Pedal Nick, pedal!

It was a rainy, windy day in Cullowhee, N.C. but that didn’t stop one student from ‘going the distance’.

Nick Mashburn with some of his PKP brothers during the "Pedal for Push" event, 18 April 2012 at WCU. Photo by John Schmulling

Despite the gloomy weather, Nick Mashburn, a 21-year-old student and physical education major at Western Carolina University, spent Wednesday, April 18, on his bike pedaling for a cause.

Pedal for Push” is an event for Push America, supported  by Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. Push America is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 through Pi Kappa Phi as a way for undergraduate members to experience leadership through service of people with disabilities.

Mashburn pedaled on a stationary bike for 4 hours on Wednesday with several other brothers from Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Together they raised over $400. Seventy five percent of the proceeds will go to the national organization for Push America while the other 25 percent will go to an organization of Pi Kappa Phi’s choice, which is WCU’s University Participant Program.

The University Participant Program is a two-year, on-campus living and learning experience for people with developmental disabilities between the ages of 18 and 25. During the two year duration, participants need to complete requirements in order to receive a UP Certificate of Accomplishment. Many of the activities and goals for this certificate are individually designed for future goals, employment, education, and independent living.

Mashburn got involved with the UP program early last semester because some of the UPP participants live in the dorm where he works.

“I got involved with the program because the male participants didn’t have many male volunteers to spend time with. They had to spend their time with the female participants,” Mashburn said.

Over the course of this semester Mashburn has grown close to David Maennle, Manny Zayas, and Corey Hambrick. He plays basketball with them along with other sports. They also go to dinner together and attend sporting events.

“These are amazing people, I’ve been able to create a bond with the UP Participants and by working with the exceptional students at Cullowhee Valley”, Mashburn said. “This program can’t get enough help”.

For more information on WCU’s UP Program visit their page on the WCU website.