Promoting inclusivity

Pi Kappa Phi helps empower people with disabilities.

Dr. Bill Stackman participates in the Pi Kappa Phi Bike-A-Thon fundraiser at Speaker's Circle
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Bill Stackman helped Pi Kappa Phi raise funds for the Ability Experience, a non-profit that works to increase inclusivity and accessibility for people with disabilities. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

By Jesse Berlin

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Bill Stackman lent his support last week to help Pi Kappa Phi raise money to promote inclusivity for people with disabilities.

As part of Pi Kappa Phi’s Bike-A-Thon, Stackman rode a stationary bicycle in Speakers Circle for one hour March 9 and helped the fraternity toward their overall goal of raising $9,000.

“I love cycling, even more so when it’s for a good cause,” Stackman said. “I’m proud to be able to help Pi Kappa Phi and I’m grateful for their leadership and service.”

Pi Kappa Phi members and special guests took turns riding stationary bicycles March 9–11 to raise money for the Ability Experience, a Pi Kappa Phi non-profit that works to increase inclusivity and accessibility for people with disabilities.

The Ability Experience organizes recreational events such as sports tournaments, bowling and holiday parties that bring people of all ability statuses together, as well as construction projects in which Pi Kappa Phi members build or renovate structures and facilities that serve the disability community.

“When persons with disabilities participate in community activities, their voices are heard, stereotypes are shattered and views are altered,” said former philanthropy chair and junior DeAndre Fayne. “We all possess unique abilities that should be celebrated and shared.”

One of the recreational events the Ability Experience hosts, the Journey of Hope, inspired Bike-A-Thon.

“Journey of Hope involves Pi Kapps from all over the nation biking from the West Coast to Washington, D.C.,” said the chapter’s vice president, sophomore Cormac O’Dear. “The idea of cycling just seemed to fit.”

On March 9, the fraternity set up in the stationary bikes in Speakers Circle. On March 10 and 11, the bikes were set up at their fraternity house, where Pi Kappa Phi broadcast the fundraiser via a livestream. Over the three days, people could donate money via cash or Venmo or pay $5 to pie cyclists in the face.

Miles and time were not tracked. “We ride to raise awareness,” Fayne said. “The intention is not to see how far you bike, rather for what it’s for:” to unite people with and without disabilities in a shared space participating in a shared activity.

“People with disabilities are frequently told what they can’t do, whether it’s in athletics, hobbies or careers. Open spaces that push these boundaries are essential,” Fayne said. “Every individual should have the right and chance to enjoy their lives to the fullest.”

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