Since the program began in 1991, Dance Marathon has raised over $62 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. There are over 300 schools all over the country that sponsor this event.
In 2013, LSU joined the nationwide movement, and this past weekend, they saw their largest turnouts yet.
Dance Marathon is a fundraising effort run by the students. Throughout the year, participants work for donations in a variety of ways. Their work eventually culminated with the actual dance marathon, a 26.2 hour-long event, running from Friday afternoon to Saturday night.
There, the members of the organization pledged to stay on their feet the entire time through an assortment of dancing, games and activities, including arts and crafts, board games and even “Family Feud” on stage.
Dan Modzelewski, internal director for Dance Marathon at LSU, joked at one point, saying it was actually a little longer than a marathon.
“One of our directors had a fit bit on and from 2 p.m. Friday, to when the event ended on Saturday…she had walked 28 miles,” he said.
Modzelewski also noted that this kind of commitment and dedication is to appreciate every group associated with Dance Marathon.
“It celebrates the families that are treated by the hospital. It celebrates the fundraising efforts from our team around the year, and it celebrates our students who decided to sign up and raise funds,” he said.
At Dance Marathon, there were 115 leaders and 250 student dancers who signed up this year as Dance Marathon teams, and they came from all different parts of campus.
“We have fraternities and sororities, residential halls and residential communities,” Modzelewski said. “And then we have some student organizations who get involved. Anyone that has a couple of friends can form their own team.”
Donations from volunteers come in a variety of different ways, according to Modzelewski. Some of the most common include asking friends and family members, in addition to canning, which is when participants spread their message and ask for money outside local businesses.
The past two years, Dance Marathon has begun working concessions as well, which is a good source of funds in addition to being a great bonding experience.
According to Modzelewski, the donations are sent to the area of most need in that time.
“Certain money is allocated for actual care. Sometimes it’s allocated towards the purchase of equipment,” he said. “Our first year, part of it was dedicated to the Air-Med Team, which was really cool to be a part of.”
Gabby Murphy, the finance director for Dance Marathon, then went into specifics about the donations for this year.
“The way it works is that the national office sets a general goal, and that is to increase funding by 20 percent every year,” Murphy said. “That’s why we’re so excited. We raised $265,839.69, which is a 45 percent increase from last year.”
According to Murphy, this huge growth is not too high and is actually very sustainable.
“It’s proven to be a challenge to get large partnerships when huge companies are already so involved and dedicated in LSU,” Murphy said. “So we wanted to try and tap every single resource. That’s our goal, to get donations from a lot of different areas. Most of our revenue actually did come from from individual fundraising.”
This past weekend, every volunteer put all of their year’s worth of hard work into these 26.2 hours. Krysia Sherburne, the overall director of Dance Marathon, explained what this time means to her.
“Seeing a year’s worth of hard work culminate in the moment that we revealed a fundraising total of more than a quarter of a million dollars was absolutely incredible,” Sherburne said. “It’s a sense of accomplishment that can’t be rivaled, because it truly makes a difference in the Baton Rouge community and beyond. I’m so proud to have been part of creating that sort of culture of philanthropy and involvement that unites students from across campus.”