Students Bike to Raise Awareness for Housing Issues

Posted 05/16/07
Beth Ogata ’09 has the power – pedal power that is – to raise awareness for American housing needs.

She will be one of 90 college students riding coast-to-coast this summer to support the non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity. This is her third year making the cross-country trek. She will accompanied by Jessalee Landfried ’07, Liana Woskie ’10.

The 13th annual Habitat Bicycle Challenge (HBC) will generate approximately $430,000 in proceeds, enough to underwrite the construction of eight Habitat homes. HBC riders will also raise awareness of Habitat’s work throughout the country as they pedal to end poverty housing.

According to Habitat, more than 5.1 million American families are forced to pay more than half their income for housing, endure overcrowded conditions and/or live in houses with severe physical deficiencies. While the number of families in poverty is growing, the number of affordable rental units is shrinking, and most families who qualify for government housing assistance aren’t receiving any aid.

The bikers have the choice to take one of three routes, each approximately 4,000 miles long.

Woskie and Ogata will take the “southern route,” crossing through parts of Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and ending in San Francisco, California.

Landfried will take the “central route,” which follows the path settlers of Oregon’s Willamette Valley took more than a hundred years ago. Starting in New Haven, the bikers cross Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and southern Idaho before hitting the Columbia River in Oregon.

Before the students can embark on the trip, they are required to raise $4,000 each. The money will go to the Greater New Haven chapter of Habitat for Humanity as well as international building projects. More information is online at

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor