UAF Women’s Basketball raises funds for Diversity and Action Center

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 7:44 PM AKDT
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On October 17, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Women’s Basketball team participated in the ‘Race for Change 5K', a nationwide, virtual event with the aim of affecting change in local communities.

Numerous athletic programs for all over the country joined the initiative, and UAF decided to pitch the funds raised towards the Nanook Diversity and Action Center (NDAC). The NDAC “provides a welcoming space, educational programming, and opportunities to transform social concerns into actions”, according to their website, where more information about their missions, goals and values is located.

The collaboration between a student affairs program like NDAC, and an athletic program like the women’s basketball team, is something UAF Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Athletics Keith Champagne envisioned when he took on the role in 2017.

“It means a lot, it means that our student-athletes are socially conscious." said Champagne. "We have always talked about student-athletes and athletics being a catalyst for social change and the women’s basketball team took that to heart and are making a difference. They are leaders in the classroom, on the court, and they have a great platform to bring about that change.”

For the Nanook Diversity and Action Center, the fundraising gesture gave the program reassurance that what they do is important.

“For them to take time to do this, it means a lot and it was incredibly validating because here in the office, we felt seen, we felt valued, we felt like what we do matters,” said NDAC Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Jo Malbert Narvaez said. “I think it really says a lot when we have an athletic team supporting initiatives for diversity and inclusion, it really speaks volumes as far as what is important to them and what they value.” he added.

While the Nanooks will not take the basketball court until 2021, they are still actively looking for ways to make changes in the community.

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