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Student Bikes Cross-Country for Affordable Housing

April 8, 2013

With spring underway and the last day of classes approaching, many students are looking forward to a much-needed break. Not so for junior Laini Cassis, who is ramping up her training in preparation for the ultimate summer challenge.

Come summer, Cassis will be bicycling 4,000 miles from South Carolina to Santa Cruz, California to raise money for affordable housing projects. The trip is organized by the non-profit Bike & Build, which has contributed more than $4 million to affordable housing efforts over the past decade.

The cross-country trip will take Cassis and other riders about three months to complete. When they’re not on their bikes, the riders will be helping to build affordable housing at pre-arranged work sites along the route.

Cassis, who regularly commutes by bike in Boston, has been involved in community service since her freshman year, participating in Habitat for Humanity and co-leading an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip through the Scott/Ross Center. She still keeps in touch with a woman whose home she built with other Simmons volunteers last spring, during an ASB trip to the Pittsburgh area.

“Through ASB I gained so many inspiring experiences and met folks who truly warmed my heart,” Cassis said. “Everyone deserves an affordable home that they can live in. This isn’t just an issue that is taking place in some other city, it is happening in Boston.”

Cassis has committed to raising $4,500 for the cause, and has gotten creative with her fundraising, setting up a typewriter in Quadside Cafe and selling poems for $1 each. She’ll also be hosting stationary bike-a-thons in the Fens lobby on April 18 and 25, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

To donate to Cassis online, click here.

Photo of Cassis by Simmons junior Taylor Nealand.