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Everett Administration to host 'Pickleball Madness' tournament

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DTH Photo Illustration. A pickleball paddle sits in the grass on March 20, 2024.

Editor's note: Due to inclement weather, this event has been postponed. A replacement date has not yet been released. 

The UNC Executive Branch will host a "Pickleball Madness" tournament on Saturday in an effort to raise awareness about the Student Health Action Coalition. The tournament, which will be a single-elimination bracket of 25 pairs, will start at 12 p.m. at the South Campus Recreation Complex

Undergraduate Student Body President Christopher Everett said the event, one of his final initiatives in the role, is an opportunity to engage with the campus community.

“I don’t want student government to be branded as just politics,” Everett said

If not for his torn meniscus — which he injured playing pickleball in December — Everett said he would be playing on Saturday.

Everett initially planned to have each team pay a $15 registration fee to donate to SHAC. Due to logistical issues, his administration made the decision on Monday to make the event free for participants.

SHAC is a student-run organization that is a part of UNC’s School of Medicine. The organization hosts a variety of clinics including medical services, an STI testing clinic and dental clinic, as well as resources like gender-affirming care and a syringe service exchange program. Everett said students are encouraged to donate independently through SHAC’s website.

“Everything [provided by SHAC] is completely free for the underserved communities of, honestly, anywhere in North Carolina, but most of our patients come from the Triangle area,” Ricardo Crespo, co-CEO of SHAC and fourth-year medical student, said. The group saw over 1,000 patients in 2023.

Emily Kounlavong, co-CEO of SHAC and MD-Ph.D. student, said the organization receives funding through the UNC Health Foundation and outside donations. This is used to cover the costs of services, labs, vaccinations and medications.

“We want to partner with our community, and I think this event is a great way to do that,” Kounlavong said.

Everett said he first learned about SHAC in 2022 when he and a friend went to a free clinic in Carrboro to explore resources. From that day on, Everett said he was SHAC’s "biggest fan."

Beyond raising money, he said he hopes the tournament will increase visibility for the organization. Pallavi Maladkar, a UNC senior and senior advisor to Everett, said Everett chose pickleball because the sport does not require a lot of experience to play.

“Everyone is encouraged to come out and watch and have fun,” Maladkar said

A total of 22 games will be played, all refereed by UNC Club Pickleball members. Limited equipment will be provided by Campus Recreation, and Everett said participants are encouraged to bring their own paddles. 

All participants will get a free t-shirt, and the top three teams will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. The winning pair will receive two $20 gift cards to The Purple Bowl, gifted by the restaurant on Franklin Street.

Everett said he wants to show that a pickleball tournament can be just as impactful as working to change policy.

“I think this event, in many ways, just encapsulates everything that I’ve been working to build as the president this past year,” Everett said. “I just want to create open and accessible and friendly spaces, where anyone can be invited and welcomed into.”

Registration opened on Monday afternoon for undergraduate and graduate teams. Participants can register using a Google Form published on the UNC Executive Branch Instagram account.

@dailytarheel | university@dailytarheel.com

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