Dance Marathon sets $1 million goal


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Every year, as a part of Dance Marathon tradition, students learn the yearly Morale dance that students dance to every hour.

Dalton Bergan

This year, Iowa State Dance Marathon has set a goal to raise $1 million to benefit children with life-threatening illnesses across the state of Iowa.

Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement that started in 1991 and aims at supporting children and families associated with the Children’s Miracle Network. Iowa State’s program began in 1998 and has been constantly growing since.

Dance Marathon is currently the largest student-run philanthropy on campus and has raised over 1.5 million dollars for children’s hospitals in total. Last year alone, Iowa State’s program raised more than $427,000.

This year, Dance Marathon hopes to make $1 million in proceeds. More than doubling the yearly total will be a difficult task, but Austin Javellana, Dance Marathon co-director, was confident that it can be done.

“Looking at our student population and how much we’re growing, there’s no reason why our campus can’t do it,” said Javellana. “Purdue University raised $500,000 in one year, and the next year they raised $1 million, so that’s what we’re looking at.”

In order to reach this goal, Dance Marathon will need to recruit and register more participants. Cooper Hollmaier, public relations director, said that in order for this to happen, students need to be aware and informed about the program on campus.

“There’s going to be more of a public relations reach than we’ve ever seen before,” Hollmaier said. “We want to engage the students on [Iowa States’s] campus so that they get connected with these kids and the cause.”

Public relations tactics include a new website, new Dance Marathon merchandise, radio broadcasts and press releases throughout the state of Iowa.

Hollmaier said that, ideally, Dance Marathon would like to reach 3,300 registered dancers in time for their big event next January. Javellana supported him in saying that the students will ultimately determine whether or not the goal is met.

“Recruitment and dancer relations are working together and their goal is [to recruit] the 3,300 students,” Javellana said. “Everyone is doing a different task, but it all feeds into this goal for the kids.”

So far, four other universities around the nation have reached the goal of $1 million, one being the University of Iowa. While meeting this goal would put Iowa State among the few universities to accomplish this feat, Co-Director Jessica Pearce said that nobody is in it for the glory.

“We aren’t doing it because we want our names in lights,” Pearce said. “We’ve seen how the kids are affected by our fundraising, and that’s why our goal is [$1 million].”

The money raised by Dance Marathon is put toward helping the children and families connected to the Children’s Miracle Network. Items such as library materials, distraction tools, therapy equipment and more can be purchased with the help of Dance Marathon. Some funds are allocated toward helping the families of the children pay for things like parking and food during hospital stays.

Reaching $1 million won’t be easy for Dance Marathon, but with enough support from donors and student dancers, the goal can be met.

Dance Marathon encourages students to register and take part in Iowa State’s biggest student-run fundraiser.