Inaugural Fontbonne Dance Marathon to Raise $15,000 for Charity

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(Photo courtesy of Joel Hermann, Associate Director for the Center of Leadership and Community Engagement. Pictured are members of Dance Marathon, holding letters for Dance Marathon’s slogan, For The Kids.)

Written by Ellen Weaver

After partnering with St. Louis University and Washington University, Fontbonne University’s Dance Marathon organization decided to be independent from other schools and fundraise charity money. Their goal is to raise $15,000 during their breakout year. The money will go to Children’s Miracle Network, which then distributes funds directly to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

Dance Marathon activities will include food, drinks, dancing and speeches given by the children impacted by the Children’s Miracle Network. The 12-hour event will be hosted in Fontbonne University’s Dunham Student Activity Center’s cafe March 31st, 2017 at 5PM.

This is the first year Dance Marathon will host this fundraiser on campus, and the organization anticipates challenges such as planning and student involvement. President of Dance Marathon McKinley Robinns expects that the biggest challenge will be for the organization to execute the fundraiser independent of outside partnerships.

Dance Marathon is hosted without any university dollars. Every dollar raised goes directly to the hospitals.  Local restaurants and companies donate the meals served during Dance Marathon and the other equipment used like lights and speakers. The registration fees cover other small costs including t-shirts each participant receives.

This is Robbins’ second year being involved in a dance marathon. Last year she participated in a dance marathon at St. Louis University. Robbins is excited to do Dance Marathon differently than other schools and in a way that Fontbonne students will better respond to.

Student involvement poses another obstacle for the organization. Many Fontbonne students have never been involved in a dance marathon and may be intimidated by the $25 registration fee. Because a majority of Fontbonne’s students live off campus, getting commuter students involved could be another problem.

Fortunately, Dance Marathon has a student board who works to build campus morale. They are looking to get students and friends excited about participating because the cause helps children.

With several service-based organizations on campus, Dance Marathon is offering an opportunity for different organizations and teams to come together and raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Joel Hermann, Associate Director for the Center of Leadership and Community Engagement at Fontbonne feels that Dance Marathon is directly aligned with the university’s mission. “We say we want to serve the dear neighbor, and this is serving hospitals in this area. [Dance Marathon] directly impacts St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Cardinal Glennon. So, you can really see that component there, and [raising money] is done in a fun way.” Hermann has been involved with Dance Marathon at Maryville University, St. Louis University, and Fontbonne University for the past 6 years.

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Photo courtesy of Ellen Weaver. Pictured is Joel Hermann, Associate Director for the Center of Leadership and Community Engagement.

Robbins believes that Dance Marathon is about “doing something bigger than just us here at Fontbonne. It affects so many more people.”

The chance to meet the children impacted from proceeds is an experience that students don’t quickly forget. Throughout the event, children who benefit from the money raised will give speeches. Their ages range from those who are just old enough to stand on stage, to high school and college aged young adults.

“The emotions at Dance Marathon are insane, as well. So, you’re having a blast and enjoying the music and then all of a sudden, somebody’s giving this speech and you’re crying. It’s incredible up and down throughout the whole night, but it’s something every year you’ll remember,” said Hermann.

Dance Marathon hosted another fundraising event in the fall semester called 1Kin1Day. The goal was to raise $1,000 and the organization raised $4,512.

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Photo courtesy of Joel Hermann, Associate Director for the Center of Leadership and Community Engagement. Pictured are students who participated in Dance Marathon’s 1K in 1 Day.

Ellen Weaver is the Cultural Editor and a contributor to Fontbonne University’s Griffin Roar.