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annieHarvard senior Annie LaVigne ’07 will trade her cap and gown for a cycling jersey and helmet this June. Annie will set off on a 70-day, cross-country trek; she is one of a team raising money for and building affordable housing, through the nonprofit Bike & Build. Her team will bike an average of 60 to 80 miles per day from Providence, Rhode Island, to Seattle, Washington, stopping every few days to work on construction sites.

“I am excited by the idea of fully dedicating myself to a cause and biking to the place I’m building. I look forward to riding from town to town, talking to people about affordable housing and meeting the people we are helping. Biking cross-country is such a unique way to travel—we’ll get to see the sights that you miss when you fly.”

A life-long athlete, Annie’s first exposure to distance cycling was two summers ago, when she led two cycling trips for teenagers in Europe and Canada.  Annie’s major is developmental and regenerative biology, and she was looking for another challenge over the summer before she begins applying to medical schools.

“What drew me to Bike & Build was not only the cycling, but also the organization’s commitment to service. The lack of affordable housing is a larger problem than most people realize. What motivates me about this cause is that people like me can get involved, and can quite literally ‘build’ change.”

Riders raise $4,500 for their trip, and so far Annie has reached about 70% of her goal. You can read Annie’s blog, as she rides, using her trip profile here.

Over eight seasons, Bike & Build has contributed $3,387,200 to housing groups, funding projects planned and executed by young adults; this includes more than $605,000 donated in the summer of 2011. The organization hopes to donate the same for the summer of 2012.