University of Indianapolis Dance Marathon has put on another Riley Week, which culminated with its annual Dance Marathon. UIndy DM is one of the many events that people around the United States are able to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children. The idea of Dance Marathon first started in 1991 at Indiana University, according to rileykids.org. It is the fastest growing fundraising program with more than 60 different high schools and college programs participating.
The UIndy DM organization set its goal at $40,000, which would have put them past last year’s total of $38,008.77.
However, through donations, they were able to surpass that goal and set a new UIndy DM record, raising $55,418.93, which will benefit the kids in Riley Hospital for Children.
This is UIndy’s eleventh time hosting DM. It began in 2008 with only 20 participants and raised only one thousand dollars, according to the Miracle Network Dance Marathon website. This year, they had a registration record of 210 people registering the day of the event. Senior chemistry pre-med major and co-family relations executive Chloe Wahl said that the participation numbers have almost doubled since her freshman year, contributing to the high energy of the event.
“I think the more people [that] are there, the better the environment is, I guess you would say just the enthusiasm,” Wahl said. “Something really cool about DM is whenever someone gets a donation, they ring the bell, and everyone just goes crazy and gets really excited. So, the more people [that] are there, the better that is.”
According to Wahl, half of the money raised goes towards child life in the hospital and half to the research. In order to attend the event, participants have to pay a small fee, which goes towards the final total. They also receive donations from donors all around the state and country. Freshman chemistry pre-med major Tulsi Patel attended UIndy DM for the first time this year.
“This really goes to a great cause,” Patel said. “Raising money for kids and cancer research at Riley is really important for kids to participate in because they can look at it and think ‘Hey look, I was a part of something big.’”
Being co-family relations executive, Wahl helped create the connection between UIndy DM and the families from Riley that are invited in to tell their stories during DM. Along with Dance Marathon, they also bring the families to other events around campus, such as the football game where one of the Riley kids would is the designated “Riley Captain,” who help with the coin toss.
The 2019 #UIndyDM began at 2 p.m. this afternoon in Ruth Lilly with a goal of raising $40,000. In this video, members of the group, along with other participants and donators participate in a dance session for Riley DM.
📷: @Tony_Reeves_ pic.twitter.com/rqUVrexnab
— The Reflector (@ReflectorUIndy) February 23, 2019
Having reached a new goal this year in both attendance and funds raised, UIndy DM still encourages students and faculty to participate next year to surpass this new record. According to Wahl, the best way to learn more about Dance Marathon is to join and participate in the events they host throughout the year.
“If people are curious about it, they should just come to the actual DM. I think that’s the best way to get involved and just to see what they think about it. I’ve loved it the past four years and I think it’s been a really great leadership opportunity for me,” Wahl said. “I’ve grown a lot and I feel like I’ve learned a lot through DM, but it’s also just given me a lot of purpose. So, everyone should come check it out. It’s a really great RSO to be a part of.”
The events of the week, according to Wahl, is one way for DM to get some recognition and spread awareness around campus, leading up to DM. Some of the events they ran this year included a tie-dye event in Schwitzer Student Center, percent night at City BBQ and an open mic night at Book and Brews that donated $1 to the cause for every beer they sold that night.
“I think that it’s really nice to remind people that DM is coming up because that sometimes is forgotten in a lot of people on campus don’t know what Dance Marathon is,” Wahl said. “So, it’s a way for us to get our name out there and at least for me, it gets me really excited for Saturday and reminds me how important it is to raise money for Riley Hospital.”