Student Showcase: UCCS Walktober hits new heights

Students walk on Tava Trail, which connects Alpine and Summit Villages. This October, walking, hiking and exploring nature earned students points and prizes through the Walking for PIPs Challenge.

Over the years, Walktober has been a celebrated tradition on campus and seen many iterations, all with the goal of encouraging the campus community to integrate healthy habits into daily routines.

When the second year of the PIPs Walktober Challenge, ended it saw a 56 percent participation increase from 2020. Collectively, 266 UCCS students walked over 25,000 miles, amounting to 56.6 million steps, and earned close to 140,000 PIPs.

The PIPs Walktober Challenge awarded participants that reached 8,000 and 12,000 steps daily throughout the week. In addition to these individual prizes, participants were eligible for four prizes to earn extra PIPs:

The winners include: 

  • Most steps in a day: Joseph Pick with 55,936 steps in a single day 
  • Participant who reached 8,000 steps 15 times during the month: Hannah Taff, who won a drawing for the most consistent average
  • Most steps overall: Emma Finchum with 461,657 steps overall 
  • Drawing for any student who reached 12,000 steps four times during the month: Marissa Benavidez 

We wanted to learn a little bit more about our Walktober winners, so asked them the following questions: 

Marissa Benavidez ’25 | Biology major with a Leadership minor

Where is your favorite place to walk on campus?

“My favorite place to walk is through the bluffs. It’s the trails behind campus and it’s very pretty during fall because you can see all the changing leaves throughout the city once you get to the top trails.”

Other than walking, what was your favorite way to get in steps?

“I mostly only walk! I do go to the Rec Center about once a week, but it isn’t much.”  

Other than exercise, what other benefits did you get from participating in Walktober? 

“I think walking and getting outside helps a lot with my mental health, because I can take a break from thinking about school and also get fresh air!”

Did the challenge of Walktober help you reach any self-set goals?

“I didn’t have any goals before Walktober but this event did motivate me a lot more to walk. For example, when I would go to The Fork or to my car in Alpine Garage, I would walk instead of taking the shuttle.”

Hannah Taff ’25 | Physics major

Where is your favorite place to walk on campus?   

“My favorite place to walk on campus is along my route to my evening classes, because it has a really nice view of the sunset and the mountains!”

Other than walking, what was your favorite way to get in steps?

I also like to play volleyball on the outdoor turf court in Alpine Village; it’s a nice way to end the day and a fun way to get in extra exercise. 

Other than exercise, what other benefits did you get from participating in Walktober?   

“Having a goal set for each day made me feel more motivated, not just to walk, but to accomplish my other tasks for the day.”

Did the challenge of Walktober help you reach any self-set goals?   

“I didn’t have any goals initially but after a week or so of participating in the challenge, I found myself wanting to be more consistently active and even looking forward to walking around campus.”

What can you do to keep the spirit of Walktober alive through the rest of 2021 and into 2022? Many people stress about maintaining their health routine over the holidays in the midst of large meals and festive desserts. This year, consider ways to add healthy habits into your routine over the holidays, such as drinking more water, getting rest, spending quality time with friends, setting healthy boundaries — and yes, walking! By setting daily or weekly step goals, you will be setting healthy habits that encourage you to move more and may help you find positive ways to manage stress, create connection and try new things. 

About the PIPs Program at UCCS

The PIPs program encourages students to take actions that focus on their entire person and support their overall wellness, including in areas such as academic excellence, mental health, social connectedness, community involvement and physical wellbeing. Learn more about PIPS on

About Walktober at UCCS

Walktober is an annual program for UCCS students by Campus Recreation & Wellness and the Office of Sustainability. For more information about PIPs and how to continue integrating healthy habits into your routine, check out