12th Annual Women’s Walk Goes Virtual

Supporters of UNC female student-athletes rally from their homes and neighborhoods to raise $17,000 for scholarships and student support.

There were no high-fives around Nottingham Field for this year’s virtual Women’s Walk, but that didn’t stop more than 240 students, coaches, alumni, faculty, staff, friends of UNC, and the whole Athletic Department from participating in the 12th annual event. The walk, which occurred in homes and neighborhoods around the country, raised more than $17,000 for scholarships and supports the greatest needs of female student-athletes.

Leading up to the walk, UNC shared videos of coaches and student-athletes, safe at home, explaining some of the opportunities the Women’s Walk funds have provided. Leilani Herrera, an MBA student on the swimming and diving team, sent a video from her home in Hawai‘i, talking about the way athletics has enhanced her college experience.

“Being a student-athlete at UNC has honestly brought me to my second family and brought me a ton of great memories that I will never forget.”

On the day of the walk, participants donned Bear gear and got some fresh air, posting videos or photos tagged #UNCWomensWalk. They rode bikes, pushed strollers, skated on rollerblades and brought their dogs. The annual Bear Heiny’s Team showed off their matching T-shirts, per tradition. Kids and parents completed a Bear scavenger hunt, crossing off items they spotted around their neighborhoods or parks.

Herrera typically loves the in-person aspect of the walks — connecting with Bear fans, high-fiving the kids and other walkers who pass by, being with her team. But she wrote that despite the unique situation this year, Bear supporters still came through.

“I have been following along, and I cannot believe the amount the virtual walk raised! It is absolutely fantastic to see everyone come together even in a virtual setting and show their support,” Hererra wrote.

Since its inception, the Women’s Walk has had more than 3,800 participants and raised more than $420,000, according to a conservative estimate. With this support, UNC’s women’s teams and student-athletes are able to succeed in the classroom, on the playing field and in the community.

–Rebecca Dell