Stephanie Dooper and David Exe are going to bike 1,500 miles down the West Coast to raise money for the project.
Dooper, president of the UofL Habitat chapter, and Exe, a chapter member, will make stops at Habitat chapters from Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles, California, in what they are calling “RoadsNRoofs: Biking to Build. One Mile at a Time.”
Stephanie, 21, came up with the idea more than a year ago for students to raise the $44,000 needed to build a Habitat house in Louisville. Her idea has twice won her a spot at the annual Clinton Global Initiative University, a meeting of student leaders from around the world who are working to solve global problems.
The UofL Habitat chapter, with about 300 students, has received a $20,000 matching grant from Texas Roadhouse and already raised $7,000 toward the house. The final push is now on to raise $17,000 before fall, when construction is expected to begin.
Stephanie and David plan to begin their bike trek in Seattle on May 5 and end it in Los Angeles on June 6. Some days, they’ll bike more than 100 miles; other days, they will rest. Among other places, they’ll stop in Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California. To train, in addition to biking around campus, they’ve logged hundreds of miles on bikes at the Student Recreation Center.
“We only have two 100-mile days,” Stephanie said, laughing. “That’s kind of nice.”
They are being sponsored by Old Bikes Belong, a local bike shop owned by UofL alum Michael Carroll, who has let them buy their supplies at cost, and UofL’s social change department. Their matching long-haul bikes sport four UofL-red bags to hold their gear; they plan to camp along the way.
Dooper is a double major in political science and liberal studies. She is an Owensboro native who got her start with Habitat while a student at Owensboro Catholic High School.
Exe, of Louisville, is a double major in electrical and computer engineering at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He is a member of River City Rocketry, UofL’s rocket-building team that competes across the country.