Despite a shortened event, Stanford University Dance Marathon (SUDM) surpassed its fundraising total from last year by about $12,000. Saturday’s 12-hour event, down from 24 hours in past years, raised over $75,000 for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) through SUDM registration, merchandise sales and various fundraising campaigns held throughout the school year.
According to SUDM Financial Manager Ian Hodge ’19, the event was shortened in order to prioritize efficiency.
“We found that … [it] brought a lot of people in earlier,” Hodge said. “DM in the past has been mainly DM [executives] and dorm captains, and then around 8 or 9 p.m., everyone starts coming in. But we found that around 4:30 p.m., all these people had rolled in.”
Performances were put on by acapella groups such as Fleet Street, Everyday People and Talisman, as well as dance groups such as Akasma Bellydance, Stanford Bhangra and Urban Styles. Swingtime and zumba workshops and dance classes kept the crowd dancing throughout the day.
Since its inception in 2003, SUDM’s philanthropy has focused on global health, fundraising for organizations such as Partners in Health in Rwanda. This year, SUDM Director Camila Vargas ’19 wanted to focus on local healthcare by raising money for LPCH.
“Yes, there’s a lot of global health inequity, [but] we don’t want to forget about our own community right here,” Vargas said. “This is not a battle miles and miles away. It’s a battle we have right here.”
Outreach Director Michelle Hull ’19 sought to incorporate SUDM’s focus on the Stanford community into the structure of the marathon itself. Student DJ Bella Wilcox ’19 headlined the event.
“Patient heroes” from LPCH shared their medical experiences and growth with the audience around 5 p.m. Each patient spoke of the support LPCH had provided them.
“We had a huge crowd for [the patients], bigger than I’d ever seen in years past,” said SUDM Finance Director Ian Hodge ’19.
This year’s SUDM also added a community outreach team in order to include community centers and lesser-known groups on campus, such as Los Salseros and Mariachi Cardenal, in the event. Vargas reached out to the Diversity and First-Gen Office for ideas to make the event as inclusive as possible.
Hodge added that SUDM partnered with other on-campus groups, such as Stanford Drag Troupe and other Greek organizations, to host events in fall quarter and start raising money and awareness for the Children’s Fund at LPCH.
SUDM also established an alumni network this year in order to increase fundraising efforts.
Vargas stressed SUDM’s role as a service organization that focuses on healthcare needs and the needs of the community.
“It’s not a party … it’s a celebration,” Vargas said. “It’s a celebration of life. It’s a celebration of the work that we’re doing. It’s a celebration of campus coming together for one night.”
Hodge commended the SUDM outreach team’s role in engaging the community.
“I think our outreach director, Michelle Hull, did a really phenomenal job of engaging with the freshmen and a lot of the campus community,” Hodge said. “We also have some really strong, amazing dorm captains who value their dorm and rolled them out.”