Meghan Chartier Guides Teammates to Elevate “Dig Pink” Campaign

By Britney Dixon | Sports Manager

Paper ribbons in four different shades of pink adorned royal blue brick walls while hot pink streamers floated from doorways.

Placed at random and in the shape of a larger ribbon, the papers were marked with patterns, words, and names of breast cancer victims.

This year’s Roger Williams University women’s volleyball “Dig Pink” game was projected to surpass last year not only in fundraising, but also in awareness, especially under the control of senior Meghan Chartier.

Chartier, from Inverness, Illinois, is an international relations student at RWU and the libero for the women’s volleyball team. After Chartier’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, she was determined to get the team involved and increase widespread awareness. Chartier became the team’s advocate and immediately started brainstorming.

Chartier teamed up with Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) to sell paper ribbons and pink t-shirts in the Commons in the weeks leading up to the game.

“Honestly, I thought of the fundraising when I was just making lunch,” Chartier said. “I was thinking, ‘What would be a good idea to get people involved?’”

Coming to RWU at the start of her junior year, Chartier immediately noticed a different dynamic in the athletics department. She observed that most athletes stick with their own teams and students don’t tend to be as supportive. This was something she was determined to change this year.

“I want to get students coming to games and being really excited about it,” Chartier said. “So, I said let’s have them decorate some ribbons and come find them at the game.”

Chartier’s idea soared above her expectations when they ran out of ribbons and t-shirts by the end of the second day of fundraising. CAC stocked up to sell more T-shirts, chocolate covered pretzels, women’s volleyball merchandise, and ribbons.

Emily Heubel and the other CAC fundraising chairs showed their support for RWU athletics by coming early to help the team decorate the gym.

“It was a great way to combine some different communities on campus, and seeing everyone work together was a real joy for me,” Heubel said.

Chartier was impressed and overjoyed by the fundraising and the support of her peers.

“It was fun. Everyone on the team was so excited that we were doing it,” Chartier said. “We were yelling ‘save the tatas’ in Commons and everyone was having fun and laughing.”

Aside from Dig Pink, Chartier participated in the Making Strides for Cancer walk in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday. She exceeded her personal $100 fundraising goal, and the team used the Dig Pink donations towards their team goal, where they raised $534.

Head Coach Danielle Soubliere, who walked with the team on Sunday, is a member of the Side-Out Foundation, which teams up with volleyball teams nationwide to spread awareness and raise funds for breast cancer research.

Soubliere created a Facebook page for anyone to donate to, which the team promoted on their Instagram page.

Chartier’s parents have been breast cancer advocates since she was in high school. For every ace in the Dig Pink match, they donated $25 to the Side-Out Foundation. The team performed nine service aces on Saturday, resulting in an extra $225 towards breast cancer research.

With all the excitement, Chartier knew the team needed to stay focused on the task at hand.

“I’ve been stressing that fundraising and everything is really important, but it’s also a conference match at the same time. We were excited about planning Dig Pink, but I don’t want it to take away from the focus,” Chartier told her teammates.

The Hawks were undefeated in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) going into Saturday’s game and were eager to maintain their streak against Gordon College. Coming off their win against University of Massachusetts Boston on Friday, they spiked their adrenaline and enhanced their performance in their competition against the 11-9 Scots.

“We do have targets on our back, and I think that when teams come here, they know to stay focused,” Chartier said.

Keeping this in mind, the Hawks sprayed pink in their hair, suited up, and raced through the hot pink streamers towards their eighth straight and sixth overall CCC win. The crowd, always engulfed by the team’s energy, geared up in pink and waved posters as they cheered on their hometown Hawks.

The men’s volleyball team made their presence known as they continued their tradition of counting the opponent’s bounces before a serve.

The team’s energy, however, was something special on Saturday. They knew how important the game was for their season and for the occasion. The women had an undeniable drive to win. Performing with increased communication and attacking the ball, the Hawks came to an easy shutout victory.

The Hawks, in particular, had strong play against the net. Quick reflexes led to multiple saves by sophomores Grace Kenningham and Lara LoIacono, junior Jill McManaman, and Chartier. This enhanced play led to longer volleys, which tired out the Scots resulted in another point for the Hawks.

It was clear how important the event was to Chartier, even on the court. With seven assists, Chartier commanded the court, diving for balls and setting up Kenningham and LoIacono.

Throughout the season, the team chemistry has been something that Soubliere has been proud of.

“This is the best team that I’ve ever played on,” Chartier said. “I love the energy, and every person on this team is supportive and fun. The atmosphere is just awesome and the personalities are so different but it works. We just have fun.”

Looking forward, the Hawks are working toward continuing their outstanding CCC record and driving for the CCC championship title.

“We know what we want,” Chartier said. “And when we want it, we go out and get it.”

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