Sep 252011
 
Authors: Erin Udell

For the past decade, as fall rolls into Boulder, so do the men of Pi Kappa Phi for their annual “Regional Ride” –– a charity bike ride from Fort Collins to Boulder aimed at raising money and awareness for their philanthropy, Push America.

More than 80 people came out in support Saturday afternoon, with more than 50 biking the 55-mile stretch while others provided water and food for riders throughout the trek.

Founded in 1977 as a way to instill a commitment to service in its members, Push America’s focus is to help people with physical and mental disabilities.

“It (Push America) is the only philanthropy owned, operated and sustained by a fraternity,” said Pi Kappa Phi historian and construction management major Tyler Van Eeckhaut. “We just want to help those who can’t help themselves.”

Members of both the CU-Boulder and CSU chapters started the Regional Ride as an offshoot of Journey of Hope, a charity cycling trip that stretches from San Francisco to Washington DC and raises money for Push America.

Serving as a “mini” Journey of Hope, each rider in this weekend’s event paid a minimum $25 donation before heading from the Fort Collins chapter house to the one in Boulder.

More than 50 people signed up to take part in the ride, including members from both chapters, Pi Kappa Phi alumni and sorority members on campus.

“We had seven to 10 girls who made it the whole way on mountain bikes, which is really hard,” Van Eeckhaut said. “They killed it.”

According to Connor Petersen, the Regional Ride chair at CU-Boulder’s chapter, the event raised $4,000, with each chapter receiving $2,000 to donate to the philanthropy.

“Why we love our philanthropy so much is, not only are we raising money, but we’re also spending time with people,” said Dru Avery, a junior business major and president of Pi Kappa Phi’s CSU chapter.

In addition to the Regional Ride, many members of the fraternity are planning to head to Breckenridge in early October as part of another service project, building wheelchair ramps and other accessibility projects around town.

“This is something that a lot of people don’t think guys in fraternities are adamant about, but we really are,” Van Eeckhaut said, adding that while the Regional Ride is a main fundraiser, members also take part in weekly outings with children with disabilities.

“We have all of these events where we care so much about these kids, they become our friends,” he said.

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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