A New Twist On The Carolina-Duke Rivalry

Chapel Hill, N.C. – Duke blue and Carolina blue normally don’t mix. The heated rivalry between Duke University and the University of North Carolina athletic teams makes every sporting event hard-fought. But this week, you might spot UNC and Duke student-athletes wearing each others’ colors, albeit briefly.

The athletic departments from both schools have partnered with the nonprofit COMPASSION IT to help promote the message of sportsmanship and compassion to the Chapel Hill-Durham community and beyond during ACC Sportsmanship Week, April 10-16.

On Monday, April 10, the student-athletes will be sharing their message of sportsmanship and compassion with students at Glenwood Elementary School. They’ll also be showcasing acts of compassion through their social media platforms, and they hope others will join this initiative by taking photos and using the hashtag #ACCompassionIt.

“What an amazing opportunity to show the world that rivals can be compassionate. If two of our country’s most storied and competitive programs can find a way to spread the message of compassion together, then everyone can,” says Cricket Lane, UNC’s assistant athletic director of student-athlete development.

“We always talk about how leadership is about relationships in our programs. Compassion is big piece of successful relationships. This is a great way to collaborate and spread the message that before we are athletes or rivals, we are all humans first,” adds Leslie Barnes, assistant athletic director of student-athlete development at Duke.

Using COMPASSION IT’s two-sided silicone wristband as a tool, the student-athletes will flip the wristband from one side to the other when they do an act of compassion. Normally the wristbands are black and white, but COMPASSION IT created a special wristband for this initiative. Tar Heels will begin with the Duke blue side out in the morning and flip it to the Carolina blue side when they “compassion it,” and Blue Devils will begin with the Carolina blue side out.

Maggie Berra, a junior on the UNC crew team, helped introduce COMPASSION IT to the two schools. “I have been so honored to work on this campaign. I wear my band every day and love it when I get to flip it to Carolina blue!”

COMPASSION IT was founded by UNC graduate Sara Schairer, and the nonprofit and global movement has inspired compassionate actions and attitudes in more than 50 countries and all 50 states.

“I have dreamed of using this Carolina-Duke rivalry to show the world that ‘enemies’ can still treat each other with respect. It’s a particularly relevant message in today’s world,” says Schairer.

COMPASSION IT’s mission is to inspire compassionate actions and attitudes. Started in 2012, the San Diego-based nonprofit offers various compassion education programs, tools, and free resources.

For more information, see www.compassionit.com or email Schairer at [email protected]


COMPASSION IT’s mission is to inspire daily compassionate actions.


We envision a world where compassion is practiced by every person, for every person, on every day.

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