Indianapolis University will host its 14th annual dance marathon on February 26 from 2-10 p.m. Last year the event was staged differently due to COVID-19 guidelines, however, senior lead nurse and dance marathon chair Lauren Meadows said they hope to bring the event back to normal this year.
The dance marathon raised about $66,000 in the 2019-2020 school year, while they only raised about $42,000 last year, according to Priscilla Garcia, a junior political science major and director of Morale’s dance marathon. She said they had a fundraising goal this year of around $66,000 to match the amount they raised two years ago. With the funds raised, half will go to pediatric disease research and the other half to child life specialties, Meadows said.
Last year, students could only come for four hours and alternated between Schwitzer Student Center stations, and Meadows said much of the family and networking aspect the event typically has has been lost. . This year, she said they would resume hosting the event at Ruth Lilly Fitness Center, with social distancing and mask-wearing at all times.
“Our big push is that even if we want to get together and have fun and go pre-COVID[-19] … we have to be careful and always social distance and adjust things,” Meadows said. “But it’s still important to have that event because at the end of the day we benefit Riley’s kids…. If we don’t have that event they also suffer because we’re not able to provide them with that. so much fundraising.
The event will include food, games, raffles, fundraising events and stories from children and families who have been to Riley Children’s Hospital, Meadows said. They have the entire gym booked and decorated so they can have a stage and games around the basketball court, Garcia said. She said Riley’s stories are a big part of the event where families come to share their stories about patients who are currently at Riley Children’s Hospital.
“They are super important because our RSO [Registered Student Organization] is affiliated with Riley Hospital for Children…it gives us a whole reason why we are fundraising in the first place,” Garcia said. “Because we listen to these stories, and how our money affects them, and helps them and all that.”
This year the event has a maximum capacity of 150 people in the Ruth Lilly Fitness Center. Garcia said a big goal of the dance marathon is not just fundraising, but to get more people involved in their organization. She said she hopes more people will participate this year as they are able to have a greater capacity than last year.
“Other goals, besides fundraising, would probably be just to make sure everyone has a good time, to definitely engage people, and to stay on our RSO for next year,” Garcia said. “You really want to have good retention and bring in more people this year so they can see what an amazing event it is.”
Students are encouraged to come to the dance marathon in order to learn more about the event and what it is all about. Meadows said she wanted this event to make UIndy students feel like part of something bigger than themselves, and she wants the event to be accessible to all students and faculty. . She said everyone is welcome and anyone thinking of coming should do so.
“Don’t be afraid of the dance aspect of Dance Marathon. If you are interested in coming we would love to have you, everyone is more than welcome,” Meadows said. “We just want to provide a fun and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone on campus. [It’s] a chance to meet new people and do something you normally couldn’t.