May graduate to set out on East Coast trek to raise awareness, money for affordable housing
It’s a cause she plans to take across the Atlantic Coast — literally.
UW-La Crosse May graduate Carly Juzwik will head to the Florida Keys Saturday, May 19 — a day shy of a week from crossing the stage at commencement. Over the next two-and-a-half to three months through Bike and Build, Juzwik will peddle and take part in building houses along the East Coast to the tip of Maine to carry the message about affordable housing.
“I wanted to challenge myself physically and mentally and put myself in a situation and environment that forced me out of my comfort zone,” explains Juzwik. “More importantly, it’s an incredible opportunity to raise money and awareness to combat the affordable housing crisis, all while learning by hands-on experience in communities facing this crisis head on.”
Juzwik, who is majoring in graphic design and minoring in women’s studies, was inspired to ride the trip by two coworkers in the university’s COVE, the Center for Organizations, Vision and Engagement. Celia Mueller and Amber Schneider, who have both ridden with Bike and Build, are serving as her mentors.
Civic engagement has been at the core for Juzwik during college. She worked as a program adviser in the COVE for four years planning and implementing service, leadership and involvement programming across campus and in the community.
“That position has played a crucial role in my understanding and passion for engagement outside the classroom,” she notes.
Juzwik, from Madison, says housing insecurity is a societal problem that affects everyone. “It’s prominent in small villages and sprawling cities. It’s prominent in all of our communities, and nearly half of adults experience housing instability at some point in their lives,” she explains. “It’s crucial that we cultivate a culture that believes decent and affordable housing should be a possibility for everyone.”
Juzwik started preparing for the 2,888-mile ride by taking spin classes at the YMCA during winter. She’s unsure what lies ahead following the ride.
“I hope to harmonize art, popular media and social responsibility,” she says. “I’m not sure exactly what that looks like yet, but I hope to do graphic design work and someday be a creative director for a company that fights for the same things I do.”
Discover more about Bike and Build.