The women’s volleyball team will be holding their fourth annual “Dig Pink” match Thursday against Lasell College in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The women will be sporting both pink warmup t-shirts and socks for the event.
“Dig Pink” is put on every year by the Side-Out Foundation, an organization that raises money for research and support. Every October, the group gives volleyball squads across the country the opportunity to host such an event and contribute to their cause.
Admission to the game is free, but donations will be taken at the door and all proceeds will go directly to the foundation. The yearly goal of $500 is something sophomore libero Sam Harton said is easily attainable because of the nature of the school.
“Especially at Emerson, people are really into giving to the cause and trying to help people out,” Harton said. “I think it’s a really good culture we have in this school.”
The Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym will also be decorated with balloons, streamers, and signs to highlight the 7 p.m. match, all in an effort to bring to attention the impact the disease can have.
Harton, a writing, literature and publishing major, is no stranger to the cause. She said every volleyball team she has played for has participated in a “Dig Pink” event of their own and has enjoyed playing for the charity.
“It’s a more fun way to raise awareness and just get people thinking about it,” Harton said.
Head coach Ben Read has been the primary coordinator of Emerson’s yearly fundraiser since its inauguration in 2012. Read orders the T-shirts that the women wear during pregame and reaches out to his opponent for the match to offer them a chance to wear pink, too.
“We’re just trying to do our part,” Read said.
Athletic director Patricia Nicol said she knows the effect sports can have on other issues by the large number of spectators they can bring to events.
“Athletics has a unique opportunity to bring attention to this matter,” Nicol said. “By the pure nature of athletics, you’re reaching people.”
Nicol said she plans on organizing more breast cancer awareness events next year but wants to be sure she does so in a professional and sensitive way.
“We try to acknowledge the month,” Nicol said. “But we are respectful in what we do and how we do it so that everyone is impacted in a positive manner.”
Sophomore setter and political communication major Elaine Nichols will be participating in her second “Dig Pink” at Emerson, and said she is honored to be playing in such an event.
“It’s really rewarding, coming together as a team to support breast cancer awareness,” Nichols said. “It’s always nice to see how much money we make and know that it’s going to something great.”
Nichols said the game should be enjoyable because of the event but knows the affair is about more than entertainment.
“It’s fun for [the team] to be in this game,” Nichols said. “But it’s more about how we affect the research for a cure.”
The men’s volleyball squad, which Read also coaches, will be participating in the event by collecting donations at a bake sale happening during the match.
Harton said she believes events like this one are important, especially in these past few years with the progress breast cancer researchers have made in finding a cure and the increasing survival rate of those with the disease.
“It’s important to be part of the bigger picture,” Harton said. “There’s so many bigger things out there to worry about and breast cancer is one of them, so it’s really cool that we get to support that cause.”