As you embark on your college journey you will constantly hear the phrase, “get involved.” What do they mean? They are talking about getting “involved” with extracurriculars on campus. Choosing a student organization, sports team, volunteer group, or any other activity can be extremely beneficial for college students.
It leads them to better manage their time by making decisions on when to focus on each responsibility. It strengthens their interpersonal skills because they are working with other, often diverse, people. They are building a network of people where they can form friendships and connections that will help them down the road. It teaches them to care about something outside of themselves. An excellent student organization to involve yourself in order to focus on the last point is Dance Marathon.
What’s Dance Marathon?
What is Dance Marathon? It is a student run philanthropy organization. They provide financial and emotional support to pediatric illness or injury patients. It is a movement of the Children’s Miracle Network that is committed to having 100% of the proceeds raised remain local to support patients being treated by their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. To date, they have raised $135 million. Throughout the year, students raise funds and visit patients in a nearby hospital (when available.) The experience allows them to develop leadership, teamwork, compassion, and nonprofit business experience. At the end of their DM year it culminates in a big event, the dance marathon that is 12-40 hours long where participants do not sleep. This is done to raise awareness for pediatric oncology and showcase their efforts committed to supporting the families emotionally and financially.
According to the national Dance Marathon website, there are 1 million active participants, 350 programs, and over 200,000 student dancers. Their slogan is “Our Generation Fighting for the Next” and inspires young college students to recognize the need to think beyond themselves and support a cause that will greatly impact the future. You often hear phrases like “Children are the future” and Dance Marathon believes in that, and fights in order for every child to have a future.
The actual event
Let’s talk about the big event, or dance marathon. You’re probably thinking two things when it comes to 40 hours without sleep, “Been There, Done That” or “Yeah, Right.” Well, the event is for both types! Most dance marathon’s “rules” require no sitting, no sleeping, and no caffeine. This sounds intense, yes? Again, it’s all #forthekids (their chosen hashtag.) This essentially is saying that whatever discomfort, pain, or suffering you may feel (it’s also not that bad) is #forthekids. The idea is that their treatment is more intense and prolonged than the event.
There are many things to do during the event. Dancing, obviously. Schools usually have really cool DJs come to the event and create a really fun atmosphere. Families often visit and share their stories on stage or screen. There are opportunities to meet the kids and their families. Game and craft rooms are typically set up for students to occupy themselves when they don’t feel like dancing.
If you are an incoming student and not sure what student organization to get involved with, Dance Marathon is incredibly open to new students. It is an excellent opportunity to have fun, get experience with volunteerism, nonprofit business experience, and meet many friends.