Good morning Challenge Accepted fans. This morning, as I eat my bread-free breakfast, I wanted to share a story about four SU students taking on their own challenge this summer. This story, which can found in the spring 2011 issue of Equal Time, follows four bros as they plan a trip across America. Read on for the full story.
Bro-ing across the Country
For four seniors, the real world won’t start until their bro-trip ends.
By Leah Rocketto
After graduation Syracuse University seniors plan to leave the comfort of Chuck’s and nightly partying to enter the world of brick buildings and daily jobs. Four seniors, however, plan to enter the real world a little later than their classmates. On May 16, Derek Charles, Dom Denaro, Chris Hornstein, and Adam Piskin will hop in a van and head off on the ultimate adventure – a two month road trip across the United States.
Friends since freshman year, this foursome are as close as some families. They speak their minds, even if it means offending someone. They fight and argue, but make up by the end of the day. The group even admits to being a mini family, with each guy taking on a certain role. Known for his responsibility, Piskin takes on the role of father figure. Piskin, who abstains from alcohol, keeps the others under control when they go out. Hornstein, the silent but sweet member, acts as the mother. His affection only adds to his motherly persona, admitting to constantly cuddling and hugging the other bros. Given their constant need to tell a joke and goof off, Charles and Denaro were deemed the children in the family. Their constant bickering only adds to the imaginary sibling rivalry.
To celebrate the four year friendship, the boys decided to take a family trip across the country and began planning their trip in fall of 2010. Inspired by Hornstein’s dad, who also traveled across the U.S. after college, they thought a road would be the best way to finish their time at SU. “My dad and his friends did a road trip after college graduation,” Hornstein says. “He said it was the best time of his life.” In addition to inspiring the trip, Hornstein’s dad offered to fund the trip, paying for gas and transportation – a deluxe minivan, complete with a television, an X-Box and internet connector, and a fold-out bed in the back seat.
With the transportation secured the boys began planning their cross-country adventure, highlighting the route on a map in their hallway. They also created a to-do list for the trip ranging from intense, like sky-diving, to the insane, like completing a Man v. Food challenge, to the nearly impossible, like kissing a nun. As the trip began to take shape, the boys started to think about all the stories they’d have to share – especially with their families. That’s when the idea of blogging hit Denaro. “I wanted to make something our families could follow on a daily basis, rather than two-hour phone calls every two days,” Denaro says.
As the year went on, Denaro realized that their blog could attract an audience larger than just family and friends. With the increased popularity of travel shows among college students, Denaro thought their trip could draw substantial attention. Combining Denaro’s creativity with Piskin’s marketing skills, the boys created BropTrippin.com.
The title of BroTrippin seemed like a natural fit, since these boys consider themselves the broest of bros. “Most people think a bro is some dick in a frat, but that’s not what a bro is at all,” Denaro explains. “A bro is just a really nice guy who everyone wants to hang out with.” Charles adds to Denaro’s definition, stating that a true bro, “parties the hardest, chills the hardest, and rocks the hardest.”
After finding the perfect name for their trip, the bros tried to find additional funds. Although they plan to pay for the trip out of their own pockets, Piskin thought the group could benefit from any additional financial aid. “As graduating seniors, our funds are a little tight,” Piskin says. “We’re trying to get anything to help lower the cost of the trip.”
Piskin sent out a sales pitch to several local and national companies, outlining the purpose of the trip and how BroTrippin can benefit the company. Piskin wrote that through their strong social following on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the companies could gain a lot of exposure. In exchange for advertisements, the boys ask the companies for any type of donation “to help aid in travels and comfort,” be it an item, like gift cards or entertainment, or money. As of now, sponsors include HolyShirt, Jimmy John’s and Best Buy. “At the end of the day, we will take anything the company is willing to give us. Any addition amenities from sponsors will make the trip more enjoyable and easier on us financially.”
The boys plan to use any monetary donations to pay for activities, like skydiving or white water rafting, which will help attract readers to the site. However, they do not intend on keeping all of the money. The boys intend to donate half of any monetary donations to the contributor’s charity of choice. “We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have this opportunity,” Piskin says. “If a company will help us out, we feel it’s only right to share the wealth.”
Piskin believes the sponsorships will improve the boys’ trip as well as improve their exposure. “We hope to gain exposure by being connected to a reputable brand,” Piskin says. Through the exposure, the boys hope to turn their tiny trip into a popular television show.
“A lot of people have been comparing us to “The Buried Life” on MTV,” Denaro says. “But we have way more to offer than those guys do.”
“We’re also way more fun than those guys,” Charles adds.
With a better concept and better personalities than those of “The Buried Life”, these bros believe their trip has the potential to turn into something bigger than a blog. Recently, the boys sent a sale pitch to MTV looking for some type of sponsorship. They hope this initial contact will result in a potential deal with MTV for documentary series. Ultimately, they want the opportunity to take their trip across the pond for a European bro-trip.
In the end, these bros do not care about staring in a show or creating a major fan base. They simply want a fun way to finish their four years at SU. “As long as there are bars everywhere we go, then we’ll be happy,” Charles jokes. But the bro trip will ultimately offer memories beyond bar-hopping across the country. “We just want to have a good time before we start ‘real life’,” Denaro says.
Between the party-intense destinations, like Las Vegas and Key West, and the good time guaranteed to-do list, these bro-some foursome is in for one brotastic adventure.
A bit longer than most of my posts, but one I felt I needed to share. To keep up with the bros this summer visit their website and follow them on twitter. And don’t forget to pick up your issue of Eqaul Time at SU.