Kspan is the name. I’m currently a graduate student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The past five years here have been nothing short of wonderful, partially due to the strength of the Hokie and Blacksburg communities. The students and residents of this town draw you into a world of great food, music, and adventure. If I could have studied hiking as a major, I would have. Yet, I received my undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, and am sticking around for the aftermath in the same department. My main focus is in sustainable food systems. I am an advocate for fresh, local foods that can be obtained directly from the hands that planted the seeds, tended the fields, or pastured the cattle. Strengthening our local economy is my mission; a reason why being grounded in Blacksburg has been such a rewarding experience. I am a farm intern, a coffee deliverer (on a bike!), a shopper at the local farmers market, a hospital volunteer, a triathlete, a foodie, a volunteer for hunger relief, a salute(r) to other bike commuters, a pupil, a teacher, and a friend to many in my community.
I heard about Bike & Build from a friend who spent this past summer biking from Virginia to California with the program. If not for his enthusiasm, I may not be writing this today. His positive experience with Bike & Build gives me the eagerness to jump on the bandwagon too…or bike, rather. Other than the excitement of seeing the country (for the 6th time), it is the premise of action in the project title. I’m not just going on a trip across the country, I’m BUILDING and BIKING. Building for the good of many communities; biking for the good of humanity (and sanity from a world of so many drivers). I am excited to know that a traveling community built on pedal power can provide help to grounded communities that need it most. The startling fact about affordable housing, however, is that most communities need help in this area. Blacksburg, although perceivably strong, is struggling with this as well. Even moderate income families are forced to leave the area due to economic strain. It is unfortunate that potential Virginia Tech instructors and laborers of all skill levels cannot reside in such a beautiful place. Currently, the Community Development Block Grant for this coming year is calling for objectives such as land for affordable housing development and homeownership assistance for low-to-moderate income families moving to Blacksburg. This past year, five new homes were completed for sale by households earning less than 80% of the area median income. With the new election this week, many of the candidates are calling for the continuation of this program and for its expanse. Our town is attempting to address these issues, but of course, building affordable housing is not an easy task. Bike & Build appeals to me because I can use my physical energy to aid in the progress of this undertaking in many communities across the country. Perhaps then, I can even come home with ideas for my own. The idea of pushing myself to limits that are unknown to me at this point is exciting in itself. I’m nervous only about not being able to focus during graduate school in preparation for this trip.
|Kati has currently raised $4,300.|
That's 108% of her $4,000 fundraising goal.