GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The University of North Dakota cross country teams are hosting their annual home meet this Saturday. The event will be highlighted by tradition, both longstanding and new.
The program is hosting what will be the 15th anniversary of the naming of the Ron Pynn Classic. However, fans will notice a new change this year: student-athletes will be seen wearing purple and teal in hopes to raise awareness for a very important cause.
The purple and teal meet was inspired by the Big Sky Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) initiative to promote awareness of sexual violence.
The UND SAAC hopes to begin a movement in both the university and Grand Forks communities to raise awareness and to educate everyone. Its mission is as follows:
"One in 10 women will be affected by sexual violence at some point in their life and being a college student heightens that risk. As leaders on this campus, the UND Athletics program understands the impact and voice they have in the Grand Forks community. By wearing teal and purple, we are respectfully standing up together against sexism and violence against women and others. We will do our part to change the culture of violence on our campus, in our community, and in our state.”
Over the next year and, ideally, long into the future, North Dakota student-athletes, coaches, and atheltics staff will have the opportunity to participate in education and training programs. This will include sexual violence education, guest speakers, bystander training, and volunteer opportunities with local non-profits, including the Community Violence Intervention Center. This is all in addition to the purple and teal events.
On Saturday both the UND cross country team and its competitors will be seen wearing purple and teal numbers. The UND women's team will also be wearing colored bows in their hair. In addition, signage will be posted for fans to learn more about this initiative and an announcement will be made before the start of the meet.
Competition is set to begin at 12 p.m. with the women’s 5k race, followed by the men’s 8k at 12:45 p.m. at the Ray Richards Course.