Choosing an organization to support is never easy for a college sports team. There are risks involved. If the organization turns out to be a dud then your team and your college feel the heat.
Not to mention if the student body does not get on board with the organization the entire event could – flop.
That being said, when an opportunity presents itself that sparks excitement for your team, you take it! You hope for a great moment to change the lives of your team and your community.
For SUNY at Geneseo, that opportunity was Dig Pink. The great moment was their campaign that brought their community together working hard for the greater good.
Seizing the Opportunity
Head volleyball coach Hunter Drews wanted to do something different in 2018 for her team and their cause match. She visited the Side-Out website for information on Dig Pink and took two minutes to provide her information for the Dig Pink Toolkit. The foundation connected Drews to a support representative, Sydney Cannice, who would help Drews put on an event – Dig Pink – to raise money for stage IV breast cancer clinical trials.
“Previously we’ve done Alzheimer Awareness matches that have been very well-supported, but we wanted to support a different cause this year,” Drews explained. Drews made her decision to initially reach out to Side-Out with more than just a desire to do something different.
As a volleyball player and coach, Drews heard of “Dig Pink” matches through others within the volleyball community. Drews saw pictures and posts on social media from other teams who hosted Dig Pink events. She witnessed the positive impact the event could have on a team.
The decision was easy for Drews to get SUNY at Geneseo’s women’s volleyball team registered for its own Dig Pink event.
“We wanted to make a difference and Dig Pink made it so easy for us to do that!”
Coach Hunter Drews
Organizing the Event
The months leading up to the match Drews kept in contact with her team support representative.
Cannice and Drews exchanged phone calls and emails making sure the fundraising pages work properly because each team member had their own page in addition to their team page, and to get all the materials they needed to make their debut Dig Pink match a complete success.
“It was incredible to work with Hunter. She was extraordinarily passionate and eager to put her best foot forward to make SUNY at Geneseo’s Dig Pink event a success,” said Cannice. “I enjoyed working with her as she was quick to reach out and utilize the many resources we provide.”
The team committed themselves to not only fundraise online but offline as well. They knew through awareness and a little bit of hype they could get their peers excited about the Dig Pink match and make it as great as they imagined.
“Our team sold t-shirts, wristbands, and ribbons for our Wall of Heroes every day,” said Drews.
The team took advantage of Side-Out’s consignment program. The consignment program allows schools, clubs, or events to sell shirts without having to pay upfront. The teams use the funds to raise money for the team and the cause at the same time.
Every day, more donations and orders came in as word spread around the campus about the event and the cause they were supporting.
Word spread by mouth and on the various social media platforms. The closer the event got, the more the team shared and retweeted getting the word out about the event.
“The campus really pulled together to help us raise as much money as we could.” – Coach Hunter Drews
In addition to selling t-shirts and merchandise on campus, the team also decided to host a silent auction during the match. They worked tirelessly to get donations for the baskets. With help from some parents, they created six baskets for the event!
The Great Moments
The day of the match the Geneseo Facebook and Twitter feeds overflowed with shout-outs, reminders, and invitations to attend the team’s Dig Pink event. Community members and students alike filled the gym. “It was amazing to see the outpouring of support for our cause,” said Drews.
As the team played Houghton College, loyal fans and new fans, drawn to the team’s new cause, cheered them on with all the excitement built during the week prior.
That night, families who heard about the silent auction before the event arrived with five surprise baskets to sell. Fans bid on all 11 baskets during the match and before the third set, the winners collected the prizes.
Throughout the entire event, the Wall of Heroes provided the perfect backdrop. Covered in ribbons representing an entire campus community affected by breast cancer. Displaying the love and the passion behind each play, and all the efforts put forth during the months before. Fighting for more than a winning play, but a winning breast cancer treatment.
And win they did.
SUNY at Geneseo women’s volleyball team won their Dig Pink match against Houghton. In addition to the win on the court, they raised $1,979 to support stage IV breast cancer treatment.
The great moments the team experienced during the 2018 season are going to carry over into 2019.
“There are no limits to how far we can go with our Dig Pink event and it’s so exciting to us because we know the farther we reach, the greater the difference we’ll make,” said Drews.
Drews provided a sneak peek into next year’s plans with the possibility of posters, inviting survivors to honor during the match, the team wearing pink jerseys for the team during the month of October and even getting the opposing team involved.
“As a team support representative, I was encouraged by Suny at Geneseo’s energy and effort. I had a fun time cheering them along and basking in their success when it was all finished.” – Sydney Cannice
For SUNY at Geneseo women’s volleyball, Dig Pink is a great opportunity to connect its team with its peers on campus. It provides a chance for its community to get excited about the great things the volleyball team is able to accomplish and produces the great moments that last a lifetime.