Last Friday, Bowdoin College Dance Marathon hosted its third annual Dance Marathon to raise money for Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.
This year’s Dance Marathon had more students registered than ever before and raised a record amount of money, an increase the leaders of the event attributed to improved collaboration with athletic teams and College Houses.
Dance Marathon, which is affiliated with the nationwide non-profit Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, is a fundraiser that connects colleges and universities to local children’s hospitals. Bowdoin’s Dance Marathon group was started in the 2016-17 school year by a group of then first-year students.
In its first year at Bowdoin during the spring of 2018, Dance Marathon fundraised $22,000. Last year, the number increased to $30,000. This year, the group set a goal of $40,000. So far, it has raised over $37,000, but, according to Dance Marathon Executive Director Rodger Heidgerken ’20, donations are still coming in.
Two-hundred sixty-five people registered for the event this year, more than doubling the 120 from last year. Fran Mauro ’22, who served on the executive committee for Dance Marathon, led the effort to reach out to College Houses. Although they had collaborated with the College House system in previous years, this year the group increased recruitment efforts to gain the dramatic increase in registrations.
“I think when we were looking at planning for this year, we realized that the College Houses are an untapped source of really tight-knit communities, and also, they’re competitive amongst themselves,” said Mauro.
Additionally, many athletic teams registered for the event, creating another opportunity for fundraising competition between teams.
The executive board also placed more emphasis on reaching out to all class years. Abby Allen ’23, who was involved with Dance Marathon at her high school, served as first-year director for Bowdoin’s chapter.
“I did a lot of talking to other first years, trying to teach them about Dance Marathon and getting them involved,” said Allen.
Members of this year’s executive board are hopeful that the event will continue to grow in future years, despite the fact that many of its leaders will be graduating.
“In the past, we’ve had our executive board raise thousands and thousands of dollars,” said Katherine Henneberger ’20. “This time, the fundraising was much, much, much more spread out, which is more sustainable in the long run if you’re going to continue doing these events over the course of several years.”