Gowalla, the location-based social networking service headquartered in Austin, sponsored the contest to encourage school spirit during the college football season. Participating universities earned points as students checked-in around campus via Gowalla. Each check-in netted the university one point, with five unique campus checkpoints qualifying for extra points. The five extra points locations on the UH campus included Robertson Stadium, University Center, Cougar Baseball Field and the "What is the Nature of This?" statue.
UH entered the competition ranked 29th, but continued to move ahead until securing first place with more than 6,000 points. The University of Texas at Austin was the only other school to exceed 5,000 points and placed second in the final tally. Baylor University, the University of South Carolina and Texas A&M University rounded out the top five.
"Our social media presence grew tremendously in 2010, and we're excited to build on that success in 2011," said Jessica Brand, social media coordinator. "Winning the Gowalla Check-in Challenge is not only a great way to kick off the year, but helps strengthen the bond between students and the campus community."