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Students prepare to walk across Rhode Island, raise funds for charity

29 mile walk will raise funds for Givewell’s Top Charities Fund

<p>20 students have already expressed interest in joining. “You could spend all your time inside doing homework or you could go outside and experience Rhode Island,” said Charles Alaimo ‘25, the organizer behind this year’s walk. </p><p>Courtesy of Charles Alaimo</p>

20 students have already expressed interest in joining. “You could spend all your time inside doing homework or you could go outside and experience Rhode Island,” said Charles Alaimo ‘25, the organizer behind this year’s walk. 

Courtesy of Charles Alaimo

At 5:53 a.m. last October, Charles Alaimo ’25, Gabrielle Steinbrenner ’25, Herald copy editor Cerulean Ozarow ’25 and three more friends arrived — in an Uber — at the Rhode Island-Connecticut border. Over the next twelve hours, the group made their way across wooded paths, roads and sidewalks, traveling a total of 29 miles to Seekonk, Massachusetts and completing their walk across the state of Rhode Island.

When Alaimo embarks on the same journey this year, he expects significantly more company:  He has been encouraging Brown students to join the walk across the state. “People keep coming up to me on campus and being like ‘I’m going on the walk,’” Alaimo said, adding that twenty people have already expressed interest via a Google Form.

This year, participants in the walk across Rhode Island will raise money via donations for Givewell’s Top Charities Fund. The raised funds will support initiatives that provide preventative nets and medicines for malaria, as well as vitamin A supplements and vaccines to countries most affected by the virus. 

Ozarow described the walk as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” and recommended it to anyone who feels “up to the task.”

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Last year, the group’s idea for a state-wide walk was largely improvised. While Alaimo had hiking experience, Steinbrenner said she “had not trained for it at all.” Her participation was “spontaneous,” spurred by a last-minute invitation from Ozarow.

While the group tried to remain on schedule, “we were beginning to hurt” just three hours in, Steinbrenner said. 

“The last five miles were really bad,” she added, referencing when the group reached India Point Park. Being so close to home but needing to keep walking proved a challenge, she said. 

Alaimo also admitted that the experience was “painful,” but added that walking for such a long time “changes your perception of distance and time.”

“The landscape of Rhode Island is really pretty in the fall, and it’s cool to go on an adventure like that,” he said, adding that the Ocean State’s small size gives students the unique opportunity to feasibly walk across the whole state.

Steinbrenner highlighted how the walk allowed her to deepen her sense of connection to Rhode Island. “When you fly into college it’s sort of like you teleport there,” she said. “I wanted that sense of location.” 

But this year, Alaimo realized that the cross-state walk “was an opportunity to also do some good.”

“I encourage people to donate,” he said.

For those getting ready for the walk next Sunday, Ozarow recommended preparing by “going on long walks or hikes beforehand.”

And for those who are still unsure, Alaimo has a simple pitch: “You only live once.” 

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“You could spend all your time inside doing homework,” he said. “Or you could go outside and experience Rhode Island.”

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