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APU Students and Alumnus Ride across U.S. for Clean Water

by University Relations

Last summer, a team of five Azusa Pacific University students and one alumnus embarked on a two-month bike ride across the United States. Their goal: to bring awareness to the world’s water crisis and raise financial support for projects, including wells and filtration systems, that give clean, sustainable water to communities in developing countries. Ride for Water included Chase Pritchett ’13, Jordan Williams ’14, Andrew Earle ’14, Brian Terada ’13, Dan Eckman ’14, and Alex Piering ’14. The group raised $37,540 for the nonprofit organization Charity Water to provide 1,877 people with pure drinking water.

After 400 hours, 12 states, and 3,000 miles, Ride for Water cyclists completed their journey on June 26, 2013, arriving in New York City at the Charity Water headquarters. “The ride was definitely a success,” said Williams. “The money we raised will change many lives. We helped shed light on the global water crisis, sharing how nearly 1 billion people live without clean water worldwide, and hopefully inspired others to take action. I thank God for the support we received from individuals, many of them strangers we met along the way, and churches that encouraged us, prayed for our safety, and provided us with places to stay and food to eat.”

The team faced myriad challenges on its transcontinental trek, including inclement weather, physical exhaustion, and mechanical difficulties with their bicycles. “The trip was a trying one,” said Terada. “I spent many hours every day dreaming of its end and a return to normal life—sitting in a chair instead of on a bicycle seat, exercising for just an hour a day, and eating regular meals. Yet, even with the heat, rain, cold, hunger, and muscle aches, our lives were unbelievably comfortable. We have access to a basic need that much of the world does not: clean water.”

The Ride for Water team plans to continue generating awareness of the world’s water crisis with scheduled speaking engagements at universities and churches locally and out of state.

Originally published in the Fall '13 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).