On May 10, Noelle Albert, a fourth-semester student in the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, will embark on a cross-country cycling trip with the organization Bike & Build to benefit affordable housing organizations and build homes.
The trip will involve rigorous biking from Jacksonville, Florida, to Santa Cruz, California, Albert said. The cyclists will bike from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
The cyclists will stop every four or five days to build homes with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, Youth Build and other local organizations, Albert said.
“The days that we’re not building, we bike anywhere from 30 to 110 miles a day,” Albert said. “Most days are between 70 and 80 average a day, which is wild because the most I’ve ever biked in one day was around 46 miles.”
Albert said she will also raise money to benefit affordable housing charities. The cyclists will partner with various organizations during their build days and later pick organizations to donate their money to.
“I’ve been posting all over social media, I’ve been sending letters to family and friends, I’m doing a Blaze Pizza Fundraiser on March 28,” Albert said. “Basically, Bike & Build gave us a website to raise our money through, so I’ve been basically sending the link out to everyone I know asking for money. Everything helps, every little bit counts.”
Albert said that in preparation for the trip, she will need to train outside on the road for the rest of the semester.
“I have to bike 500 miles before I go,” Albert said. “So I’m just going to be doing a lot of road biking. It’s going to have to be a daily thing. I don’t know the roads around here that well because I don’t have a car’ so I just kind of know the way home and back here to UConn, so I’m going to do some exploring.”
Albert said she has a passion for global health and hopes to go into that field upon graduation. She also said she believes that there is a strong link between healthcare and having a home. She hopes that her efforts to build houses will benefit the health and happiness of the people who live in them.
“People who don’t have a home to live in or don’t have affordable housing spend a significant portion of their income on housing,” Albert said. “Anything more than 30 percent of their income is a cost burden for their house. If they spend too much of their money on housing, then they can’t spend that money on things like healthy food or medicine or healthcare in general, so they end up suffering in a lot of different ways from not being able to spend those resources on their healthcare.”
Albert said she emphasizes the importance of housing for people across the U.S. She said she believes it is central to having a healthy life and an important part of a secure childhood.
“Since I was little, I just thought affordable housing was really cool because I grew up in a happy home that I loved,” Albert said. “I’ve lived in the same home for my whole life. I want to help give that to other people because it’s a privilege that a lot of us have that we don’t realize. I want to use what I have to give back to others who have less for no reason, no fault of their own. I just feel like it’s really important to do everything we can.”
Albert said she is looking forward to making a difference this summer in her trip with Bike & Build. It will be her first time traveling the country by bike, she said.
“I’m really excited to travel across the United States with a purpose like this one,” Albert said.
EllieAnn Lesko is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.