Big Pink Is Going Nationwide; WIU Tourney Oct. 10-13
September 26, 2011
MACOMB, IL – Many people in the Western Illinois University community know what it means when the phrase, "It's time for Big Pink" is vocalized on the Macomb campus in late September and early October. If you don't, the basics are: Big Pink is an annual breast cancer fundraising single-elimination volleyball tournament held at the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center. Since 2002, Big Pink Volleyball has drawn thousands of WIU students, faculty and staff to the Spencer Student Recreation Center, all to bump around a four-foot-wide pink ball. This year, Big Pink will run from Monday, Oct. 10-Thursday, Oct. 13, and the registration deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 4.
What many at WIU may not know, however, is that Big Pink has now spread to 15 other college campuses across the U.S., and that a WIU alumna has established the Big Pink Volleyball National Network. Courtney James, who earned her master's degree from Western's college student personnel program in 2010 and who now works as the assistant director of campus activities at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), started the national network (see http://bigpinkvolleyball.weebly.com/) to help coordinate Big Pink activities nationwide, as well as promote the tournament to other college campuses. As part of earning her advanced degree at Western, she worked with Big Pink sponsors—including Campus Recreation, Thompson Hall, McDonough District Hospital and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization—to help put on the annual tourney.
"At WIU, Big Pink was one of the projects that I was continually the most passionate about," James explained. "Big Pink is for a spectacular cause, and I truly believe that because of this idea that was created at WIU in April 2002, people's lives are being made better. Through our donations nationwide, we are directly helping men and women and are helping people that really need our assistance. As I left WIU, I found that more and more universities were trying to start the tournament, and it only made sense to have a centralized location of information for all things Big Pink," she added.
According to WIU Campus Recreation Associate Director Judy Yeast, since 2002, Western Illinois University's Big Pink Volleyball tournament has raised $67,076.11 for mammograms, other cancer-screening programs and breast cancer research. James noted that she thinks Big Pink is gaining traction on college campuses because supporting breast cancer research is an important cause that many students, faculty and staff recognize.
"I think that everyone knows someone who either is or will eventually be affected by breast cancer. Statistics say that one out of eight women will eventually be affected by breast cancer, and this is a very real and scary statistic," James said. "Like the social responsibility value that WIU practices and facilitates through Big Pink Volleyball, one of UCO's central values is service learning and civic engagement. Big Pink lends itself to that perfectly. In our first year, we were able to raise $3,110.02 and have 1,399 people involved in our programs. The total amount of money that Big Pink has raised at college campuses across the U.S. is $77,113.74. In the future, I hope that grows so that we can continue to educate everyone about proper breast health and the dangers of breast cancer."
This year at WIU, Big Pink will be kicked off with a practice event from 8-11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Spencer Student Recreation Center. More information is available via the "Big Pink Volleyball 2011 Big Pink Kickoff" Facebook event at www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=195769663829169 . (Note, you must be logged into Facebook to see the event.)
The 11th Annual Big Pink Volleyball tournament at WIU is sponsored by Campus Recreation, Thompson Hall, University Housing and Dining Services, University Union Board, Campus Recreation Special Events, as well as by the following Macomb businesses: Aurelio's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Walmart, Lil' Stitches, Engraving by Lin and the International Sandwich Shop.
All proceeds from the Big Pink Volleyball tourney at WIU will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, McDonough District Hospital's digital mammogram services and other cancer-screening programs.
To download the registration and T-shirt order form, as well to get Big Pink Volleyball rules and information, go to www.wiu.edu/student_services/campus_recreation/special_events/bigPinkVolleyball.php, or contact Campus Recreation at (309) 298-1228 or C-Recreation@wiu.edu.
Visit the Facebook page that James started for the Big Pink Volleyball National Network at www.facebook.com/bigpinkvolleyball.