November 10, 2008

Cornell Greeks Begin Charity Dance Marathon Tradition

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Approximately 200 students danced the night away on Saturday in the Straight Memorial Room. The evening, which lasted from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m., marked the first-ever dance marathon hosted by the Order of Omega and the Student Union Board to benefit the Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse.
Erica Shreck, vice president of the Order of Omega at Cornell, stated in an e-mail, “We are so excited to have been able to bring the Greek and entire Cornell community together to support such an amazing cause that positively impacts the greater upstate New York region.”
According to the Office of the Dean of Students, the Order of Omega is a national honor society which recognizes “particularly meritorious men and women in the undergraduate Greek community,” emphasizing “community service and inter-Greek communication over academic and nominal honors.”
The group raised funds for the children’s hospital through voluntary donations at the door and through letter-writing campaigns, raising in total about $4,000 for the hospital. The hospital is a member of the Children’s Miracle Network and is dedicated to researching and treating pediatric illnesses and diseases.
According to Shreck, the event was modeled after successful dance marathons held at Penn State University and Northwestern University.
B.J. Adigun, director of community development for the hospital, said, “It’s a great thing to see Cornell students supporting the hospital” and “getting pumped up about the event.”
The event was free of charge with a $5 donation requested at the door.
The dance marathon featured several campus entertainment groups who performed every half hour throughout the night, including the Whistling Shrimp, Absolute Zero, BASE, the Caribbean Students Dance Association, C.U. Jazz, On Tap Dance Troupe and Sabor Latino.
“I thought [the event] was planned very well with all the performances,” said Amanda Broitman ’09.
Liza Solomon ’09 “absolutely” enjoyed the dance marathon, attending the event with several friends.
Throughout the night, the Memorial Room was filled with students dancing to songs like the Macarena and T-Pain’s “Get Low”, snacking on Domino’s pizza and Insomnia cookies and waving glow-sticks.
“It was a really creative way to raise money for a worthy cause,” said Hillary Murray ’10.
Erin Carlson ’11 agreed. “I really liked the music choices, and the fact that there were glow-sticks made the awkward 7th grade dance feel go away in a second,” she said.
The event was also smoke- and tobacco-free, according to Sylvia Duran, 4-H Reality Check program coordinator. Reality Check is part of Cornell’s Cooperative Extension and targets the tobacco industry, aiming to inform society about the harms of smoking.
The Order of Omega did not accept any donations from members of the tobacco industry, according to Duran.
Remarking on the success of the event, Shrek stated in an e-mail, “Get ready for Dance Marathon ’09, we can’t wait to make the event a long standing tradition here at school!”