Dance Marathon dresses up for the kids



UNI Dance Marathon will be hosting its annual “Black Tie Affair” event on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at ThreeHouse: A Wesley Foundation.


College students seldom get the opportunity to dress up for special occasions like they did in high school. The closest thing many UNI students get to prom comes just once a year: Dance Marathon’s Black Tie Affair. This year, the event will take place at ThreeHouse: a Wesley Foundation on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. It’s Dance Marathon’s second-most popular annual event, behind the Main Event.

“It’s just a night full of dancing and getting to talk to other people who may be interested in Dance Marathon,” said Lauren Gootee, a junior majoring in elementary and middle-level education and director of event planning for Dance Marathon. “Maybe they aren’t and maybe they came with a friend. They might learn more information about it, and there’s always good food.”

The event is put together largely by donors and volunteers. Chick-Fil-A will be providing food, with event planning committee members taking care of side dishes. Sid Lederman, a member of Dance Marathon’s media committee, has volunteered to DJ the event.

The event is ticketed and costs $8. Ticket sales are limited to 235 due to the capacity of the Wesley Foundation. Students can buy their tickets from Dance Marathon members who will be tabling in the Union or by emailing [email protected] One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Dance Marathon.

This year, the dancers are working toward raising their goal of $620,000 — almost $70,000 more than their final figure last year.

“We’re having a very goal-oriented year,” said Koby Boyd, a junior political science major and assistant director of event planning. “Sixty-two children check into a Miracle Family Hospital across the country every minute. So, $620,000 is supposed to reference that [. . .] The last year our goal was $500,000 and we raised $550,000, so it’s a huge step up. So we’re really pushing everyone to do the best they can.”

According to Boyd, the event planning committee has been working hard to give this year’s Black Tie Affair more of a theme than in years past. Boyd said he didn’t want to spoil the suprise, however.

Although the event provides a chance to boost dancers’ morale and help them get to know each other better, even those not currently involved in Dance Marathon are welcome to attend as long as they purchase a ticket.

“The takeaway, I hope, is that they obviously have a good time, but ultimately I hope people reflect on that they are really fortunate to be able to go to these events and have fun with their friends,” Boyd said. “That’s what we’re fighting for — we’re fighting for these kids to be able to get the help that they need and be able to grow up and do stuff like this. I know I’ve been very fortunate — I’ve had a lot of things in my life that I haven’t had to worry about, and I’m able to just function and do whatever I want to, essentially, in college. I want to make sure that these kids have the same opportunities. And so just making sure everyone’s reflecting on that is kind of the goal.”

Dance Marathon’s Main Event will take place on Saturday, Mar. 2. Students are still encouraged to join and can get more information about it at the Black Tie Affair.

“[Dance Marathon] allowing college students to make an impact is awesome,” said Samantha Holtkamp, a junior majoring in elementary and middle-level education, who is also a morale captain. “People always say ‘You’re so young. You can’t really do a whole lot.’ And we actually are. These changes are helping people in need and impacting people who we know and people who we probably will never meet.”