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SCC to host inaugural Dance-a-Thon

| Thursday, April 9, 2015

Just a few weeks after the Holy Half, Notre Dame will see another kind of marathon come to campus — this time, a dance marathon.

From 7 p.m. Friday night until 7 a.m. Saturday morning in South Dining Hall, the class of 2017 Sophomore Class Council (SCC) will host Notre Dame’s first annual Dance-A-Thon, the proceeds of which will benefit Memorial Children’s Hospital in downtown South Bend.

SCC Treasurer Neil Joseph said the idea for the fundraiser was derived from the example of a number of universities, including Penn State and Ohio State, which have raised thousands of dollars through month-long campaigns that culminate in massive dance parties.

“A lot of other colleges have been doing dance-a-thons to raise money for hospitals in their area, and we just really wanted to do something where we had an impact on our community specifically,” he said.

Joseph said all proceeds from the Dance-A-Thon will help to fund the the estimated $10 million expansion of Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, which, according to its website, “treats children with a wide variety of medical and surgical diagnoses from more than 20 referral hospitals throughout Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana.”

“They [Memorial Children’s Hospital] were really in dire need of this new addition for their pediatric unit, and so we met with them, and they were really excited,” Joseph said. “We were just thinking big.”

SCC President Noemi Ventilla said the Dance-A-Thon will be the second major event hosted by the SCC this year; their first was the Great Gatsby Dance in September.

“We did Gatsby in the fall, and we realized that having campus-wide events, bigger events has a lot bigger impact and durability than a lot of the events that class councils do,” she said.

But bigger events entail greater commitments of time and resources, and Joseph said organizing the Dance-A-Thon has proved “a huge learning process.”

However, Ventilla said the combined efforts of all SCC members — which have fueled a large-scale promotional campaign extending across social media, YouTube and the event’s brand new website — have transformed what began as a distant vision of a dance marathon into an imminent reality.

“There are 37 of us [on SCC], so there are 37 people working on it,” she said. “Before then, we had committees, and they did their own thing, but because this is such a huge process, we all came together.”

Ventilla said their promotional efforts have already generated a lot of excitement in the community. A variety of sponsors has contributed to the event, and even more organizations have indicated their interest in participating in coming years.

“We’re going to have a ton of really great things, but the real potential for this is in the future,” she said.

Included in the festivities lined up for this year’s Dance-A-Thon are live performances by student organizations, an inflatable obstacle course, music, free food and, of course, dancing.

“It’s an all-night thing, so if you’re coming back to campus at 3 a.m. and don’t have somewhere to go, instead of Taco Bell, come to us,” Ventilla said.

Both Ventilla and Joseph said their eventual hope is to create a club which will take over organizing future Dance-A-Thons.

For the present, however, Joseph said the SCC’s primary objective is to encourage participation among the student body, both in terms of donations and attendance at the actual event.

“We really want people to come out and have fun, and that will set the tone for coming years,” he said.

Joseph said students can support the event by donating through a link on the event website (http://nddanceathon.weebly.com),or by texting “Beacon ND” to 20222, which will make an automatic donation of $5 to Memorial Children’s Hospital.

He said the SCC will also be collecting donations in person throughout the night.

“Every little bit counts,” Joseph said. “It’s kind of corny, but it really does.”

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