Jeremiah Stichter wanted to do something extraordinary this summer. So, the Anderson University sophomore accounting and computer science major formulated a plan: a biking trip to Panama City, Fla., with his oldest brother Adam Stichter, a 2010 AU alumnus. The brothers and their father had biked around Michigan after Jeremiah graduated from high school, so they knew it could be hard to pull off but decided it was well worth the planning and effort.
During Christmas break, the brothers came up with the idea and began to plan, but soon realized that a weeklong trip could be quite costly. Staying in hotels would be far too expensive, but camping at campgrounds would also cost money and would require the brothers to carry the necessary camping supplies on their backs. Their father, who had biked across the country at age 20, suggested that they ask the AU Alumni Office for help.
[Photo: Brothers Jeremiah (left) and Adam Stichter hope to promote Anderson University and enjoy alumni connections during their 800-mile bicycle trip to Florida this summer. Credit: Lauren Freitas]
“Jeremiah came to me with the idea of contacting alumni along the route they will be traveling,” said Ben Davis, director of alumni relations. Davis contacted alumni, asking if they would be willing to house the brothers. “We have a couple already, and we are still working on gaining more,” said Davis.
Adam and Jeremiah plan to leave on Friday, May 11, and should arrive in Panama City on May 18 or 19. “When you are biking, it’s easier to take stops because it’s so flexible,” said Adam. “And you have to take stops since you are powering yourself.” The trip will be about 800 miles, so they will average about 115 miles each day.
The brothers have high hopes for the trip, both personally and for the university. “It is going to be interesting to see how AU will be able to help us out, and in return how we can help AU by getting their name out,” said Jeremiah. The Alumni Office plans to make T-shirts for the brothers that will advertise the university as they bike.
Jeremiah also hopes to achieve a personal goal, “a good tan.” Both Jeremiah and Adam also hope to grow closer and bond during the trip, as well as accomplish a few other personal goals. “I am going to have the pride of completing the trip,” said Adam. “It’s no small feat to accomplish, and it definitely has an adventure aspect to it.”
According to Davis, a trip like this has never been attempted at AU, especially with the large number of alumni who will be reached throughout the brothers’ route. However, many students and recent graduates do contact the Alumni Office to reach out to others in areas where they may be moving or taking an internship. “Almost always we are able to connect them with some sort of ‘warm lead,’” said Davis. “We try to keep people connected so that they network with each other, have fellowship, and share memories.”
Jeremiah and Adam are encouraging everyone to follow their travels as they share details from the trip and their time with alumni. “We have an idea of taking an AU water bottle and filling it with water from the Helios fountain, taking pictures with it along the way, and then dumping it into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jeremiah. Their travels can be followed on Facebook and Twitter; Jeremiah’s Twitter username is @ja_reemstichter and Adam’s is @ajstichter, and they hope to popularize the hashtags #IN2Florida and #AUBikeTrip.
— Marissa Phillips is a junior from Brookville, Ohio, majoring in communication arts. Phillips is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.