Pi Kapps to bike across country

Eight Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members, among others around the country, will be biking an average of 75 miles a day this summer for those who might not be able to.They are raising funds and training to participate in a cross-country biking trip, about 4,200 miles long, designed to allow participants to interact with the disabled and those who have a passion about helping them.

Journey of Hope is one of the many events put on by Push America, a nonprofit organization for the disabled headed by Pi Kapp.

Senior advertising/public relations major Chad Snyder said this summer will be his second time to participate in Journey of Hope.

“It’s probably the best thing I’ve done my college career,” Snyder said. “I couldn’t get enough the first time.”

Trey Flowers, a senior religion and political science major, said Pi Kapp stands out because of its service-rich tradition and commitment to the disabled.

Flowers said he has an aunt who is deaf and his mother taught special education at a school for the deaf.

Snyder said the experience is unique because the participants have the chance to see where the money they have raised goes.

At the end of each day of biking, the participants have the opportunity to serve, give and interact with those with common goals of helping the disabled and the disabled themselves.

Besides the annual Journey of Hope event, Pi Kapp members serve the disabled community through service such as volunteering at KinderFrogs, building wheelchair ramps and hosting empathy dinners, where guests are given the chance to step into the shoes of disabled people.

Alex Alessandro, a junior finance and entrepreneurial management major who is on the biking team, said his experience with the disabled who overcome obstacles daily has been humbling.

He said he expects his biggest challenge during the two months to be the monotony of biking.

Each team member has to raise at least $5,000 in order to participate; the fundraiser is mostly conducted through letters to family and friends. Several participants this year from the university chapter have set their goals higher than the required minimum.

The eight men hope to raise $50,000 cumulatively, members said.

The three Journey of Hope routes are 64 and 67 days long; two of them begin in San Francisco and the third in Florence, Ore. All three routes end in Washington, D.C.

Flowers said the group going this year will be the largest ever to go from the TCU chapter of Pi Kap. Last summer, two people participated, he said.