Our network

USF Student Veterans’ Leader Set to Begin 4,000 mile Cross-Country Bicycle Journey | Community Spirit

Title (Max 100 Characters)

USF Student Veterans’ Leader Set to Begin 4,000 mile Cross-Country Bicycle Journey
USF Student Veterans’ Leader Set to Begin 4,000 mile Cross-Country Bicycle Journey

TAMPA, Florida – One University of South Florida student won’t be spending her summer taking classes or preparing for her future career through an internship.  Instead, Kiersten Downs will embark on a much different adventure: riding her bicycle across the country, nearly 4,000 miles, to raise money and awareness for student veterans.

Downs, a PhD student in anthropology, served in the Air Force for seven years, with three overseas deployments and one tour of duty in Iraq.  She is president of USF’s chapter of Student Veterans of America, a national organization dedicated to providing veterans with the resources and support to make a successful transition from the military to campus life.  Through her cross-country ride, she hopes to raise $50,000 for the national and local chapters.

“The transition for veterans is very similar to an immigrant leaving their home country and moving to the United States,” Downs said.  “It’s culture shock.  This transition can be lonely.  When we give veterans the proper support they need, they excel above all of their peers.”

Downs will begin her ride on June 1 in San Francisco before finishing in Washington, DC, at the national headquarters of Student Veterans of America.  The trip is expected to take more than two months to complete.

Her story was recently featured on MTV, MTV2, and mtvU.  The segment, which includes a special appearance by “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon, can be found here.  The networks also plan to chronicle her journey through the summer.

More information about her ride can be found at www.bikingusa.net.

USF has nearly 2,000 student veterans and the university is ranked fourth among the country’s most veteran-friendly schools by Military Times Edge.

The  video above is from the USF Channel on Youtube.

Hillsborough County Deals

Hillsborough County Businesses