By: Katelyn Norris
January 19, 2021 – Bellarmine University Dance Marathon will now be held at its original location of Frazier Hall.
Adventuring astronauts, otherworldly aliens and Knights are on the intergalactic guest list for this year’s Bellarmine University Dance Marathon.
BUDM will be on Jan. 22 from 6 p.m. to midnight in Knights Hall. The event raises funds for an endowment within the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Norton’s Children’s Hospital. The theme of this year’s event is “Out of This World.”
Junior Grace Staples, BUDM dancer outreach and communications chair, said the theme for the event was chosen by students via social media. She said Knights Hall will be decorated in a space theme with spaceships, planets and alien décor.
“The theme is going to incorporate all the elements of space, and there will even be some cute aliens. We have a great logo picked out for the event, which may or may not be on our T-shirts this year,” Staples said.
Junior Shelby Allen, BUDM associate director, said each hour participants will perform the Miracle Dance, which is taught in the first hour of the marathon. The Miracle Dance is a line dance to keep energy high all night, Allen said. She said there will be small fundraising and entertainment components to rally donations each hour during the event.
“Also, in the six hours, each hour, a Brave Heart, a kid directly affected by the services of the ICU, will speak to our dancers. They and their families get to tell their story,” Allen said.
First year student Katherine Barr said she has been looking forward to BUDM since her first tour of Bellarmine. Barr said she has participated in other dance marathons in high school and is ready for the BUDM experience.
“I’m excited to get to be a part of the traditions Bellarmine has in the dance marathon,” Barr said. “And being a part of the fundraising for BUDM is a feeling that I can’t describe. It’s all about knowing I will be spending 6 to midnight in the gym raising money for those kids and the feeling is incredible.”
Since 2014, BUDM has set a fundraising goal of $30,000. Allen said last year students raised $35,749, which is the first year the event ever exceeded its goal.
“We are keeping our goal right now is $30,000, mainly because we understand the impact of the pandemic and people’s economic struggles. We’re trying to walk the line of respect to our dancers and still trying to raise money for the kids,” Allen said.
Fundraising isn’t the only thing Covid-19 has affected. Staples said the dance marathon moved from its usual venue of Fraizer Hall to Knights Hall this year. Staples said they are also increasing safety and sanitation at the event.
“We changed to Knights Hall so we can have an even bigger dance floor and space for a food room. If you’re not on the dance floor, you can’t take your mask off and you need to be in the other room to be eating or drinking, and that’s going to be a designated area,” Staples said.
Allen said they also have a logistics committee set aside to maintain cleaning cycles at the event.
“We wanted to have a designated group of people who do nothing but think about sanitation,” she said. “We’re proud to make sure that it’s a priority for us so that we can stay in person because we know that we’ll fundraise more.”
Allen said they raise funds during the event and during their Miracle Week, Jan. 19 – 21. BUDM will hold fun activities each night during Miracle Week in preparation for the marathon. Staples said some of the events they are a scavenger hunt, BUDM T-shirt decorating and a game night. These events will generate excitement for the dance marathon, and students can sign up and donate for BUDM during these pop-up events.
“All of the activities that week are in an effort to get people excited and ready for BUDM on that Friday,” Staples said.
Allen emphasized Miracle Week as an opportunity for students to sign up and continue donating. She said in previous years the week leading up to the event was when the most students registered.
Tuesday will be s’mores making from 7 to 9 p.m. near the Sienna firepit. Wednesday will T-shirt decorating in the Commuter Lounge from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday night features game night in Hilary’s from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with snacks, Just Dance and other games.
Allen said another thing about this year’s event that separates it from previous dance marathons is BUDM can be counted as an RSO service event. She said if multiple people in RSO are signed up for the event, the RSO can count the marathon as hours of service.
“We’re hoping that in the future we can sustain the service requirement by integrating some different service components beyond our fundraising. Some ideas we have are doing some crayon drives and making blankets,” Allen said.
Barr said she was very excited about raising funds for BUDM as it was different than previous dance marathons she has attended. However, she said she has already raised more than $200 dollars for BUDM and she is excited to raise more.
“It’s going to be bittersweet when all the kids speak at the event. The fact that these kids can go up and speak about their hardships and struggles but that is why we are dancing that. We are doing it for them,” Barr said.
Senior Tiffany Melgar, BUDM morale member, said the most important aspect of the event isn’t the service requirement or the dancing. She said this event is service that is bigger than herself and helping the kids.
“By knowing the purpose of this event and knowing that you are doing this for the kids. Bellarmine has been helping fund the improvement and advancement of technology,” Melgar said. “It definitely has been helping in this time of the pandemic.”
Staples said she is always moved when the Brave Hearts speak to the dancers at the marathon. She said it’s always emotional and it helps them understand why the event happens.
“Typically, the feeling in the room is something that I can’t describe. It’s like dead silent when they’re talking and you’re just listening to take it all in,” Staples said. “It feels like everyone is connected in that moment and you’re like ‘this is why we’re here.’”
Allen said this event is at its heart a part of BU’s core value of service. She said she believes it shows Knights in action and doing good for their community. Staples said the marathon encompasses much of the university’s mission.
“It’s all about the mind, body and spirit aspect of Bellarmine’s mission. You are reflecting about why you are doing this and why it is important. Then you are literally moving your body the whole time you are there,” Staples said. “When the kids talk, something comes over the room and it’s great we get to do something so powerful with BUDM.”
To sign up and donate online visit https://events.dancemarathon.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=3908 or sign up and donate in person at one of the Miracle Week events.