Dance Marathon receives social media award


Photo: Noelle Brockhoff/Iowa State Daily

Moira Sullivan, senior in management and marketing, plays a dance game with Brianna Wittrig, 5, during Dance Marathon on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 in the Memorial Union. Dance Marathon, associated with Children’s Miracle Network, is celebrating its 15th year at Iowa State. 

Megan Swindell

For the last 15 years, Dance Marathon has been giving both financial and emotional support all across Iowa to families with children who have life-threatening illnesses.

Last year, the ISU Dance Marathon raised $380,742.15, all of which went directly to Iowa’s Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network. The proceeds were raised by the 915 participants with the motto — “For the kids” — constantly in mind.   

What does it take to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and to get over 900 people to stay on their feet for 15 hours straight? The ISU Dance Marathon committee knows how to recruit, and they are doing it well.

“We won an award for Best [Public Relations] Campaign at the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference,” said Colin Hueser, senior in biochemistry and the electronic media director for Dance Marathon. “There were [more than] 140 Dance Marathons represented at this conference in Atlanta.”

This achievement was awarded for the Katy Perry’s “Firework” lip dub video  the ISU Dance Marathon committees put together to recruit participants last year.

Lip dubbing is the combining of both lip syncing and audio dubbing resulting in a music video. Several Dance Marathon committee members dressed in the signature teal Dance Marathon shirts, some even in full-body blue paint, as they danced and lip sang around the Memorial Union.

“We didn’t have a campaign last year,” Hueser said. “We just posted a link; this year the campaign is planned to take what we did last year and make it bigger and better.”

Campaigning for Dance Marathon is more visible than ever this year.

“Last year we got good feedback,” said Steven Vong, press relations director for Dance Marathon. “So this year we are doing something different — a dance dub video — but still remaining loyal to what we did last year.”

The recruitment campaign has included a 7-piece puzzle that released day-by-day pieces of a photo that captures a moment of the dance dub.

“The campaign relies heavily on the Dance Marathon committees to retweet on Twitter and to share the link on Facebook for the dance dub video this year,” Hueser said. “Our Facebook account has reached out to over 37,000 people.”

The use of social media to advertise Dance Marathon to students is critical to the success of recruitment of new members and retention of previous participants.

“Overall, the social media campaign is one of our biggest movements and an awesome project that gets our name out there beyond campus.” said Szuyin Leow, co-director of recruitment and morale. “It’s cool to be known as a leader for Dance Marathons around the nation.”

Dance Marathon was founded in 1991 at one university and has grown ever since. More than 150 schools, including both high schools and colleges, participate in Dance Marathons across the country that benefit hundreds of hospitals.

“I hope that it ends up being a good way to catch people’s attention,” said Anna Stamer, sophomore in communication studies. “I think it was a good way to spread awareness in a fun, entertaining way.”

The video was filmed on Central Campus and is set to be released on Tuesday, Sept. 4.