Rutgers Dance Marathon aims to raise $20 K. for World Kindness Day
Today, on World Kindness Day, Rutgers students discuss what kindness means to them and how they will be embodying it on campus.
Ben Constantinides, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he sees the importance of World Kindness Day.
"I think kindness means showing empathy, understanding how other people may feel,” Constantinides said. “It is doing things for other people that may not always benefit you.”
On campus, Rutgers University Dance Marathon (RUDM) plans on participating in World Kindness Day.
The director of Marketing for Dance Marathon, Sam Sun, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, planned this year’s event, 20K on World Kindness Day.
“Every semester we have a fundraising day where we challenge ourselves to reach a certain goal. So, on Tuesday, it will be $20,000, hence the name 20K on World Kindness Day," she said.
Proceeds from RUDM go the New Brunswick-based Embrace Kids Foundation. 20K on World Kindness Day is one of the many events that leads to the actual Dance Marathon event.
Dance Marathon is a 24-hour event that takes place every spring semester at Rutgers. Participants are expected to stay on their feet for 12 hours while completing a series of dances and other activities.
Despite so much emphasis on one day, Sun said RUDM is a year-long fundraising effort. Embrace Kids Foundation, where the donations go, is a local charity right off College Avenue that helps families affected by pediatric cancer, blood disorders and other serious illnesses.
Megan Knight, 12, is one of the many children partnered with the Embrace Kids Foundation.
“They make me happy, they are awesome and they do a lot of really fun parties," she said. "They help me do arts and crafts. I only like art now that I am older.”
In the spirit of World Kindness Day, Knight also shared what kindness means to her.
“It is when you give stuff to others to help them. So they have stuff to play with like me,” she said.
20K on World Kindness Day has both in-person and online components. Sun explained that they also run a social media campaign alongside tabling.
RUDM traditionally tables on Morrell Street, behind the College Avenue Student Center, but is switching things up this year.
“We chose The Yard because it is a popular bus stop on College Ave., and we enjoy having outdoor tabling even though it will probably be a little cold on Tuesday," Sun said. "It is definitely nicer because you have way more visibility. Hopefully we will get to use the megatron."
RUDM Assistant Director of Finance Karishma Patel, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, will be tabling for 20K on World Kindness day.
She initially got involved with RUDM during her first year at Rutgers.
“I love tabling because you get to see everyone," Patel said. "A lot of the time it is really hard to reach out to people over social media, and with tabling you get a wide variety of random people. You have the whole Rutgers community, which is what all of this is about."
Sun said tabling volunteers will give out prizes to people that follow RUDM on social media. Prizes may include stickers, phone backs and pre-packaged candy.
There are a series of fundraising contests, too, that will give away more than $5,000 in donations to dancers, she said. These contests are an attempt to help dancers reach their minimum -- they are required to raise $350 to be a confirmed participant in the main event.
During the 12-hour online fundraising contest, any donation of $20-increments or more equals one entry into a raffle, she said. There are drawings throughout the day, including a Facebook Live drawing of the Grand Prize Winner, who is expected to win $300.
“It is awesome to see how much we fundraise every single year," Sun said. "But nothing really replaces having such a meaningful relationship. Especially as a college student because sometimes you can feel so isolated from the rest of the world. We always say the numbers don’t matter. What matters is what we do with the numbers."