Cyclists raise funds for student service trips

The Cycle-For-A-Cause fundraiser, run by Campus Recreation, raised money for Student Activities’ Service Immersion Program.

Students participate in Cycle-For-A-Cause, an event hosted by Campus Recreation at the Independence Blue Cross Student Rec Center, located at 1701 N. 15th St., on Wednesday. The money raised from the event is going towards supporting Temple University's Student Immersion Program. | DEVYN TRETHEWEY / THE TEMPLE NEWS

P!nk’s 2001 “Get The Party Started” song filled the air, sweat dripped down cyclists’ foreheads and stationary bicycles hummed under their feet.

The cycling groups at the IBC Student Recreation Center’s outdoor courts on Wednesday were exercising for a cause. Campus Recreation partnered with the Service Immersion Program, a service trip program run by Student Activities, for Campus Recreation’s annual Cycle-For-A-Cause fundraiser.

“I think that doing activities which are helping us in our own way … to help other people do things is good,” said Samantha Kuhar, a doctoral physical therapy student.

The Service Immersion Program sends small groups of students on domestic and international service trips four times a year. The money from the fundraiser will go to program participants to make the service trips more affordable.

The program’s trips go to locations like El Paso, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; Rosebud Lakota Reservation in South Dakota and an alternating international destination.

Adriane Reilly, assistant director of Student Activities, said each program ranges from $450 to $1,000 per student, depending on the cost of flights.

“It’s … one of the best bargains to get off campus, and learn about your world because the rest of the program is heavily subsidized by Student Activities,” Reilly said. “Donations like Cycle-For-A-Cause help defray the costs.”

The program will announce this year’s international trip destination before the Nov. 1 application deadline, she added.

A $5 donation allowed students, faculty and alumni access to four different themed cycling sessions.

At the 12:30 p.m. session, the theme was “Woman Crush Wednesday,” chosen by Pamela Leary, a physical therapy doctorate student and group fitness instructor for Campus Recreation.

Leary said she was excited to participate in the fundraiser.

“Temple as a whole supporting all of the organizations … shows that we aren’t just all these little sectioned off organizations,” she added. “You can combine different things and just kind of spread the word.”

For its fourth year, the organizers of Cycle-For-A-Cause, Anthony Alongi, assistant director of fitness at Campus Recreation, and Gabrielle Labolito, operations coordinator of Temple University Fitness, looked for a worthy cause to donate to.

“We were kind of struggling to figure out what we wanted to direct our support toward,” said Alongi, who went on El Paso trips in 2015 and 2016. “We were trying to switch gears and center it toward something that is related to on-campus events.”

Bren Maciel, a sophomore risk management major and facility monitor for Campus Recreation, went on the El Paso trip in Spring 2018 and suggested this year’s Cycle-For-A-Cause should raise money for the service program.

“The two just kind of naturally fit because it was something I had been involved in, Anthony had been involved in and we’re both also involved in the cycling at the IBC,” Maciel said.

She added she believes Cycle-For-A-Cause will help raise awareness of the Service Immersion Program, as well as draw in new applicants.

“[The program] is a hidden gem of offerings as far as the university goes,” Alongi said.

Reilly, who organizes and goes on the El Paso trip, said the students who visit the U.S.-Mexico border come back as changed individuals.

“By the end of the week, we’re talking about what active citizenship mean for us, and how we can make a difference both short-term and long-term,” Reilly said. “Short-term meaning involving ourselves in charity or social justice work, or long-term like, ‘How are we voting to make an influence on this?’”

On the trips to Texas, students observe firsthand how conflicts at the border affect residents.

“You can go on an immersion trip, take whatever you might have learned in a classroom and see it first hand on the frontlines,” Alongi said. “It’s something that lives with you outside the classroom.”

He added the experience is enriching for students interested in getting more out of their college experience.

This year, Maciel is a program leader for the El Paso trip. She said she encourages students of all majors to look into the “eye-opening” Service Immersion trips.

“It’s an experience like none other,” she added. “You are not going to see these things [at home] … you are meeting with people who see the struggles you just read about in the news.”

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