ASU Dance Marathon, a 12-hour event, will bring together a wide range of organizations from around campus to the Tempe Sun Devil Fitness Complex to raise money for Phoenix Children’s Hospital from noon to midnight starting Jan. 4.
Students formed teams with others from their residence halls, Greek life associations, student organizations, sports teams — or even want to go solo — and have already started raising money, all of which will go directly to the hospital.
Last year the ASU marathon raised $28,583, but this year they have set a goal for $50,000, according to the ASU Dance Marathon website.
At the event, each hour will bring a new music theme to the anticipated 500 participants who have registered to dance all night long.
Aryanna Thuraisingam, a sophomore global heath major, joined the executive board for ASU Dance Marathon after participating in the event last year.
“I first saw the advertisement in the Honors Digest for Barrett, but I didn’t decide to do it until friends starting sending me Snapchats of it and saying I had to do it,” she said. “When I went last year we had about four patients come in and tell their stories, and it’s a fun way to give back to the community.”
As a part of the programming committee, Thuraisingam said she wants to expand the reach of this event to all types of people on campus.
“Overall, as an event, I want to make it something that people want to participate in again,” she said. “A few years ago it was mainly geared towards Greek life, but in the last two years we wanted to revamp the whole process and make it a more ASU-based thing.”
Besides dancing to raise funds for the hospital, Thuraisingam said ASU has a personal tie with the origin of Dance Marathon.
“It originally started out with a college where someone had passed away, and their friends wanted to support and remember him by having a dance marathon, and then it expanded to a national foundation,” she said.
Similarly, the event at ASU will dedicate an hour to Abby Monhollen, a former executive board member at ASU who passed away from cancer last year.
“We want to make it a characteristic of our event and get people to care about it more,” she said.
Emily Scott, a junior nursing major, said there are many reasons why students decide to register and attend the event for a good portion of the night.
“It’s easily accessible, a way to get community service hours if you’re in an organization that requires that, and if their friends are going, they’re interested,” she said.
The Dance Marathon will offer students entertainment from sun-up to sun-down with a Velcro climbing wall, inflatable obstacle course, food and ASU student-DJs. Dancers can expect a wide variety of musical themes, such as: '‘Merica Mania,' 'Blast from the Past,' 'Disney Magic' and 'Neon Rave.'
Although the event will offer free food, activities, dancing and music, but Scott said she wants students to know its deeper meaning.
“The reason we do a 12-hour dance party is to stand up and dance for the kids who can’t, because either they’re fighting an illness or they’re stuck in the hospital,” she said. “I think a lot of it is the cause and how much of an impact we make.”
Amanda Arnold, a junior double majoring in psychology and family and human development, said she joined Dance Marathon because she saw the potential it had to improve the conditions for these children.
“It funds things that are considered non-medically essential," she said. "So that’s the schools, the libraries, the playrooms and basically just making it a kid-friendly environment for the kids that are there for months at a time.”
Arnold is not only fundraising with the executive board, but has also started the fundraising team for her sorority, Sigma Kappa.
“The reaction has been really positive," she said. "Last year I was the only one in my sorority on the executive board, and this year we have about six women from my chapter.”
She said she hopes among all the dancing, the kids of Phoenix Children’s Hospital will feel celebrated.
“Obviously seeing that final number makes all of the work worth it, but my biggest hope for the event is to make the kids that come feel like celebrities for the day,” she said.
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