Alumnus runs across America to learn about community problems

by University Communications,

He’s run marathons and climbed mountains. Now Adam Meyer ’09 is testing his body’s limits by running 3,000 miles across the country.

“This is an incredible personal and physical challenge,” Meyer says. “This will likely be the most challenging feat I will ever experience.”

Meyer, accompanied by his running partner Ashley Donovan, embarked on their journey on July 28 from Portland. They plan to arrive in Washington, D.C. in late November.

Their goal is to engage with people whose lives they seek to improve.

“I have always looked for opportunities to work with people, to find common ground, and to problem solve as a community regardless of differences,” says Meyer, who works as a policy and legislative advocate in Washington, D.C.

“This run is an attempt to understand that in a different way — at the local level, at a pace that encourages thoughtful conversation, and in a way that shares success and inspiration.”

Living Willamette's motto

A politics major, Meyer has so far traversed much of Oregon. He’s spoken with a retired Oregon legislator, who led the charge on Oregon’s hallmark bottle bill passed in 1971. He also met with leaders on the Warm Springs Reservation to discuss Native American issues and the importance of culture, education and land and water preservation.

Meyer says his goal is to listen to what people feel is important in their day-to-day lives. He wants to share ideas that have proven to be successful, and he hope to gain a better understanding of what issues communities across the country encounter and value.

“Not all places are the same,” he says, noting politics, cultures and economic environments as examples. “During this journey, I hope to find a focus for my own career based on where there is the most need.”

Meyer says his investment in helping others was inspired by his Willamette experience.

While a student, he worked as a community advisor at Kaneko Commons, served as an advisor on the Sustainability Committee, and helped raise funds for Kaneko’s outdoor barbecue and fire pit. He also volunteered as a campus EMT through Willamette Emergency Medical Services (WEMS).

Now, through his run across the country, Meyer says he’s seeking yet another way to stay true to Willamette’s motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.”

“Willamette University will leave an impression on me for the rest of my life as I hope this trans-America initiative will,” he says. “It’s my belief that we all benefit from strong communities. By sharing successful ideas and experiences, we can improve the quality of life for all people.”

For more information about Meyer’s run across the country — or to sponsor his cause — go to