We all hear about how much money and time college students donate to charitable organizations. Every college or university has a plethora of clubs that seek donations for a particular cause; Greek organizations often raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year (and not just through the stereotypical car wash); and students as a whole put in thousands of volunteer hours every month.

One particular craze sweeping the collegiate philanthropy network? The dance marathon.

Yes.

The.

Dance.

Marathon.

What does a “dance marathon” entail? Hours of dancing (I hope that one’s obvious). Great DJs. Games. Stadium-rocking cheers. Lots of yelling. Too much yelling, some would say. Worthy causes. Millions of dollars raised.

Yes, you heard me correctly: MILLIONS.

It’s easy to chuckle at this sort of idea (Sweaty college students standing for 30+ hours? Ew.), but the numbers speak for themselves:

  • The University of Kentucky raised over $123,000 during its first dance marathon, giving it the title of most money donated from a dance marathon in its first year.
  • The University of Florida has raised over $5.3 million since starting its annual dance marathon 19 years ago.
  • Penn State raised over $12 MILLION at this year’s event (and has raised over $89 MILLION since its inception back in 1977).

So how do these crazy kids even hear about these ridiculous extravaganzas?

Arielle Darvin, a freshman at the University of Florida, weighs in on how she has gotten involved in UF’s Dance Marathon during her short time at college and what it means to her. “My sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, has a team every year. Though I have not participated in the event myself, I hope to raise enough money to obtain a position to ‘dance’ this year. I have heard nothing but incredible things and I hope to have the opportunity to experience the amazingness for myself.” Feel free to check out Arielle’s UF DM page to donate to the cause (and help her win the chance the jam out!). Every dollar helps!

Arielle also highlights why UF DM has been so successful in its fundraising. “UF is made up of a diverse body of students who are dedicated to changing people’s lives. With Shands Hospital right at the edge of campus, it is not surprising that students are passionate about helping the children whose medical needs [are served by] Shands Hospital.”

The event also affects this Gator gal on a personal level. “I am volunteering in the Pediatric Specialty Clinic at Shands Children’s Hospital this semester, so I have seen and interacted with many children that Dance Marathon supports, making this experience even more compelling.”

More of the story? Ren McCormack made a good point with his whole bit about puttin’ on your dancing shoes.



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the author

Lily Herman is a junior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Besides bopping around on The Prospect, Lily is a columnist for USA TODAY College (read the Quad Report, yo); an editorial intern for The Daily Muse; a contributing editor for the campus blog Wesleying; a national contributing editor for Her Campus; and an editorial/marketing intern at HelloFlo. When she is not studying or awkwardly waving at people around campus, Lily enjoys eating Sour Patch Kids and re-watching the Friday Night Lights series finale (she's Team Saracen, by the way). Also (shameless plug alert), feel free to follow her on Twitter, or email her at lherman(at)theprospect(dot)net.

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