Dancing the night away, and then some

Erica Magda

Erica Magda

By Kathy Khazanova

Pulling an all-nighter is part of the college experience – if you haven’t done it yet, now is the time to try it. Until now, there have been two main reasons to stay up for 24 hours: lots of homework and being out on the town. In April, a totally new all-nighter opportunity will be available on campus: Dance Marathon.

Dance Marathon is a 24-hour event that will raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The money will aid children and their families at St. John’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield. Dancers register in advance, raise $300 by a deadline in March and then spend 24 hours dancing up a storm at a location that is yet to be decided.

“Children our age aren’t supposed to be sick but live our their lives until they get old,” said Megan Hode, member of the family relations committee and sophomore in LAS. “When you’re young you have all your life left and it’s a sad thing to see happen.”

One of the requirements of registering for the marathon is that all participants must be enrolled at the University or have some affiliation with it.

“Members of the community can come, but they just can’t be part of the dancers that have to be there for 24 hours and participate the whole time,” said Caryn Beutel, co-president of Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon at the University and junior in LAS.

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Dancers will be helped in raising the $300 by fundraising from the Committee For the University Dance Marathon.

“It’s not like we’re saying ‘hey go get the money, we’ll see you later,’ our committees will be very supportive in helping reach the $300 goal,” Beutel said. “We are thinking about canning and bake sales, (as well as) more involved fundraisers such as a dance-off on the Quad.”

The fundraising goal for this year is $100,000, and the plan is to make sure none of the money comes out of the dancers’ pockets.

“(The dancers) are already doing the actual event, they’re going to be dancing for 24 hours, that’s their contribution,” said Andrew Sullivan, co-president of Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon at the University and junior in Business.

During the actual event, dancers will arrive at a location on either Friday or Saturday night where there will be games, live entertainment and food, “basically just everything to keep someone occupied, entertained and having fun (for 24 hours),” Sullivan said.

Sponsors will be invited to the event, as well as the families that the money is going to support.

“We’re going to have the families we’re supporting there to help motivate and inspire the dancers,” Sullivan said. “(The dancers will be able to) tangibly see what they’re there for.”

This is the first Dance Marathon to be held at the University. Other schools across the country have organized similar events, such as Indiana University, whose goal was to raise $1 million with its event this past weekend.

“To anyone getting involved in (Dance Marathon) this year, you can look back 15 years from now and say, ‘Hey, I was there when they first started Dance Marathon at UIUC,'” Beutel said.

The participant goal for this year is 300 dancers.

“I think it’ll be very easy (to reach our goal),” Hode said. “We have a campus of 40,000 kids. If we publicize the right way I think we can get way over 300 people.”

Although she thinks people will be hesitant about the time commitment, Beutel does not think that attendance will be a problem.

“I think people will say, ‘Twenty-four hours is a long time, I’m going to be tired,'” Beutel said. “Yes you will be tired, yes you will be sore, but you are sacrificing something of yourself for a purpose. For us it’s just a weekend, but … the children we are helping are hurting their whole lives.”