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DU Staffer Setting Out on the Colorado Trail

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Jon Stone

Media Relations Manager

Jon Stone

Theresa Ahrens

Ben Gerig will complete the long-distance hike on the Colorado Trail

News  •

It's not how most people, in fact just about everyone, plan to spend their summer vacation. However, on Saturday July 2, DU staff member Ben Gerig will begin hiking 250 miles along the rolling Colorado Trail, from Buena Vista to Durango. Last year he hiked the first half of the trail, from Denver to Buena Vista. Gerig is completing the 500 mile hike in support of the local nonprofit restaurant So All May Eat (SAME) Café.

“I’ll be heading out with a 30-pound pack and my cattle dog Fletcher to finish what we started last summer,” says Gerig. “It’s been fun to see my DU colleagues and friends rallying behind this effort—I think giving back is stamped into DU’s DNA, and I’m excited to be able to live that out on the trail.”

Gerig arrived at DU in the spring of 2012 and has worked with the Daniels College of Business, the Lamont School of Music and the University Communications and Marketing team. In the fall of 2013, he also joined three Daniels graduate students to organize a benefit concert, helping raise funds for survivors of the massive floods in Boulder, Colo.

“As a part of our course at the business school, the final assignment was to coordinate a social capital project,” Gerig says. “Our team chose to host a classical music fundraiser, bringing people together to support Colorado’s regional flood relief efforts. I appreciate that community service is woven into Daniels business curriculum and across DU.”

This summer, Gerig hopes to extend his work with DU’s Sustainability Council, helping raise awareness about issues of food justice in Denver. The proceeds from this year’s hike will be going to SAME Café, a local pay-what-you-can organic food restaurant that feeds thousands of Denver residents each year. Additionally, three undergraduate students will be growing fresh produce to donate to SAME this summer, as a part of DU’s budding community garden initiative.

“Working at DU has really opened my eyes to the importance of creating more sustainable systems in our neighborhoods, cities and the world,” Gerig says. “Social sustainability is the idea that we are all interconnected, environmentally, economically and emotionally, so hiking in the woods for two weeks is a wonderful way to fully realize that.”