of 10-weeks, student teams representing Colorado Mesa University’s Outdoor Industry Studies Program, Colorado Mountain College Leadville Campus, and Western Colorado University’s Outdoor Industry MBA Program have immersed themselves in solving a real-time issue facing their respective Challenge Partner. On Monday, April 25th, the 2022 Wright Collegiate Challenge will culminate with a final live event at which teams will present their understanding of the challenge at hand and pitch their solution. At the conclusion of the program, a panel of judges, each a leader in Colorado’s outdoor industry, will present awards for Best in Class, People’s Choice, and Most Engaged Team. Projects are evaluated based on criteria such as a clear understanding of the problem, actionable solutions, innovative approach, potential impact, and overall team engagement in the project.
“A program like The Wright Collegiate Challenge plays a crucial role in preparing the next generation of workforce for careers in the outdoor industry by providing the type of hands-on experience that students are asking for and employers are requiring,” says Samantha Albert, Deputy Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “Additionally, important networks are established linking students, employers, educators, and community partners, which takes on a particular level of significance when talking about rural Colorado communities like the ones represented here.”
Students participating in The Wright Collegiate Challenge receive a Certificate of Completion issued jointly by The Wright and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, a division within the greater Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Certificate recipients will have demonstrated growth and understanding in eight core competency areas identified by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE). They include Career & Self Development, Communication, Critical Thinking, Equity & Inclusion, Leadership, Professionalism, Teamwork, Technology.
In selecting this year’s projects and Challenge Partners, The Wright, along with the Colorado OREC Office and its participating Academic Partners, put out a call for proposals in Fall 2021, inviting business and nonprofit employers to submit a challenge for consideration. Ultimately, the following organizations and their respective challenges were selected: