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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Dance Marathon preps for Big Event

Students volunteer to help save lives this spring
The+Big+Event+is+open+to+all+community+members+and+UNI+students.+Students+are+encouraged+to+register+for+the+Big+Event+and+to+attend+other+Dance+Marathon+events+leading+up+to+the+event+including+a+Miracle+Gala+on+Feb.+2%2C+a+Heartbeat+Hustle+workout+class+on+Feb.+14+and+a+Big+Event+information+meeting+on+Feb.+19.%C2%A0
COURTESY
The Big Event is open to all community members and UNI students. Students are encouraged to register for the Big Event and to attend other Dance Marathon events leading up to the event including a Miracle Gala on Feb. 2, a Heartbeat Hustle workout class on Feb. 14 and a Big Event information meeting on Feb. 19. 

“Because of you.”

This phrase holds a special meaning for UNI Dance Marathon this year as this is the organization’s campaign slogan for the year. The leaders chose this phrase because they wanted to reinforce the reason members raise money and participate in the organization.

Dance Marathon is one of UNI’s largest student run organizations. The organization raises money for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, to support both financially and emotionally the children and families in the Cedar Valley area that have been or are currently being treated at the hospital in Iowa City. 

Dance Marathon was established at UNI over ten years ago. The organization celebrates all of the fundraising milestones they hit throughout the year and participates in a final fundraising push day during the Big Event. 

This year, the Big Event will take place Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Maucker Union. For 12 hours, over 300 dancers will participate in events and dance for the many Miracle families and over 60 children that the organization raises money for throughout the year. Many of the children and families will attend the event. 

During the Big Event, a different activity will take place during each hour of the event. Some examples include relay race hour, line dancing hour, family meeting hour and haircutting hour where participants can donate their hair. 

Amongst all of the events and meeting Miracle families, dancers are constantly fundraising throughout the event. One way dancers try to fundraise is by competing with other Morale Teams. There are 12 teams and each team tries to raise the most amount of money. 

All of the fundraising culminates with Power Hour, which is straight dancing for an entire hour and the last chance dancers have for fundraising at the event. The final amount of money raised by the organization throughout the year is revealed at the end of the event. 

The Big Event would not be possible without the many student leaders of Dance Marathon. Organizing this event is so extensive that there is even a specific Big Event Director who has been making reservations and planning this event since August. As of December, there is a fully detailed schedule for every minute of the 12 hours of the event. The entire Maucker Union building is also rented out and every room is used for the event. 

Setup for the event is different this year as the event used to be from noon to midnight. The time change does not allow as much time for directors and other student leaders to set up the morning of the event so leaders will now start prepping at 3:30 p.m. the Friday before. 

During the Big Event, each director and student leader of Dance Marathon has their own role. Morale Captains work more directly with dancers and are the leaders of their Morale Team. 

For Executive Director Samantha Robinson, Big Event will look a little different compared to jobs of some of the other directors. 

“I kind of oversee every part of it. I am the go to question person when there’s a question. Whether that’s about food, or where a family needs to go, or what the dance is supposed to look like, or what to wear,” Robinson said. 

All of the planning and work that goes into the event is worth it to those involved in the organization. 

“I definitely think the Big Event is kind of the reason why we all love it… I’ve never met anyone who goes to a Big Event and says that they had a bad time. It’s just the coolest, most rewarding thing,” Robinson said. 

The Big Event is open to all community members and UNI students. Students are encouraged to register for the Big Event and to attend other Dance Marathon events leading up to the event including a Miracle Gala on Feb. 2, a Heartbeat Hustle workout class on Feb. 14 and a Big Event information meeting on Feb. 19. 

Registration for the Big Event can be completed here.

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HOPE SCHULTE, Staff Writer, Graphic Designer

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