They were ready to ride their bikes 5,000 miles. The challenge was figuring out exactly why.
"We had been planning the bike ride for a while, and we knew we wanted to do it for a good cause," Ari Stiller-Shulman says of he and his friend, Robin Dunn. "But we didn't know what good cause we wanted to do it for."
Last fall, as Colorado College seniors, they decided to dedicate their 5,000-mile ride and a number of other fundraising efforts through their final year at CC to raising awareness about socioeconomic inequity among college students. In creating the AppreCCiate Scholarship, they also have raised money to do something about it.
"[Dunn] and I were both on financial aid ourselves, and we wanted to give the gift of a CC education to someone else," Stiller-Shulman says.
On Thursday, Aug. 17, the two grads will embark on a three-month ride across the country, starting in Oregon and ending in Virginia. Some donors will join them for legs of their journey.
Over the course of the last year, AppreCCiate has inspired 52 percent of CC students to donate a total of $6,200. The college itself, impressed by the students' generosity, has contributed more than double that amount.
Stiller-Shulman says he and Dunn expect to raise a total of $15,000 more including $5,000 from a single dollar-per-mile donation through the bike ride.
"A big part of this whole thing is to educate people about why need-based financial aid is important," says Stiller-Shulman. "We need to make it a priority; there needs to be more economic diversity on this campus."
The two will be blogging and posting photos during their trip. Visit coloradocollege.edu/students/AppreCCiate.
photo courtesy of Robin Dunn