The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi athletic department will host the annual Dig Pink night on Thursday when the Islanders play Sam Houston State. Dig Pink is a national initiative by the Side-Out Fondation, the NCAA and its member universities around the nation to help raise breast cancer awareness and help in the early detection of the illness.

Islander volleyball kicks off its match against the Bearkats at 7 PM, but before that, the athletic department and the Promotion of Sport class will be working together to provide a fun pre-game atmosphere for students and fans attending the contest.

Dr. Liette Ocker is the professor of the Promotion of Sport and has seen the efforts of her students help many people throughout the Coastal Bend.

"This event and these students have a big impact on the Coastal Bend," said Ocker. "They have saved many lives with their efforts, more than they probably realize."

The event benefits First Friday, a local charitable organization that helps in the prevention of breast cancer by teaming with Christus Spohn hospital to provide free mammograms to patients in need from around the area.

First Friday now considers the Promotion of Sport class and the Islander athletic department to be one of its major sponsors after the two groups have helped raise nearly $10,000 over the past three years. This year's contributions are expected to push the donations over the $10,000 mark as the event continues to grow.

The efforts of the class are split into several different groups, with one group raising awareness in the community while seeking donations to raise money for the cause. Another group distributes change jars that are put into local businesses to help promote the event to a much wider group of people. One group has the primary responsibility of marketing the event of Dig Pink on campus by contacting other organizational groups and seeking participation from them. The final groups do direct advertising by bringing Izzy the Islander around campus during classes to get the word out about the event and encouraging all students to attend and by doing all of the graphic design for the match and preceding activities.

"A lot of universities don't give their students the chance to do this," said Ocker. "We are very honored that Islander athletics gives us the chance and in turn have produced a very successful event."

The events begin at 5 PM with a cake walk, face painting, Izzy moon bounce and dunk tank among the activities available for students and fans. The first 150 fans to the game will also receive a "Dig Pink" t-shirt. Faculty and staff tickets are available for just $3 while all TAMUCC students receive free admission with a valid student ID.