New virtual challenge rewards students’ COVID-19 knowledge

First published in Around the O on March 29, 2021.

After a year of learning and living with rules and requirements for COVID-19 safety, UO students have the chance to test their knowledge and earn prizes.

It’s all part of the Crush COVID-19 Challenge, a new online activity created by UO staff and students just for Ducks. The Crush COVID-19 Challenge launched March 29, with weekly challenges running through the end of spring term.

“Our Ducks have achieved the impossible this year on so many levels, following COVID-19 safety practices that frequently and quickly shifted,” said Kris Winter, associate vice president for student life and dean of students. “This challenge aims to engage students in recommitting to COVID-19 safety and reward our amazing students for choosing each other above all.”

To participate, students register at the crushcovid site, provide contact information, create a unique user name, and log on to complete challenges and invite other Ducks to join in.

Challenges range from multiple-choice quizzes to photo and video uploads, with a new set added each week. They spotlight COVID-19 information and safe practices in an engaging way while informing and reminding participants about prevention steps and the resources available to students.

Students earn prizes by completing the weekly challenges and by inviting other Ducks to play, tracking results on the game’s leaderboards.

The challenge also offers weekly random prize drawings, which include gift cards from GrubHub, Instacart and the DuckStore, along with headphones, iPads, Oculus Quests and MacBook Pros. A “Supercharged” category yields some exclusive experiences: dinner with UO President Michael Schill (when it is safe to do so), tours of Matt Knight Arena or Autzen Stadium, or a guided visit to the top of the new Hayward Tower.

The challenge was created by the Division of Student Life, the Location Innovation Lab of the Campus GIS and Mapping Program and the incident management team. Student focus groups and student employees helped design the challenge and contributed feedback.

With Lane County in the low risk category entering the term, vaccines for all students coming in May, and the promise of a fall return to in-person classes, Winter said the challenge offers a way for students to reflect on what they’ve experienced and feel upbeat about getting through turbulent times.

“All year, students have responded to the changes caused by the pandemic,” she said. “As our current status shows, they’ve been crushing COVID in real life. Now they have a chance to crush it in the challenge, and in the process earn some well-deserved rewards.”