Two teams. Five women. Five men. Eleven bikes.
Their purpose? To ride across the country this summer raising awareness about the global clean water crisis, helping people realize that there is not enough clean drinking water around the world. Called Ride for Water, the group hosted its launch party last Thursday, Feb. 18, in Trinity Hall.
“We’re riding more than 3,000 miles from the West Coast to the East Coast this summer,” said APU graduate Ashley Ginn, a member of the women’s team. “The men’s team is starting in Seattle, and the women’s team is starting in Florence, Oregon. We’re all joining in Chicago so we can finish the ride together in NYC at the Charity Water headquarters. The ride will take approximately 50 days.”
This year, the team consists of both men and women. The men’s team includes Paul Joung, Andy Bissell, Fadi Nassar, Jackson Lucht and Aaron Thomas. For the women, there is Katie Maginnis, Sophia Buie, Kimberly Golden, Ashlee Ginn and Jac Summers.
Senior applied exercise science major and women’s team member Katie Maginnis said that the APU Ride for Water team really wants to share the important message of water quality and availability.
“We are all so passionate about bringing others clean water and thus longer, healthier lives,” Maginnis said “We are most looking forward to the 50 days of spreading awareness, building relationships and connections with others and, overall, having the privilege and opportunity to take action in solving the global water crisis.”
Men’s team member and sixth-year senior double major in psychology and applied exercise science Andy Bissell explained why Ride for Water matters.
“There are currently 663 million people in our world without access to clean water,” Bissell said. “Ride for Water is a group that is taking their skills (cycling) and putting them to work for the good of others. Riding our bicycles across the country is no easy task, and there will be some pain and suffering, but it is all so that others in need may benefit. We partner with an organization called Charity Water, which funds the drilling and digging of wells in these communities without clean water.”
The purpose of Thursday’s launch party was to raise awareness for the movement.
“By getting a shirt or sticker, people are showing their support for the campaign and we’re so thankful!” Ginn said. “It’s also just our way of saying ‘thank you’ for the support with free Chick-fil-A sandwiches and Mantra coffee.”
Each year, Ride for Water forms new teams of passionate people fully committed to the cause. This year marks the first time an all-women team has joined the effort.
“Our hope is to bring more awareness to others across the country by reaching out to more people in more states,” said Maginnis. “Our goal is to raise $80,000. We are confident that we can reach this goal with the help of our supporters spreading awareness, our sponsors, our donors and students.”
The group will host more events on campus this year.
“This semester we will continue to sell apparel and new gear on Cougar Walk,” Maginnis said. “We also have a fundraiser night at Chick-fil-A coming up in March, where proceeds will be donated to our campaign to bring others clean water.”
For more information, go to rideforwater.com. Students can follow the teams on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and @rideforwater on Twitter.