Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon hosts first-ever virtual marathon
Mia Marroquin | Monday, April 20, 2020
The 15th annual Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon looked different from years past, as tri-campus community members gathered virtually Saturday rather than in Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex. The 12 hour marathon raises money for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
The marathon, originally planned for April 4, was canceled as a result of Saint Mary’s move to remote learning through Easter break and eventually the rest of the semester. The decision to move the marathon virtually was made by the executive team who felt there had to be a marathon, no matter the conditions, senior club president Clare Carragher said.
According to Carragher, the team utilized social media platforms like Instagram, FaceBook, TikTok and an updated website to provide sources of entertainment and information throughout the day.
“We went live on Instagram at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony — similar to the one held during a traditional marathon — explaining how people can participate throughout the day,” she said.
Social media posts ran throughout the day on the same schedule as the traditional marathon. The posts consisted of Riley kid — patients at Riley Children’s hospital — miracle stories, video features of alumni nurses, pictures of participants’ 80’s decor to fit the theme of “Back to the ‘80s” and mini fundraising challenges.
“The website was designed so people could come and go as they please and just provide some different forms of entertainment while we’re all quarantined in our houses across the country,” Carragher said.
The virtual marathon allowed for dancers, committee members and executives to participate in and experience a marathon from across the U.S. Carragher said the virtual marathon allowed for the message and mission of Dance Marathon to be spread to an even greater audience as it was all over social media all day.
“A lot of good things came out of the day and a lot of things that, I hope, can continue moving forward,” Carragher said. “Who knows where I will be a year or two down the road — so I would love for the option to check into the website and see the Riley family stories or watch the morale dance.”
The committees worked in conjunction throughout the day to provide entertainment and keep the energy high, Carragher said.
The morale dance, an eight minute line dance, is typically taught in segments throughout the day until it is performed by all participants at the end of the marathon. In lieu of this performance, the morale executives recorded themselves doing the dance all the way through.
The morale committee girls then divided the dance into 11 mini tutorial videos that were posted throughout the day to social media. Participants were then invited to film themselves performing the morale dance and email the clips to the technology committee who then formed the final line dance with all the video submissions at the end of the night.
Senior alumni relations executive Jessie Snyder was awarded this year’s Exec of the Year title by the president’s board for her success in leading the new committee.
“Since it was a brand-new committee it gave me the opportunity to build into my own, I got to build it up from nothing,” Snyder said.
The committee was formed in an effort to show thanks to alumni — many of whom have a passion and love for Riley that just doesn’t go away after graduation — and give them a way to still participate in Dance Marathon, she said.
Participation in a virtual 12 hour event proved to be the biggest obstacle of planning the marathon, but both Carragher and Snyder commented on the pleasant surprise of seeing the community come together during an unprecedented time.
“It wasn’t something we could have planned for but we were able to to turn a traditional marathon into something way bigger that was able to reach so many more people,” Snyder said. “If anything it brought us closer together and really proved the big impact that a small school like Saint Mary’s can have.”