Rutgers Dance Marathon 2015 breaks record with $692,046.67 total
Dancing for 30 hours is likely to make any person want to sit down, but the participants at Rutgers University Dance Marathon quickly stood up after discovering that this year’s record-breaking total surpassed last year's by nearly $70,000.
Event organizers announced that RUDM 2015 raised a final total of $692,046.67 during the spectacle’s concluding reveal at 6 p.m. on April 12 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center (RAC) on the Livingston campus.
RUDM is the largest student-run fundraiser for the Embrace Kids Foundation in the state of New Jersey, with more than 800 dancers, including 110 morale captains and excluding volunteer staff, said Monica Marrone, director of University Relations for RUDM 2015.
Now in its 17th year, Dance Marathon is the largest student-run philanthropic event held at the University annually, and was held at the RAC for the second time this year after operating within the College Avenue Gymnasium for 15 years.
Before announcing the grand total, Kinan Tadmori, director of Communications, asked dancers to “do something a little different this year” and put their phones down.
“We’re asking you to put your phones away so you can fully share the moment with all of us when we do the reveal,” she said. “This is your total, and we want you to enjoy it.”
Darcy Reynolds, director of Finance, said Dance Marathon raised $65,967.17 when it first began in 1999 with 99 dancers. Last year, the event raised $622,533.98 for the Embrace Kids Foundation.
The Embrace Kids Foundation uses the money raised by Dance Marathon to alleviate the non-medical needs of cancer survivors and patients, as well as other illnesses, including cystic fibrosis and various blood disorders, said Glenn Jenkins, executive director of Embrace Kids Foundation.
The Embrace Kids Foundation has incredible appreciation for the efforts Rutgers students put into Dance Marathon every spring, Jenkins said.
The money raised by past Dance Marathons enabled the Embrace Kids Foundation to expand their mission toward helping children with illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and other blood disorders, as well as cancer, Jenkins said.
Reynolds, a Rutgers Business School senior, announced all of the top fundraising groups and individuals.
Among the recognized fundraisers were Alpha Zeta Omega, the first place professional fraternity that raised $20,210.37, and the first place sorority Phi Sigma Sigma that raised $56,988.89. Chi Psi fraternity was the top fundraising fraternity, raising $41,250.96.
Nathan Weiss, executive director of Rutgers University Dance Marathon Alumni Association, said current Rutgers students weren't the only ones enduring 30 straight hours on their feet for a cause. In the beginning of the year, the association had a fundraising goal of $15,000, but ended up surpassing that goal by $3,000.
"We have 15 brave alumni dancers who stood on their feet the entire time to raise money," said Weiss, who has participated in RUDM for the past seven years.
In the color wars competition, the Blue Team won first place, the Neon Team won second place and the Green Team came in third, Reynolds said.
Before the event organizers announced the top fundraisers on stage, student dancers collectively performed their final line dance –– a medley of pop hits beginning with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk," and concluding with Alesso and Tove Lo's electronic smash hit, "Heroes."
“What I see is so beautiful and spectacular,” Jenkins said. “I see student leaders who have given so much … I see (patients' families) that are dealing with so much, and yet carry themselves in such a great way. What I see is a community.”
Dan Corey and Avalon Zoppo are Rutgers Business School first-year students majoring in pre-business. They are Associate News Editors at The Daily Targum. Follow them on Twitter @_dancorey and @avalonzoppo for more stories.
View more of The Daily Targum’s coverage of Rutgers University Dance Marathon 2015 at dailytargum.com/rudm2015.