Stults Takes on Dance Marathon

FREE PRESS REPORT


Alexis Donahue, Libby Stults and Katelyn Anderson pose for a photo at a recent UF event to raise awareness of the Dance Marathon.

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - The University of Findlay in Ohio is one of about 300 colleges and universities nationwide to host a Dance Marathon (DM). Libby Stults, senior sport and event management major from Muncie, Indiana, has taken the reigns to make UF’s 2013 DM a success.

DM is a popular nationwide fundraising event that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. There are 170 of those hospitals in the U.S., and each DM collects money for its local hospital. UF raises money for Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio.

“DM is a six- to 36-hour standing event, and the whole idea is that we dance for those who can’t,” said Stults. “We stay on our feet and raise money for the kids in those hospitals.”

Kelly Wilder, a fifth-year pharmacy student, led UF’s DM for the past three years and passed on the torch this year. Stults heard about the opportunity through Phil Gunder, director of internships and cooperative education.

“I first met with Phil and Kelly, and Kelly explained what DM is and what they have done in past years here at the University,” said Stults. “I told her that it sounds awesome, and I’d love to take over.”

Stults and her assistant director Mariyem Nabouls, junior pharmacy major, began brainstorming ideas for DM during the 2013 spring semester.

“We had a lot of ideas and hosted a call-out meeting to see if anyone would like to be on our committee,” said Stults. “We didn’t have a committee in the past, and the first thing we wanted to do is get more people on board.”

During the summer, Stults attended a DM conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, with several DM leaders from the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University.

“We learned about gaining university support, fundraising and community involvement,” said Stults. “I also met a little boy named Griffin who’s two years old and has cancer. His family shared his story, and it was inspiring. Once you go to this conference and learn what DM is really about, you get to inspired to bring it back to your campus.”

Stults kept in touch with committee members over the summer and created a detailed proposal for the entire event, which was submitted to the Office of Student Activities at the start of the fall 2013 semester. This year’s DM will be an eight-hour event with activities, a DJ, food, dancing, contests and prizes.

“We’re changing it a little bit,” said Stults. “We will start with an opening ceremony to introduce the Miracle families that are going to be there and they will tell their stories throughout the event.”

Stults said that the fundraisers for DM have been approved and everything is moving along.

“DM is actually a celebration of the fundraising going on throughout the year,” said Stults. “That’s my challenge on this campus because DM isn’t recognized as that. Many think DM is a one-time event, but there’s a lot leading up to it.”

UF’s goal is to raise $5,000 this year, and the DM planning committee is hosting fundraisers already.

“Leading up to Dance Marathon, the planning committee is hosting a few fundraisers including a bake sale, a BBQ Crawl at City Barbeque and registration days,” said Stults. “Students who register as dancers are encouraged to have their family and friends donate to their fundraising page on Donor Drive. We have raised the majority of our money through family and friend donations.”

A Minute for Mercy fundraiser also will take place at a UF basketball game and football game this season to raise money for Dance Marathon and Mercy Children’s Hospital. One minute is set on the clock, and buckets are passed through the stands for fans to donate, in just 60 seconds, as much spare change as possible.

“Our main way of getting students involved is having them register to be dancers,” said Stults. “Students can register and then encourage friends to register. Participants can have family and friends donate, as well.”

Dancers can register for $5 at the Donor Drive website and begin fundraising now. The registration fee goes directly toward UF’s fundraising goal. Student organizations also have the opportunity to register as teams or create banners to be used as decorations for the DM event.

“My goal is to get students from all over campus involved in some way,” said Stults. “It’s one of those events where everyone on campus can be involved. It’s fun, and it’s for an amazing cause.”

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