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Pawlikiewicz ’13 biking for a better future

  • One of many stops
    One of many stops
    Adam takes a break in Eads, Colo., during the early portion of his 37-day bike journey across America. The photo appealed to him because bald eagles are his favorite animal.
    Courtesy Adam Pawlikiewicz
There’s an old joke about the inveterate traveling salesman who wakes up and remarks, “If it’s Tuesday, this must be ______________ (fill in the blank).”

Every day between now and Sept. 2, that’s how Adam Pawlikiewicz ’13 is going to feel. If it’s Thursday, he’ll tell himself, he must be in Nickerson, Kan.; or Hartville, Mo.; or Utica, Ky.; or Council, Va.

Pawlikiewicz left his hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo., on July 28 to begin a 37-day bike ride across the United States. He will traverse seven states attempting to earn $1 for each of the 2,112.3 miles he will journey. All of the proceeds will be turned over to The Ponheary Ly Foundation (PLF). Although he has barely started, he already has raised commitments worth $1,105. His progress can be followed here.

The PLF is an American 501(c)3 that works to enhance education in Cambodia in several ways. The organization provides school uniforms and supplies to children in the poorest rural regions who otherwise would not be able to attend school.

Once all of the children from a village are properly equipped, the PLF continues to support a government-established school by supplying nutritious breakfasts to those in need, awarding stipends to teachers who earn between $20-$40 per month, help them continue their education, provide bicycles for children who live long distances from their school, even medical help when necessary.

“I got involved with the PLF about a year ago,” said Pawlikiewicz, who majored in Process Management and Consulting. “One of the courses I took in the business school, Global Business Analysis and Immersion taught by Professor (Don) Rahtz, introduced me to the organization.”

Rahtz first became familiar with PLF a decade ago. During that time, Rahtz has purchased books and musical instruments, as well as orchestrating fund-raising events for the organization.

Last year, Rahtz’s class raised more than $5,000 for the organization. During winter break, the class visited Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. While they were in Cambodia they spent three days with the PLF, learning about the organization and its goals, as well as spending ample time with the children they were supporting through school.

“The experience was incredibly rewarding and made me realize how fortunate we are to have access to education in this country,” said Pawlikiewicz.

Pawlikiewicz came to W&M completely by chance, he said. His high school girlfriend was researching the university, Pawlikiewicz decided to check it out, and liked what he saw.

Once here, he participated in a little bit of everything. He played club soccer until his sophomore year, did some acting and spent a spring semester abroad in La Plata, Argentina. Once he returned from that trip, he became heavily involved with the Consulting Club, eventually being elected co-president. He also was secretary of Ludwell Hall Council and was a brother of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

Once he has concluded his trip, he will join the Deloitte Consulting firm in Washington, D.C., as a federal analyst. Before then, however, there are miles to go.

“I’m very happy for him – and proud of him – for picking up the torch for PLF,” Rahtz said. “Adam really wanted to make a difference. He now is.”