First annual Dance Marathon raises over $3,600 for Boston Children’s Hospital

–Students enjoy the activities at the Dance Marathon on March 11. Ziqing Xiong / The Tufts Daily

Tufts University Dance Marathon, sponsored by the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), raised over $3,600 for the Boston Children’s Hospital at its first event Friday. Tickets were sold at the door for $10 per person for the five-hour philanthropic event, which ran from 7 p.m. to midnight at 51 Winthrop St.

According to Dominique Kaempf, overall undergraduate director for the Dance Marathon, dance marathons feature students actively remaining on their feet dancing and playing games for the entirety of the event. Kaempf, a first-year, said that while this is the first time the event has been held at Tufts, dance marathons are held all over the nation, with proceeds benefiting local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) across the country.

Boston Children’s Hospital, the area’s local CMNH, is one of 170 children’s hospitals in the United States and Canada that receives aid from CMN’s year-round fundraising and awareness campaigns for pediatric programs and services, which help children battling all types of injuries and diseases, according to the CMNH website

According to Head Morale Captain of the Tufts Dance Marathon Elana Liebow-Feeser, there were between 40 and 50 students registered to be involved in the dance marathon and over 50 students ended up coming to the event. That number does not include the many students in attendance who performed in groups or facilitated activities.

The event featured performances by Sarabande Dance Ensemble, Tufts Enchanted, JumboRaas, BEATs and Cheap Sox, and included games, activities and a photo booth, according to the Facebook event pageDJs BackOfTheClass, sophomores Panos Skoufalos and Jordan Stone, provided the music for the event.

Liebow-Feeser said she and her fellow organizers began planning the event at the beginning of last semester.

“It’s essentially been an entire school year-long process,” Liebow-Freeser, a sophomore, said. “Once [the executive board finishes] planning this event, we’ll go into planning the event for next year: so, it’s kind of like a never-ending cycle.”

Tufts Dance Marathon is not officially recognized by the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate, so it does not receive any formal funding through the university. For this reason, the organization relied on on contributions to fund the event, Kaempf said.

“We’re not officially recognized yet because it’s our first year on campus, but our goal is to be recognized as a Tufts club for next year,” Liebow-Freeser said. “Basically we’re trying to be the Tufts chapter of this movement that’s already established at other schools.”

Local businesses including Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Lisa’s Family Pizzeria, Starbucks, Whole Foods and Pizza Days provided free food and refreshments throughout the dance event.

Natalie Araya, vice president of public relations for the Dance Marathon, said the organization held several fundraisers last semester to raise funds for some of the marathon expenses that could not be covered by contributions and donors. These fundraising efforts included a series of coffee and donut sales in Wren Hall.

“We talked to Dunkin’ Donuts, and they agreed to sponsor us and give us free coffee and donuts,” Araya, a sophomore, said.

The money generated during these fundraisers helped to finance logistical expenses, such as paying for a Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) detail at the event, Araya explained.

While Friday’s event spanned a period of five hours, Tufts University Dance Marathon team members hope that this event length will grow over the upcoming years.

Ziqing Xiong / The Tufts Daily

Ziqing Xiong / The Tufts Daily

“We’re starting off smaller this year, just to get it started.” Liebow-Freeser said. “With schools that have been established for longer, some of them go for as long as 30 hours.”

Prior to the event, Kaempf said the group hoped the atmosphere at the event would be fun and stress-free.

“Essentially what Friday night is going to be is kind of like a huge party, the culmination of all of our fundraising efforts,” Kaempf said. “It’s just going to be something really fun to embrace the whole spirit of what Boston Children’s Hospital tries to give back to the kids.”

Members of the Tufts Dance Marathon executive board were very happy with the turnout for the event.

“We’re very pleased,” Kaempf said. “Everyone who was there [was] telling us how much they loved it.”

Kaempf looks forward to continuing working with CMN and cultivating the tradition of Dance Marathons at Tufts.

“Our whole thing is Dance Marathon is 365 days a year,” Kaempf said. “Just because our event was on Friday night doesn’t mean we’re stopping now. We’re already getting ready for next year.”

Correction: The article originally stated that the Dance Marathon in March was the first-ever Dance Marathon event at Tufts, when the university has held dance marathon events in previous years, including in 2008 and back in 1982. The Daily regrets this error.

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