EDINBURG — The UTRGV Athletic Department and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee rolled out its new collective “Vaqueros United” initiative Monday, which seeks to utilize the UTRGV athletics platform to advocate for positive change and engage in meaningful conversations regarding equality and social justice.

A central component of the Vaqueros United initiative is a patch that was designed in collaboration between UTRGV’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and athletic department officials to show unity and solidarity.

The black-and-white “Vaqueros United” patch will be worn by all UTRGV men’s and women’s athletic programs once competition resumes beginning Nov. 25 with men’s and women’s basketball, while the Vaqueros’ fall sports seasons have been delayed until the spring semester by the Western Athletic Conference.

The Vaqueros United patch that every UTRGV men’s and women’s athletic programs will wear during competition throughout the 2020-21 school year. Courtesy photo | UTRGV Athletics

“It is very empowering, as a young person and student-athlete, to see tangible results like this come together, starting from the concepts presented by my peers, and then receiving strong support from our athletic administration,” said Rachel Yu, UTRGV SAAC President and a senior on the women’s golf team.

“I thank the diversity and inclusion subcommittee(s) of our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for starting this initiative, in hopes of reaching out to the Rio Grande Valley community with the purpose of social change,” said Jamal Gaines, UTRGV SAAC Vice President and a senior forward on the Vaqueros basketball squad. “It’s an honor to be a part of a community where there are multiple organizations and groups of leaders who constantly are taking steps toward a positive change in society.” 

Another part of the initiative is the optional “Vaqueros United pledge,” which pledges to stand united as a campus community against inequality and in promoting diversity and inclusivity.

“Our initial goal is to be ‘350 strong’ and have all members of our athletics community sign the pledge,” UTRGV Vice President and Athletic Director Chasse Conque said. “And we’d like to get the rest of the campus community and the entire Rio Grande Valley community involved, so we can all collectively do our part to promote change.”

The Vaqueros United pledge, a result of the collaboration between the UTRGV SAAC and the athletic department. Courtesy photo | UTRGV Athletics

Email: amcculloch@themonitor.com

Twitter: @ByAndyMcCulloch