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Shattering the frat boy stereotype
Bryan Janzing is not a stereotypical frat boy and he loves breaking down those myths.
For example, Janzing is a worship leader in a college ministry at Washington State University, where he is studying communications. He just completed his junior year.
Janzing spent his spring break on a mission trip to Nicaragua as part of that ministry group.
He is no stranger to service having been a part of the Kent Youth Police Board while a student at Kentwood as well as a member of Young Life.
One of the things that drew Janzing to his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, was the organization’s dedication to service. It is the only fraternal organization to have a national philanthropic foundation, Push America, which is dedicated to helping people with disabilities.
“Something that’s really pushed from day one in the fraternity is Push America,” Janzing said.
His chapter at WSU tries to do service projects to help those with disabilities during the school year, Janzing said, and they were able to build a wheel chair ramp for a family on the outskirts of Moscow, Idaho, that had a member who was wheel chair bound.
This summer he will spend 67 days raising money as part of a bike ride across the country for Push America’s flagship program called Journey of Hope.
Janzing was hand picked to be a crew member. His job will be to support the riders during the trip. He is on the route that starts in San Francisco with all riders ending up in Washington, D.C., after tackling 30 to 90 miles a day.
Riders and crew members come from the ranks of Pi Kappa Phi members and alumni.
In addition to providing support for the riders on his team, Janzing will serve as the public relations coordinator.
“We have tasks to help them but we each have our own distinct tasks,” he said. “I’m the public face of the north route. It’s on me to make sure that all goes smoothly.”
While on the route, if a reporter wants to learn more about Journey of Hope, they’ll interview Janzing.
It will be a prime opportunity to break down some of the misconceptions people have about frat brothers.
“I love the reactions I get, ‘Frat guys on bikes,’” Janzing said. “That’s what our whole fraternity is founded on ... trying to dispel those general perceptions about fraternities.”
Personally he hopes to raise $2,500 for the cause while they trek across the country working with people with disabilities in addition to supporting the riders.
The guys who are riding are expected to raise $3,500 with the overall goal to raise $500,000 for Push America.
During the trip that will take up all but three weeks of his summer, including training and travel to the start point in San Francisco, Janzing said he has been told to expect to stay in a school gym one night and potentially a five star caliber hotel the next night.
He hopes to challenge his own perceptions about people that he formed growing up in “Covington/Kent suburbia” as he travels the country.
“By working with people and finding out what they need ... you can learn so much about how to live your life, as well,” Janzing said. “My big expectation is to have my mind blown.”