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Dance MaraTHONs on Campuses Across America

While Penn State may hold a dance marathon that’s the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, it doesn’t hold the only dance marathon. There are many universities across America that fundraise in a year-long effort, have executive committees and dance for hours on hours — just like we do — in support of all sorts of great causes. Here are a few we’ve ranked as the top fundraisers:

  1. Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance MaraTHON
  2. Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) – Since 1991, more than 2,000 IU students come together each November for a 36-hour dance marathon in benefit of the Ryan White Infectious Disease Center at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. So far, they’ve raised $14 million!
  3. University of Iowa Dance Marathon“The Big Event” is a 24-hour dance marathon where all dancers who’ve raised a required amount of money are invited to participate. Since 1995, the dance marathon has raised a total of $14,539,193.44!
  4. Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM)NUDM holds a 30-hour dance marathon each year and has done so since 1975. Northwesten students have raised more than $14 million for over 30 different beneficiaries. In its 40th year, they will Join the Team in the fight against Duechenne Muscular Dystrophy for heroes like Joseph.
  5. Dance Marathon at the University of Florida – In the spirit of a running marathon, Dance Marathon at the University of Florida is a 26.2-hour event benefiting the patients of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Throughout its 19 years, UF students have raised more than $6.4 million to make Dance Marathon at UF the most successful student-run philanthropy in the Southeastern United States!
  6. University of Kentucky Dance Marathon (DanceBlue)DanceBlue, held in February just like THON, is a 24-hour no sitting or sleeping dance marathon. Over the past eight years, over 100 campus organizations and 800 dancers have helped raise over $5.1 million for the Golden Matrix Fund. They work to support cancer research at the Markey Cancer Center and social support at the DanceBlue KCH Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.
  7. Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan – DMUM—the largest student-run non-profit organization in the state of Michigan—recently reached its goal of $5 million after #DMUM2014. They strive to raise monetary support and awareness for pediatric rehabilitation programs at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor and Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak. To close the end of each school year, students stand for 30 hours in dedication to their cause.
  8. University of Central Florida Dance Marathon (Knight-Thon) – The student volunteers—the Knights—stand for 20 hours each spring in support of Greater Orlando Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Knight-Thon is roughly two weeks away!
  9. Florida State University Dance Marathon – With all funds going to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and the Florida State University College of Medicine, Dance Marathon at FSU is an annual 40-hour event with more than 1,800 students standing FTK. Over the past 18 years, they’ve raised over $4.5 million!
  10. Dance Marathon at UCLAUp 4 The Fight? UCLA’s Dance Marathon is a 26-hour long event where dancers stand in support of children infected with or affected by HIV and AIDS. The $3.5 million UCLA’s students have raised over the past 12 years have gone to three deserving beneficiaries: The Elizabeth Glasser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (70%), Project Kindle (20%) and UCLA’s AIDS Institute (10%).
  11. University of North Carolina Dance Marathon – Students of UNC who become dancers stand for a 24-hour dance marathon in support of the N.C. Children’s Hospital. Since their founding in 1998, the UNC-DM has surpassed $3.7 million for their For the Kids Fund that covers what medical insurance can’t for families. They also started the Children’s Supportive Care Team, which works to “improve the quality of life” of families suffering from illness.
  12. Rutgers University Dance Marathon (RUDM) – As the largest student-run philanthropy in New Jersey, RUDM provides emotional and financial support to kids who are a part of the Embrace Kids Foundation. Their dance marathon is a full 30 hours that takes place on Rutgers’ campus, and they’ve donated over $3.1 million to date since their first dance marathon in 1971.
  13. Ohio State BuckeyeThon – While they may be our rivals, we can’t have a mean spirit about this one. BuckeyeThon benefits Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which was ranked among the U.S. News & World Report’s list of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” last year. Since inception 13 years ago, the Buckeyes have raised $2.5 million.
