GW plans dance marathon

In a joint effort, some GW student groups are sponsoring an event that has raised millions of dollars for charity at other universities. Organizers of the first annual GW Dance Marathon said the event will start off small in the Hippodrome next month, with hopes of growing into a larger fundraiser in future years.

Organizers kicked off the initial stages of their program with an information session Tuesday and a registration table outside of the Marvin Center.

Sophomore Jordan Usdan said he got the idea while looking for possible community service events for Kappa Sigma fraternity. He found the Children’s Miracle Dance Marathon, an event that originated at Penn State University in 1973, and has spread to more 60 college campuses nationwide, he said.

The GW event, sponsored by the Office of Greek Affairs, the Student Association and the Interfraternity Council, is a 12-hour dance marathon in the Hippodrome April 20 and 21, and will raise money for the Children’s Hospital in D.C.

“The ultimate goal of the event is to raise as much money for Children’s Hospital as possible, which we hope to be upwards of $10,000,” said Usdan, chair of the GW Dance Marathon.

Participants pay $10 when they register, and must raise another $90 in donations in order to become “an official dancer,” Usdan said.

Event Operations Chair, Brian Kirrane, said all money raised for the event goes to Children’s Hospital, and participants are encouraged to raise as much as possible.

Penn State raised a record $3.5 million at its Dance Marathon last weekend, Usdan said. Organizers said they hope GW students will be motivated to follow in the footsteps of such a successful event.

“This is huge on college campuses everywhere,” said Shari Cooperman, public relations chair for the event.

Many dance marathons such as the Penn State event took place in giant stadiums or lasted as long as 48 hours, but GW’s will start at a smaller scale because it is new, Cooperman said.

“We’re only dancing for 12 hours instead of 24 or 48, and our event is being held in the Hippodrome, but you have to start with something,” Usdan said

The rules of the Dance Marathon require that contestants stay on their feet for the full 12 hours, with some breaks. Contestants are allowed sit while they eat or break for a game of bowling, said Kancher, entertainment chair for the event.

“We’re going to have a different theme for every hour,” he said. “There’s going to be a Swing hour, a Hip-Hop hour, a Latin hour, a rave at midnight. It’s going to be the phattest loaf since bread.”

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