He will be part of the Bike and Build Program, a nonprofit organization which sends out several hundred young people to benefit poverty housing across the country through fundraising raising awareness of the problem and building projects. Seghal will be biking from Providence, R.I. all the way to San Francisco, Calif. an average of 70 miles per day.

‘I am doing it because I want to gain knowledge about the issue, especially since it is a growing one around here,” Seghal said.

In mid-June, groups of 30 riders, 18-25 years old, will set out on over eight different routes, and each participant must raise $4,000 for the cause before the trip begins. The organization, which was formed in 2002, has already contributed $1.6 million to the housing crisis. In addition to raising funds and biking, riders also build houses along the way.

‘Within the two months, 10 days are “build days,’ when we work on a house that the group ahead of us started, or start our own project for the groups behind us to work on,” Seghal said. ‘So we’ll lay the foundation, or work on the ceilings, for example.”
Bikers also spread their message along the way and give town-hall presentations across the country.

According to the Bike and Build Web site, ‘over 5.1 million American families have the “worst case’ housing needs in which they endure overcrowded conditions and/or live in physically deficient houses,” conditions college students are working to alleviate on these trips.

A typical biking day will begin at 6 a.m, and Seghal will bike from about 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., stopping only for a brief lunch. When the group arrives at their destination for the night, they are provided with dinner and they meet members of the local community before sharing a PowerPoint presentation to the community at the host locations. Bikers typically stay at churches, community centers and schools along the way, but also camp out.

Seghal said that his recent trip to India to visit family inspired him to apply for the program.

‘The trip showed me how poor and unsanitary conditions are in India,” Seghal said.
Both of his parents grew up there, and his father has told him how lucky he is to have to live in the conditions he does.

While growing up, his father’s house only had two rooms for 14 people.

‘There was one bathroom with a shower and one bathroom with a toilet for both families to share,” Sehgal said. ‘No running water, part of the house was not even covered, and no privacy for anyone.”

In addition to helping others, the experience itself seems like it will be an enjoyable one.

After growing up in Rochester and attending the University and majoring in biomedical engineering, the trip will be a getaway and a nice break for Sehgal before applying to business school.

‘I’m really looking forward to it,” Seghal said.

But before he sets off, he needs to reach the fundraising goal, which will help the organization fund affordable housing projects throughout the country.

As Seghal has stated, ‘No donation is too small: $1 or $2 dollars can go a long way.”

To donate, visit: http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/3560. Enter in the amount you would like to donate and then just hit continue and proceed with the checkout using a credit card.
If you would prefer to make a donation via check/money order, make the check payable to “Bike ‘ Build’, put Varun Seghal in the memo section of the check, and mail to:
Bike ‘ Build
6109 Ridge Ave, Bldg 2
Philadelphia, PA 19128

Bagley is a member of the class of 2012.

An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

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