WVU Statler students cycling cross country for Journey of Hope

Each year, a group of Pi Kappa Phi members take on the challenge of a lifetime, pushing their limits and stepping into the unknown to make a difference.  

This summer, Statler College seniors Austin Brown and James Carte are embarking on the Journey of Hope, a cross-country cycling expedition, pedal over 4,000 miles in 67 days from Seattle, Wash., to Washington, D.C.  

Along the way, they’ll be champions for the disability community. For many people with disabilities, isolation can significantly impact their sense of self and well-being. Through the Journey of Hope, these Statler College engineers will leverage local media outlets, visiting partner organizations to make a difference in the lives of adults with disabilities. 

A team of 100 men will leave Seattle, Wash., today or Napa, Calif., Sunday, and pedal toward the nation’s capitol. 

Brown and Carte will be starting their journey today on the TransAmerica route. It will take them through West Virginia July 31-Aug. 2. They will hit Huntington July 31, Charleston Aug. 1 and Beckley Aug. 2.  

They will pedal 4,335 miles and arrive in D.C. Aug. 8. Brown has raised $8,365 of his $10,000 goal. Carte has raised $7,525 of his $8,500 goal. 

Those on the North route will leave Napa Sunday,  pedal 3,705 miles and arrive in D.C. Aug. 10. They won’t come through West Virginia, but will be in Pittsburgh and Uniontown, Pa., areas Aug. 4-6.  

The Journey of Hope is part of Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy initiative, The Ability Experience. Since 1977, The Ability Experience has been dedicated to fostering a lifelong commitment to service among fraternity members while empowering individuals living with disabilities. 

 Inspired by a Journey of Hope representative during a chapter meeting, both Brown and Carte were   left with a shared vision — to embark on this journey together. Their brotherhood extends beyond their involvement as  members of WVU’s Pi Kappa Phi. Brown and Carte both grew up in Bethel Park, Pa., near Pittsburgh,  and have been friends for 10 years. 

 They embody the Mountaineer spirit of adventure, accountability and advocacy. After visiting campus, Brown, a first-generation Mountaineer, canceled his other campus tours because he knew he’d found his where he wanted to be. 

Carte comes from a family of Mountaineers. 

As engineering students, these mountaineers bring a unique perspective to the challenge. Brown is studying electrical and computer engineering, while Carte is focused on biomedical engineering.  

“There’s always an opportunity to do better if I’m willing to go that extra mile,” Carte said. “This mindset works well with the bike ride because if I take a fall, I know I might as well keep going.” 

 Brown echoed a similar motivation, saying, “After you’ve accomplished something like this, you realize that nothing in life is really that scary. I want to challenge myself and help others, to prove that I can do something this hard.” 

To support the team on their journey, stay tuned to our social media channels @WVUStatler for updates along the way!