While his classmates are out working odds jobs or completing internships, mechanical engineering sophomore Cullen Goss will spend the next summer riding his bicycle across the United States, building affordable housing along the way.
Goss and other young adults will raise $4,500 to participate in the ride put together by Bike & Build. Along the way, they will volunteer for nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together to build housing for the impoverished.
“Having somewhere to call home is an important right,” Goss said. “Being a part of something that is making a difference is fulfilling.”
Goss, the third Cal Poly student to participate in Bike & Build, will begin his ride by biking from Maine to Santa Barbara. He will ride an average of 70 miles a day and stop to build in nine states.
“It’s a great adventure, but also allows them to do service at the same time,” Director of Outreach for Bike & Build Matt Hartman said.
Goss has been cycling for five years, and heard about Bike & Build from his cousin’s friends. His longest bike ride has been from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara.
“Part of it is definitely the cycling aspect, because going across the country is an interesting challenge,” Goss said. “But the biggest part is helping out with affordable housing.”
To raise the money, Goss has sent out donation letters, and worked with Woodstock’s Pizza to put on fundraisers. Other riders have put on fundraising events such as bake sales and benefit concerts, Hartman said.
“We have students who have a summer where they want to do something that sounds like a personal challenge, but you’re with a group of others so there’s camaraderie,” Hartman said. “It’s a powerful coming together of adventure and service.”