  14. Iowa State University Dance Marathon – The fundraiser that Iowa State students refer to as “a celebration of life” has been helping children suffering from illness for over 17 years. dM gives its money directly to University of Iowa Children’s Hospital through Children’s Miracle Network. Students dance for 15 hours in support of more than 80 families and have raised $1.5 million as of today.
  15. University of Connecticut HuskyTHON – Continuing the trend of February dance marathons, the 18-hour celebration affectionately known as HuskyTHON comes together during the second month of each year. Student volunteers fundraise for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and have donated a total of $1,264,933 since their first dance marathon 14 years ago.
  16. University of Maryland Terp Thon – In an effort to make sure no family is turned away from the Children’s National Health System due to an inability to pay, Terp Thon raises funds and awareness for the health system in Washington, D.C., while maintaining the importance of community service around campus. In its five short years, UMD student organizations, university departments, small and large businesses and a culturally diverse student population have worked together to raise $1,195,799.45!
  17. Purdue University Dance Marathon – In its 9th year and 10th dance marathon, PUDM has raised over $1 million for kids at Riley Hospital for Children. Narrowed down further, the money goes towards the cancer c and Camp Riley. An executive board of 26 students and over 400 committee members actively plan and fundraise for the event.
  18. University of South Carolina Dance MarathonDance Marathon at the University of South Carolina is now in its 15th year of fundraising for their local Children’s Miracle Network hospital: The Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia, S.C. Its 24-hour dance marathon has raised over $1 million and is growing each year.
  19. Dance Marathon at Washington University in St. Louis (DM) – Students of Washington University in St. Louis stand for those who can’t in a 12-hour dance marathon to support two local children’s hospitals: St Louis Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. After its 16th event this past November, DM has become a campus tradition since its first year in 1999 and has raised over $1 million to date!
  20. Stanford Dance Marathon – With the collaborative effort between student groups, university administration and the Stanford community, the Stanford Dance Marathon is able to hold a 24-hour dance marathon in hopes of combating HIV and AIDS. They’ve raised a grand total of $783,637.69 since 2005.
  21. Mizzou Dance Marathon – Since 2008, the Mizzou Dance Marathon has fundraised for the Dance Marathon program (like many of the others). In the summer of 2012, they pledged to raise at least $375,000 for five years. Student volunteers plan the event that supports the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit TeleHealth Loving Care Program ($15,000/year), Music Therapy ($35,000/year), Teachers’ Salaries ($15,000) and a Children’s Blood Disorders and Cancer Unit need that’s to be determined ($10,000/year).
  22. Wake Forest University “Wake ‘N Shake” Dance Marathon – This Weekend, Wake Forest University will hold its ninth annual Wake ‘N Shake Dance Marathon. It’s a 12-hour event benefitting the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund, a fund created by Wake Forest students in honor of an alumnus. In just eight years, the student volunteers have grown five times the size that the marathon started with.
  23. Ball State University Dance Marathon – Originating through Greek Life just like THON, the Ball State University Dance Marathon has raised more than $350,000 over the past six years for the Riley Hospital for Children. It’s also supported the Magic Castle Cart and Palliative Care Program, with all funds going directly to the kids. BSUDM culminates every winter for a 12-hour standing marathon, and it raised $196,228.20 in 2013 alone.
  24. Dance Marathon at University of South Florida – With an 11-hour event in March, USF student-volunteers have raised over $160,000 for their local All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fl. As the largest student-run philanthropy on campus, Dance Marathon at USF says that their focus “is not on dancing, but on the 17 million kids in Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals around the country.”
  25. North Carolina State University Dance Marathon – Only two years young, NCSU Dance Marathon brings the students and community together to benefit children and their families who suffer from illness. The $100,000+ that they’ve raised goes to the Miracle Children at Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center. Their dance marathon has raised the fourth highest dollar amount ever by a first-year marathon.

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About the Author

Amber Kloper

Amber is a first-generation Penn Stater--class of 2016--studying broadcast journalism and business. She likes THON and traveling and reading and writing and music and words and rambling.


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