Valparaiso University juniors Caiti Blase, right, and Devyn Gensch dance during a dance marathon on Sunday, November 11, 2012. The event raised funds for Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 26, 2012 6:21AM
Valparaiso University’s inaugural dance marathon recently raised more than $10,400 for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
More than 250 students participated in the six-hour event in the ballroom of Harre Union. Though VU’s fraternities and sororities sponsored the dance marathon, it was open to all students.
“It’s a campuswide event,” said James Lockridge, a senior and engineering major from Hanna, who handled public relations.
Participants paid entry fees and collected pledges to raise money for Riley. Universities nationwide sponsor similar events to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; Riley is in that group.
Katie Glesing, dance marathon coordinator for the Riley Children’s Foundation, said more than 50 dance marathons are organized in Indiana. The foundation is Riley’s fundraising branch.
“Indiana is definitely a state that’s laid the foundation,” Glesing said, adding it was nice to add another university to the roster of schools having marathons.
Each hour of the VU dance marathon featured a different theme for the music. While music blared from the ballroom, Lockridge explained the event’s most important rule.
“You have to at least be on your feet the entire time; you don’t have to be dancing,” he said, adding the event’s theme was, “We Stand for Those Who Cannot.”
One of the biggest challenges of VU’s first dance marathon — and organizers said it will become an annual event — was just getting the word out, said the event’s student director, Katie Dayman, a nursing major from Pleasant Valley, Iowa.
Some students thought they’d have to dance for the entire marathon, she said, adding organizers were impressed with the turnout.
“We’re very pleased,” she said.
Sophomore Amber Neubauer, a business and marketing major from near Minneapolis-St. Paul, said she enjoyed all the campus fraternities and sororities working together on one fundraiser, especially since each of the groups has philanthropies they support individually.
She also was moved by the stories of children who’ve gone to Riley for treatment.
“It was very heartfelt and touching hearing what they’ve been through,” she said.