College president bikes 655 miles for students in need

John J. Sygielski, president of Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), has raised money for students with financial need through a 655-mile bike ride, Ellie Ashford writes for Community College Daily.

Sygielski's initiative is called "Tour de Dr. Ski," and he has already raised $4,000 through a GoFundMe crowdfunding page, much higher than his initial goal of $1,500. The money will go toward HACC's student emergency fund, which is dedicated to students who are experiencing homelessness, medical needs, or other unexpected expenses.

Students can apply for a grant of up to $500. The fund is meant to eliminate small financial barriers that might get in the way of students graduating.

Why federal financial aid often isn't enough—and what you can do about it

Sygielski, who averaged 93 miles per day, paid a visit to multiple community colleges and four-year schools along his route, which included states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Sygielski says the journey also gave him a chance to promote healthy living and fitness for students at HACC, tell others about the community college, and share interesting historical facts via social media.

Sygielski does the trip every year with a different route. He says it gives him on opportunity to "think about the academic year that just passed, plan for the year ahead and reflect on my own leadership" (Ashford, Community College Daily, 6/9).

Also see: How to predict financial attrition

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