Rowan University’s Inter-Greek Council (IGC) hosted the school’s first ever dance marathon, raising nearly $36,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
On Saturday, Feb. 27, almost 800 participants showed off their best dance moves from 9:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m., the next morning. There were also 964 online participants, who actively shared their donation page to raise money for the event.
“While participants may find themselves getting tired and antsy for the end, it is at this moment we hope they understand that this is how the children at CHOP feel about their illness every single day,” said Vice President of IGC Caitlyn Horgan, on the length of the event. “Dancing for six hours for donations is a small sacrifice in comparison to what the patients and their families sacrifice for treatments, and for one day, a cure.”
Originally, the goal of the event was to raise $15,000, because most first-year dance marathons only raise around $4,000, said President of IGC Megan Sharples. But in the last two weeks before the event, donations skyrocketed, rising to $35,872, approximately 210 percent of the goal.
“We couldn’t be more happy with this outcome, as it’s so much money going toward research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” Sharples said.
The endless dancing was not the only activity involved. Personal stories of several patients touching on their health victories and losses were shared, raffle baskets were donated by campus organizations and local businesses and a water pong tournament was held. Zumba and performances by Rowan’s 3D Dance Crew were also part of the night. After performing, the 3D Dance Crew taught everyone in the audience a short routine. Setting the rhythm in the background were volunteer DJs Clinton Conyer from Sigma Pi and John Lisella from Phi Kappa Sigma.
“It was a lot of fun, and we definitely appreciate getting a chance to support CHOP and the great work that they do,” said Shalyn Brangman, president of Rowan’s 3D Dance Crew. “We hope to continue participation in the event in the future.”
Richard Kehoe, IGC’s community service chair, was the brains behind the idea for the dance marathon, said Horgan.
The event first got started when Kehoe first reached out to the Miracle Network Dance Marathon organization, which helps students hold dance marathons at more than 450 schools across the country, raising a total of $106 million since its founding in 1991.
“He has a close personal connection to CHOP, as his friend was treated for leukemia, and his sister for a heart condition,” Horgan said. “He felt the urge to give back to this hospital by leading his university in community service.”
Katherine Jasek, the senior programming chair for Delta Phi Epsilon and public relations chair for IGC set her fundraising goal for the dance marathon at $516, because there are 516 beds at CHOP.
“Being a part of this event was one of my favorite experiences so far at Rowan,” Jasek said. “Seeing the actual event come together and seeing everyone at the end, I literally had goosebumps.”
Based on the amount of participation this year and the success of the fundraising, Sharples confirmed plans to hold the dance marathon annually from here on out.
“We set a great starting point for years to come and know exactly what to expect,” Sharples said. “We also know that this will get larger as the years go on and as Rowan continues to grow. There are big things to come next year.”
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