By Megan Morketter, GoHeels.com
UNC athletic department staff members helped raise money for schools in Africa by participating in the third-annual Bike to Uganda fundraiser.
The money contributed during the charity event fuels the efforts of Building Tomorrow, an organization that works with local Ugandan governments to establish public primary schools in rural regions.
The "Athletic Dept. Team," as it was deemed, joined the student body in an effort to clock 7,500 miles, the distance to Uganda, over the course of a week in October by signing up for 30-minute time slots on stationary bicycles.
Representing the administrators were Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, Senior Associate Athletic Director and CFO Martina Ballen, Senior Associate Athletic Director Beth Miller and Assistant Athletic Director Cricket Lane.
Surrounded by students and athletes in the pit who dropped by to cheer on their leaders, the staff members recognized the importance of Building Tomorrow's cause to create opportunities for those in need.
"It's about education, and it's about trying to help the people who don't have the facilities or well being to be able to have schools," said Dr. Miller. "I applaud Building Tomorrow for doing it, and I'm glad that we could take part in it."
Also participating in the event was men's tennis head coach Sam Paul, among others. Paul was so impressed with the fundraiser and the work Building Tomorrow does that he hopes to get his entire team involved next year.
The UNC chapter of Building Tomorrow aimed to reach 1,150 cyclists by the end of the event, a feat they surpassed according to Stuart Poplin, organization treasurer. All told, the 1,172 Bike to Uganda participants raised $14,000.
"Having Bubba Cunningham, Anson Dorrance and other administrators in the UNC sport world at our event gave our group and our event legitimacy that very few organizations can claim," said Poplin. "Thanks to them for taking the time out of their day to help us and help Ugandan students, we were able to cement ourselves as an event that all UNC students should do before they graduate."