Monday, Jul 28, 2014 04:16 am est

Student to bike across America to support homeless

Posted on April 21, 2014 | by Julianne McShane

Hannah Luu/WSN

When most of her peers will be leaving New York City or pursuing internships at the end of the semester, Stern freshman Abigail Donoghue will be departing on a three-month cross-country bike ride. The ride will benefit Bike & Build, a non-profit organization that raises awareness for the affordable housing crisis in the United States.

Donoghue plans to depart from Charleston, S.C., and reach Santa Cruz, Calif., on Aug. 11. She will be among 33 other cyclists between the ages of 18 and 28. Donoghue said that the cyclists will bike between 35 and 117 miles each day and will sleep in community centers, churches and other free spaces. The group will build houses with Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations for 17 days throughout the trip, including an eight-day stay in Colorado Springs, Colo., where they will build a house.

Donoghue said she was initially unsure of how to spend her summer. She originally considered interning, but ultimately decided to volunteer while she still has the summers free.

“I really wanted to do something that helped people, as well as teach me about myself,” Donoghue said. “I also love traveling and have always wanted to do a cross-country trip. Bike & Build sounded like the perfect opportunity.”

When Stern sophomore Lydia Guo, a participant in last summer’s Bike & Build, told Donoghue about the organization, Donoghue knew it was something she had to be a part of.

“She hadn’t even finished describing it and I was already mentally committed,” she said.

Riders — most of whom are college students — are required to raise $4,500 each and ride at least 500 training miles before starting. Donoghue has raised over $5,000 to date, but she said she wants to continue to raise as much money as possible until the start of her ride.

As part of Donoghue’s fundraising campaign, she sent letters to family and friends in New York and back home in Barrington, Ill.

“I have been amazed by the generosity of my friends and family,” Donoghue said. “I am in awe of the contributions and I am determined to make them count when I am on the road this summer.”

Donoghue also plans to host a fundraising event in New York before she leaves.

The funds will go toward the group’s building projects and the leftover money can go toward sponsoring a local housing organization in New York or Illinois.

Bike & Build was founded in 2002 by Marc Bush, a Yale University alumnus and participant in the Yale Habitat Bicycle Challenge. Around 240 people do the ride every year on eight different routes across the country. Since its inception, the organization has raised over $4.5 million for affordable housing charities.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 21 print edition. Julianne McShane is a staff writer. Email her at


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

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Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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