It Takes Two

 This May, siblings, Ashley & Tyler Sundara will trek together with 20+ other UConn students on Choose a Challenge's trek to the lost city of the Incas in Machu Picchu

This May, siblings, Ashley & Tyler Sundara will trek together with 20+ other UConn students on Choose a Challenge's trek to the lost city of the Incas in Machu Picchu

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  Ashley Sundara    Hometown:  East Hartford, Connecticut  Major:  Mechanical Engineering  Hobbies/Passions:  I love playing volleyball, hiking, traveling, painting, photography, and food. 

Ashley Sundara

Hometown: East Hartford, Connecticut
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hobbies/Passions: I love playing volleyball, hiking, traveling, painting, photography, and food. 

  Tyler Sundara  Hometown:  East Hartford, Connecticut  Major:   Mechanical Engineering and Business Fundamentals  Hobbies/Passions:  I love to hike, surf, snowboard and pretty much doing anything outdoors. I also love playing soccer and I am a die hard Tottenham Spurs fan.

Tyler Sundara

Hometown: 
East Hartford, Connecticut
Major:  Mechanical Engineering and Business Fundamentals
Hobbies/Passions: I love to hike, surf, snowboard and pretty much doing anything outdoors. I also love playing soccer and I am a die hard Tottenham Spurs fan.

 

Q: Have you guys always been hikers/adventurers?

AS: I recently got into hiking about two years ago. I think it’s a great way to spend time with your friends/family, enjoy the natural world, take awesome pictures, meet people, and just forget about any stress. My dad always taught us to enjoy the outdoors while we can! 

TS: I have always been a hiker/ adventurer. A lot of people who know me need a break from my energy sometimes. For example, the day before the solar eclipse I drove to South Carolina to see totality and surf. On the spot, impulsive adventures I quite enjoy.

I want to make a break from my pattern of life, and this definitely did it
— Ashley Sundara, University of Connecticut

Q: How did you first hear about Choose a Challenge?

AS: My brother is the one who told me about it. He told me it was a really affordable, awesome trip and at the same time we would be fundraising for a non profit. 

TS: I first heard about Choose a Challenge through Jeremy [UConn's Challenge Team Leader], he's a good friend of mine.  We played a lot of soccer together and the first people Jeremy pitched this idea to was probably me and my friend, Berekat, while playing.

Q: When was the first moment you realized you wanted to sign up?

AS: Truthfully, it was when there were only a few spots left and my boyfriend signed up for one of them, haha. I felt like if he, my brother, and other friends that I know could do it, then I could as well. But also because I wanted to take on a challenge. When I hear about stuff like this, I usually brush it off, but I wanted to do something different and spontaneous. This opportunity seemed perfect for that because it was a huge hiking trip, challenged me to fundraise for a non profit, and also because it looks super fun! I want to make a break from my pattern of life, and this definitely did it.

TS: I realized I wanted to do Choose a Challenge as soon as Jeremy mentioned it to me. I love what Make-a-Wish Connecticut does, and seeing Machu Picchu is on my bucket list. 

Q: How has the fundraising process been?

AS: Although It has been very difficult, I have learned how to organize and create events, but it is hard to draw a crowd in. However, I found that tabling is probably the most effective way to fundraise. 

TS: The fundraising process has been a good challenge. I have been doing a lot of tabling outside of stores to ask for donations and hosted a handful of bar nights at UConn.

It means a lot to be able to go this trip with my sister. My sister and I are very close and I love her to death.
— Tyler Sundara, University of Connecticut

Q: Any advice for current/future Choose a Challenge participants? 

AS: My huge suggestion is to start tabling as soon as possible. If you table every single weekend until the trip you will probably be fine. I table every Saturday or Sunday morning from 10-2, so it barely takes up the day and you don't have to wake up that early. Also, you should not be afraid to ask for donations. 

TS: I think that the advice I have for future participants is to start early. I feel like I did not feel how close the deadline was until recently. Also I feel like setting weekly goals as an individual would have helped me earlier in the process.

Q: How would you describe this experience to someone?

AS: I would say that this trip is definitely going to challenge you in the best way. I think that it is a win-win situation in the sense that you help out a charity, and also get to go on an amazing, inexpensive trip. Also, it will all pay off in the end, and you will accomplish things that you never thought you can do. There is definitely a huge rush to it.

TS: I would describe the experience as challenging but very rewarding. As a college student we have a lot going on so balancing fundraising, school, and a social life can be challenging at times but the reward is great. Not only do you work on your outreach skills, you also work on project management and helping grant wishes for Make-a-Wish is the icing on the cake.

Q: What are you looking to get out of this trip?

AS: I am looking for a sense of accomplishment!! I want to be able to say "I did that", and know what I am capable of doing once I put my mind into it. I am also looking forward to bonding with my other peers who have dedicated themselves for the cause. 

TS: I want to get an experience I will never forget.

Q: What has been the hardest part thus far and how have you handled it?

AS: The hardest part is getting people involved in your cause. I have handled it by throwing it out there. It is hard to get people involved by being passive. 

TS: The hardest thing so far as been actually taking the time to organize what I am going to do to raise money. To combat this I have been doing various events and seeing what works and what doesn't work. Then I incorporate that personal feedback into my planning.

Q: How has your family been throughout this process? What did they think when you both first told them about what you were trying to do?

AS: My family has been very supportive! They have donated to us and gotten some of their friends to donate and come to some of our events as well. They thought that it was a big challenge for us, but were impressed that we took an initiative to get involved. 

TS: I have only told my parents about the trip and they love what I am doing. My parents volunteer for a non-profit in their free time also so they were 100% onboard. We also have an huge extended family because I have a lot of uncles, I have yet to tell them about the trip because I going to start outreach next week to raise more money.

Q: How does it feel knowing you'll both be embarking on this incredible trip with your sibling? What does that mean to each of you?

AS: It's really cool! It's really great to brainstorm with someone and kind of add a competitive edge to it. It's also cool to have instant connections and support throughout this process. 

TS: It means a lot to be able to go this trip with my sister. My sister and I are very close and I love her to death. Im pretty sure we will both make the deadline so this trip should be one we shouldn't forget.


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To learn more about Ashley & Tyler's trip visit the official Machu Picchu challenge page and register your interest today!

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Machu Picchu

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