Coast to Coast: A summer of biking and buildingPosted by admin on 7/12/12 • Categorized as Summer 2012
Erin Potter’07 has a passion for affordable housing. And biking? She likes that too. This summer, she’ll bring these interests together by bicycling across the continental United States, raising money for affordable housing and stopping to build homes along the way.
Potter is a volunteer trip leader for Bike & Build, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for housing groups and garnering media and community attention for affordable housing. In the last eight seasons, the organization has contributed more than $3.3 million to affordable housing initiatives.
Potter will help lead 32 young adults in a 3,949-mile cross-country bike ride, which set out from Providence, R.I., on June 13 and plans to roll into Seattle, Wash., on Aug. 21.
Cyclists must raise $4,500 dollars (apiece) before their tires ever hit the road. These funds are directed toward affordable housing groups of the riders’ choice and help fund the trip itself.
“Some of the riding will be tough,” says Potter. “We’re heading east to west, meaning we’re biking into the wind—and there are a few mountains in this great country of ours. But there’s something I really like about that. The support I’ve received from my community, friends, and family will definitely help me through the rough days, whatever they may bring.”
Potter’s experience at Beloit drove her interest in affordable housing. A double major in sociology and religious studies, she took classes that forced her to look closer at society and question the status quo. She was active in the Peace and Justice Club and the college’s Duffy Program. Another formative experience was a trip to New Orleans to help repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
After graduating, Potter took an AmeriCorps position with the Chicago Rehab Network, where she continues to work today.