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LETTER: Dance Marathon has come long way since its introduction to U.

During the winter of the 1970-71 school year, a small group of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brothers sat in an apartment on Easton Avenue looking for something to do that would be fun, challenging and valuable to the community-at-large. Inspired in part by the recent 1969 movie “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” we decided to organize a dance marathon and chose the American Cancer Society (ACS) as the beneficiary. The local ACS chapter blessed us with the invaluable mentoring and hard work of its community volunteers Sandy and Lyn Nacht.

The marathon ran at the College Avenue Gymnasium from Friday evening through late Sunday afternoon. Fraternities, residence hall sections at Rutgers and Douglass Colleges and community members sponsored dance teams. The dancers had a rest period every 4 hours and a sleep break from 3 to 8 a.m. each night.  With unbridled enthusiasm and the help of many others, including many friends at Douglass College — and without the use of the internet and social media — we raised approximately $18,000, never imagining the marathon would eventually reach the heights it has today.

From what we see on its website, the current Dance Marathon is a monumental, well-organized event. The work done for the Embrace Kids Foundation is exemplary. And judging from our experience 47 years ago, those who participate in the marathon will create lifetime memories and will always be proud of their efforts and accomplishments.  

We are proud of our part in the first dance marathon at Rutgers and of what it has become. It was an honor to be invited to attend this year’s Dance Marathon. Those of us who could be there this year were excited to attend. Our hats are off to all those who contributed to its success!

Steve Gerber is a Rutgers Class of 1972 graduate, Bruce Goldman is a Rutgers Class of 1972 graduate, Hannah G. Goldman is a Douglass College Class of 1973 graduate, Richie Goldman is a Rutgers Class of 1972 graduate, Bob Mannis is a Rutgers Class of 1971 graduate, Lou Scholnik is a Rutgers Class of 1972 graduate, Bob Schultz is a Rutgers Class of 1972 graduate and Erwin J. Shustak is a Rutgers Class of 1973 graduate. They took part in organizing the first Dance Marathon event at Rutgers.

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