USD Freshman Peddles the West Coast for Uganda


USD Freshman Pedals the West Coast for Uganda 
Trek of 1,450 Miles to Help Stop Use of Children as Soldiers

Incoming University of San Diego freshman Nathan Phillips plans to bike to school this summer, a 1,450-mile trip that will take him from the start of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail in Astoria, Ore., to San Diego in support of the children of central Africa in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. 

Phillips’ trip from Aug. 11 to 25 will benefit Invisible Children, a San Diego-based organization seeking to end the conflict in central Africa and stop the use of children as soldiers. He will be leaving at 7 a.m. Thursday morning, crossing the Astoria-Megler Bridge between Washington and Oregon. 

Phillips had mentioned to a friend that he wanted to do a big bike ride before school and then realized he could do it in support of a worthwhile cause. Phillips of Redmond, Wash., visited Uganda during high school and worked in an orphanage there. He was also inspired by a presentation by Invisible Children at his high school.

Supporting a nonprofit whose base is in his future home as well as whose focus is in a country where he has worked is meaningful to  Phillips. “I have been to Uganda and personally gotten to know some of the kids affected by the war,” he said. “They have scars and burns from the soldiers. They have no homes or families. I would do anything to help these kids.”

When he leaves on Thursday, he plans to ride roughly 100 miles per day down  the coast. His father, Douglas Phillips, will ride with him for the first 840 miles to San Francisco. There, his new roommate, Kyle Sharp of Modesto, Calif., will meet him and accompany him for the last 600 miles to San Diego. 

Phillips has already raised $1,540 in support of his trip and his goal is to reach $2,000. Checks made out to Invisible Children can be sent to 11015 246th Ave. N.E., Redmond, Wash. 98053. All donations are tax deductible.

His arrival at USD is set for late in the day on Aug. 25.

“We are very impressed with Nathan’s heroic efforts to aid the victims of central Africa's civil war and are excited that he will be bringing his energy and compassion to USD for the next four years,” said Pamela Gray Payton, assistant vice president of Public Affairs. “Nathan’s passionate commitment to improving the lives of children more than 8,000 miles away resonates with the university’s mission to prepare future leaders to change the world for the better. We are delighted to have Nathan as a member of our campus community and wish him a safe journey to campus.”

Invisible Children uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers by the Lord’s Resistance Army and restore LRA-affected communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity. The organization held a conference, “Fourth Estate” at USD earlier this month. Currently, Invisible Children is focused on a Five-Step Plan for Protection and Rehabilitation that includes building a high frequency communication network, funding search and rescue teams and providing rehabilitation and resettlement. 


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.