University charity brings students, community together

Madison Reinhard and Madison Reinhard

As the years go by, more and more students drop out of college before graduating, but one reason people might stay is because of Dance Marathon.

Every April, there is an event on campus called Dance Marathon that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Dance Marathon is a 32 hour event hosted the first week of April. Students have the opportunity to either dance, run, volunteer to help others involved. People can also be a committee member or bike for the cause.

The bike event will start in Cincinnati and end the last hour of Dance Marathon back at the University. In order to participate in Dance Marathon, students must raise $100, but if people are interested in the “Bike for Tikes” event, then it is mandatory to raise $400. All of the money raised goes to the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

Throughout 19 years, the event has raised $3 million, said Christopher Bullins, associate dean of students.

Bullins said Dance Marathon has made a big impact on retention at the University.

Having year-round involvement in Dance Marathon and establishing relationships with the other 300 student organizations helps students stay connected, Bullins said.

Student Director of Dance Marathon Jon Day said it is the reason he chose to stay at the University as a freshman, saying he “loved the welcoming, home-like feel.”

Staci Thomson is another member of Dance Marathon, and she feels that “the main reason that I stayed are the connections I made, and the people make the experience worth it.”

As two of nearly 1,500 students involved in Dance Marathon, Day and Thomson aren’t the only ones with positive feelings toward Dance Marathon.

Assistant Director Holly Hemminger feels just as strongly about the benefits the event offers.

“I hated college as a freshman before Dance Marathon,” Hemminger said. “Dance Marathon gave me a place on campus and helped me realize how giving the community of Bowling Green is.”

Being involved in Dance Marathon encourages students to keep up their grades so that they are eligible to participate, as well as providing year-round involvement in the organization. The event may be in April, but fundraisers, planning and meetings run throughout the year, Bullins said.

The best part is that it is not too late to get involved. The first meeting took place Sept. 11, but there will be plenty more meetings to come these next few months leading up to the event.