Stewart Lowery ’12 to build houses with Bike and Build
March 1, 2012 By Elizabeth Trollinger
Build organization, trekking across the country on a bicycle and
making stops to participate in homebuilding projects.
For some students, summer is often a time of carefree relaxation. For Centre students, summer is more usually a time to take on new projects and learning experiences — and this summer, Stewart Lowery ’12 plans to simultaneously bike across the United States while participating in homebuilding with the Bike and Build Organization.
A non-profit organization, Bike and Build allows young adults to bike across the country to raise money for affordable housing organizations — but rather than simply turning the funds over, the bikers themselves plan and execute the homebuilding projects along their journey.
“Bike and Build is an organization geared towards working with, fundraising and raising awareness for the affordable housing cause,” Lowery says. “As such, my group will commit 17 days of the trip to building with various affordable housing groups throughout the country.”
Lowery became interested in the program after a friend completed a Bike and Build trip.
“One of my childhood friends from back home participated in Bike and Build this past summer. I came across some of his photos on Facebook and was immediately intrigued,” Lowery says. “After speaking with him and receiving some basic information, I did a little more research on the webpage. I knew it was something I would love to participate in and felt confident enough to apply as trip leader. Following a few rounds of phone interviews, I was offered a position on the SC2SC route.”
Lowery, who will serve as a trip leader, will begin his trip in Charleston, S.C., and plans to ride across the country to Santa Cruz, Calif. To view his route, click here.
“As a trip leader, I am responsible for pre-trip preparations that are required of all riders, as well as organizing parts of the trip,” he says. “Pre-trip requirements include a variety of things: reaching a fundraising goal of $4,500, riding a minimum of 500 miles on the road with at least one ride being 65 miles or more, volunteering a minimum of 10 hours with an affordable housing group and obtaining and packing the appropriate gear to travel with this summer.”
But Lowery’s responsibilities don’t end there.
“Duties for organizing the trip are split amongst the four trip leaders on each route. It is our job to secure host accommodations, plan orientation and the end-trip celebration, confirm build days, maintain contact with riders and program directors and complete other small tasks before, during, and after the trip,” he says. “As a trip leader, I have responsibilities for nearly an entire calendar year, so some things won't be completed until fall of 2012.”
Despite having much to do before he can begin his Bike and Build journey, Lowery is enthusiastic about the road ahead.
“Working for such a great cause with a group of individuals that chose to sacrifice a week of their time made it a very positive, transformative endeavor,” Lowery says. “I am excited to be working toward the same cause this summer and believe the group of people I work with will be amazing companions for the trip.”
The Centre community has already been helping Lowery prepare for his Bike and Build trip — but there are ways for everyone to contribute to his project.
“Patrick Noltemeyer has been a great help by spreading my trip information and helping with networking. Fundraising has gone very well for me so far, but the affordable housing cause deserves every penny it can get,” Lowery says. “Donations would be a great way to support what I'm doing this summer, and can be made online or through mail.”
It isn’t too late to actually go with Lowery on his journey either.
“Riding with others is always a plus,” he says. “If anyone is interested in riding together, don't hesitate to contact me!”
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Centre College, founded in 1819 and chosen to host its second Vice Presidential Debate in 2012, is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. Centre is also ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News for its study abroad program. For more, click here.