Since it became nationally popular, student athletes at the University of Indianapolis have participated in Pink Week, which takes place Oct. 6-10. These student athletes raise awareness by wearing pink to their events throughout the week, or even the entire month of October, and some teams even raise money for research during events.
According to Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sue Willey, each UIndy athletic team is responsible for coming up with ways to participate in Pink Week. Teams also will be doing different events throughout the month of October, such as the volleyball team, which will host a Dig Pink match on Tuesday, Oct. 21, against Cedarville University. The football team will be using pink tape, gloves, cleats and armbands during the month of October also to raise awareness.
Even with all of the support through wearing pink apparel, the question remains whether or not wearing pink actually helps raise awareness.
“I think it [wearing pink] does [raise awareness]. And I think it represents the idea that they are more than just students and athletes,” Willey said.
According to Willey, UIndy athletics has been participating in Pink Week for about 15 years.
“Perhaps one team did it then, and now it’s grown. So now you almost expect something to be done by every team,” Willey said. “In the last eight to ten years, everybody has gotten on board. So there’s a lot more [participation] now than there used to be.”
Willey said that it is great to see her student athletes wearing pink apparel to raise awareness for breast cancer.
“We really talk in our department about how we want out student athletes to be good in academics, good in athletics, but also good citizens and to have an understanding about community engagement and giving back,” Willey said. “I’m always proud of them, but they blow me away half the time with all that they do, so it’s really great.”
Vicky Swank, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner for the Student Health Center, said that she believes UIndy’s athletic teams are doing great in raising awareness and money for breast cancer research.
Pink Week is not the only event in which UIndy athletics participates. Each team has participated in several other different programs. Women’s soccer has supported the Free2Play campaign, men’s soccer promotes cancer awareness by wearing pink jerseys in a match, wrestling supports the Childhood Leukemia Foundation, volleyball hosts its Dig Pink match, softball supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association, swimming and diving participates in a pink meet, women’s basketball participates in Play4Kay and men’s basketball is involved in Coaches v. Cancer through the American Cancer Society. Another program that UIndy Athletics supports together is the Make-A-Wish Foundation, raising more than $2,500 last year.
“I think young people today are really smart about community service and volunteering,” Swank said. “All those extra things [programs] that go on give them more and more ways that they can do that.”