UNI DM holds annual Black Tie Affair

This year the Dance Marathon Black Tie Affair took place in the WRC to align with COVID-19 guidelines.

NICK BAUR

A wondrous Iowa sunset punctuated what would become a night of jest and joy for the students of UNI Dance Marathon this past Thursday, March 18.

The members of the largest student organization at the University of Northern Iowa safely congregated in the Wellness and Recreation Center (WRC) on campus for their annual Black Tie Affair, an event which culminated what the organization has dubbed “Dancer Appreciation Week.” The Dancer Appreciation Week marks an entire week for the group of students to express gratitude for the many members in their ranks and the vigorous fundraising all dancers were involved in over the course of the last few months.

Students Grace Meints, Nicole Deir and Alisha Kammerude, members of the executive board of UNI Dance Marathon, all collaboratively worked to navigate the somewhat tricky task of organizing the annual Black Tie Affair due to the COVID-19 protocols for UNI gatherings. They had found it difficult to find a space for the event this year, as it was, in previous years, typically held in the Wesleyan Foundation basement. There, the UNI Dance Marathon students would take part in activities with food and soft drinks.

Meints, a junior majoring in Elementary and Middle level Education, relayed their thought process behind this year’s iteration of the Black Tie Affair.

“It was definitely interesting, trying to keep things the same as possible, so this year we were looking to find a place to safely replicate that entertaining environment,” she said.

Thankfully, they were able to secure the suitably large lower-level basketball courts in the WRC as a location for the event.

The attending students were dressed in their very best for the Black Tie Affair with the upscale attire creating something of a refined atmosphere. Individuals participated in various group activities such as bingo, raffles and, naturally, dancing.

With the lack of a spring break or any notable academic breaks, students at the event took the opportunity to relax and unwind with their peers while acknowledging the importance of the work they have done so far.

As Kammerude expressed, “Today is just a day to celebrate our dancers’ hard work, let them win some prizes and have some fun.”

As the night wound to a close, UNI Dance Marathon unveiled their fundraising numbers to date, with $23,689 raised so far this year. 

The next event scheduled for the students of UNI Dance Marathon is their biggest of the year, the annual day-long marathon itself, which is taking place this year on April 21. This year, the “Big Event” will be held virtually for all dancers in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic rather than the traditional location of Maucker Union.

The Big Event marks the end of an academic year of fundraising for children with life-threatening illnesses who have been or are currently being treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. More information and ways to get involved in Dance Marathon can be found at their website (www.unidancemarathon.com/big-event) or by contacting current members.