Instead of a summer job or an internship, junior Cory Huber will be spending his summer break bicycling across the country.
Huber and 90 fellow fraternity members from Pi Kappa Phi will be embarking on a 3,900 mile voyage to raise awareness for people with disabilities. The annual event, called “Journey of Hope,” is hosted by the non-profit organization known as Push America, which was founded by the fraternity and held its first official journey in 1988.
The event consists of three different routes They are the TransAmerica route, starting in Seattle, a north route in San Francisco, which also goes through Toledo and a south route in Long Beach, Calif. Each route, consisting of 30-35 riders each, will finish the 64-day journey on Aug. 10 together in Washington D.C. Each member will find out which route they are taking in March.
Each member individually is required to raise $5,500 before the trip through fundraising, Huber said. To prepare for the trip, Huber is exercising through cardio workouts using the bike machines at the Student Recreation Center.
“The strength and energy is all on you,” Huber said. “We’ll do training to get everyone in shape and head out.”
Huber has been raising money by building wheel chair ramps at houses for people with disabilities and by hosting local events such as the “Cage Sit,” where people from his fraternity will sit in a cage demonstrating what it may be like to have a disability.
Andrew Matznick, director of team services for Push America, said the fraternity members are going to be cycling an average of 75 miles each day and are stopping to give presentations and interacting with people who have disabilities at different organizations in each town.
The members will be participating in activities such as playing wheel chair basketball, having cookouts and hosting dances, he said.
“We just want time to spend with local people,” Matznick said. “We want to give them a couple of hours of some genuine friendship with guys from across the country.”
Alex Dudek, president of Pi Kappa Phi at the University, is participating in the event as a crew member. These people ride in a vehicle filled with the cyclists’ luggage and make sure proper traffic procedures are in effect and that each cyclist is safe and fully supported, he said. Each crew member will prepare for each day and clean up everything in each town the members travel to.
“This is going to be a three month process of dedicating your life and your time to people,” Dudek said. “I’m most excited about the large part of volunteering.”
“Journey of Hope” is set for June with TransAmerica on June 5, the north route beginning on June 9 and the south route on June 15.
“The people you’re riding for just changes your life,” Huber said. “Riders and the crew get more out of it because of the people they’re riding for not because of seeing America. They’re changing lives and that’s really the point of it.”