Three recent Winona State University graduates will embark on a journey across the country to help others in need and shed light on the most neglected parts of the U.S.

Spencer Hartz of Geneva, Wis.; Kai Hovden of Geneva, Wis.; and Wiley Koehler of Cedarburg, Wis., will travel across the U.S. this summer and work with nine different organizations in seven cities to discover how people are helping one another. They plan to film their discoveries and make a documentary on what they believe to be the biggest social, political and economic issues of our time.

Planned stops include the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Skid Row in Los Angeles and assisting with rebuilding efforts in the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

The Starfish Project also aims to raise money for the organizations it will assist during the cross-country journey. After the conclusion of the trip, it will hold a welcome back fundraiser from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6 at Simple Café in Lake Geneva, Wis. The cost is $10 per person and all proceeds benefit The Starfish Project.

The three met while all attending WSU. Hartz graduated in spring 2013 with a degree in business administration. Koehler graduated in 2011 with an associate’s degree and is pursuing his bachelor’s in political science at Western Washington University. Hovden is a current student at WSU, majoring in political science and minoring in Spanish.

If you would like to donate, visit

For more information, visit The Starfish Project on Facebook.

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Maire McMahon

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