Bike trek has lasting impact on Pi Kapp leaders

The cycling event kicked off on the shores of Miami last month, traveled through the Florida orange fields, reached the Gulf coast, passed through Orlando, wound back to the Atlantic coast and culminated at the State Capitol in Tallahassee. The team spread a message of acceptance and understanding to communities in Florida through newspapers, radio and television, civic groups and community leaders, reaching millions of people. Cyclists pedaled an average 80 miles each day, before participating in a ‘friendship visit’ with an organization that serves people with disabilities in each community. The Ability Experience, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity’s philanthropy, provides each of these non-profits with a grant before departing the next day.

The three NSU team members served as crew members, responsible for logistical needs ranging from bicycle maintenance, cyclist support and safety, media relations, to mapping the daily cycling route. Cockerham, a history and liberal arts major from Morgan City, raised $1,050 toward the team’s $70,000 collective fundraising effort, which will directly benefit people with disabilities. This experience was years in-the-making, he said.

“I was first drawn to Greek life and Pi Kappa Phi because of the leadership opportunities it provided as well as its philanthropy,” Cockerham said. “Participating in one of the Ability Experience’s summer events has always been a goal of mine since I joined Pi Kappa Phi in 2012.”

Having previously cycled with the 2013 Gear Up Florida team, Austin, a health and physical education major from DeRidder, returned as a crew member. He contributed $1,250 in fundraising. Craft, a business administration major also from DeRidder, raised $1,525 per crew member for the trek. Team members are selected through a rigorous application process, which included a 1,000 word essay and phone interview.

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