May 112008
 
Authors: Cece Wildeman

Between the seven of them, they will pedal almost as many miles as the Earth’s circumference.

This summer, seven members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity will embark on a journey to aid children with disabilities and teach other kids how to interact with disabled peers.

The journey is part of Push America, the fraternity’s national philanthropy. Two of the members will bike from Miami, Fla. to Tallahassee, Fla. in 14 days. The other five will bike from San Francisco, Calif. to Washington D.C. on alternate routes.

“We pride ourselves on our philanthropy,” said James Fredrick, president of the fraternity. “We are always really involved with Push America and we just want to continue this service.”

Many of the members said, initially, their parents were unhappy with the prospect of them spending money over the summer instead of making money. However, all seven of the guys said they agree that this is an investment for their future.

Both members going to Florida were required to raise $2,250 for the philanthropy while the guys pedaling cross-country were required to raise $5,000 each. Individually, the guys spent about $2,500-3,000 on bikes, gear and plane tickets.

In addition to having an accomplishment that will look good on a resume, members of the fraternity said they’re providing a good service, and the bikes and gear they bought will be used in the future.

“Is it worth it? Absolutely,” said Bobby Barczyk, one of the cyclists taking part. The guys said training and preparing for their trips has been difficult, but that they have found a huge amount of support among each other as well as in the community.

“We would never be able to do this without community support,” said Matthew Sartin, another cyclist and member of the fraternity.

Sartin said the biggest challenge for him has been fundraising. He said he has developed as a person through learning how to give a heartfelt “thank you” to people who donate to the fraternity’s cause. He said the group has been focusing on their abilities, teaching themselves to bike and overcome the mental road blocks that can come with pedaling close to 100 miles per day.

“It’s amazing what you can do when you focus on someone’s abilities instead of their disabilities,” he said.

Although only seven members of the CSU chapter of Pi Kappa Phi will ride solo across the country, they are far from alone. There are 75 Pi Kappa Phi members across the United States that will bike from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and 37 that will bike from Miami to Tallahassee. Each group will have a van traveling with them to help them map their route perfectly and keep them safe on the road. The teams will stay in gyms and various homes as they trek across the country.

Entertainment Editor Cece Wildeman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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