The University’s 21st annual Dance Marathon is redefining itself by implementing a few changes to their plans for 2016.
A major change that is taking effect this spring is a switch in the length of Ziggython, the largest event for Dance Marathon. For twenty years, students have stood for 32 hours during Ziggython. The 2016 Dance Marathon will see the traditional 32 hours change to a new 24-hour schedule.
Austin Flores, director of Dance Marathon, said that the transition to 24 hours has been a long time coming, even though the decision was just voted upon by the steering board.
“It’s really been a culmination of the past four years… we’ve seen the same number of people involved,” Flores said. “Not the kind of increase that other organizations are seeing across the country.”
The 32-hour Ziggython held in the past made it one of the longest Dance Marathon events in the country. The University’s program still ranks among the longest Dance Marathon events, even with the recent move to 24 hours, Flores said.
While there is tradition to the 32 hours, the experience for both the students and the Miracle Families was suffering.
The steering committee recognized that the participants are busy college students. Not everyone is able to sacrifice a whole weekend, whether it be due to school, work, or family commitments. Nor is everyone physically capable of standing for 32 hours.
The change will allow anyone who wants to participate in Dance Marathon to be able to due so without being deterred by the thought of standing and being awake for 32 hours. A single day is a more manageable and healthy amount of time for participants.
As the 24-hour period is not as physically taxing or as intense as the 32-hour Ziggython held in the past, the change is promoting student involvement, increasing numbers and the amount fundraised for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Shortening the time commitment allows more students the opportunity to participate.
This projection is holding true to the expectations of the steering board.
“Right now, signed up on our donor drive… we have more participants than we have ever had in any year,” Flores said.
Numbers are looking up in all areas of Dance Marathon, whether it be dancers, gamers, committee members, moralers, or bikers. Flores said that there will be another large sign up event in the spring as the first weekend in April draws closer.
Despite shortening the event, the reason for Dance Marathon remains the same. The mission statement of the first Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon was “We dance for those who can’t,” and Ziggython is still accomplishing that mission even with the change in length.
“The concept of the event, the meaning behind the event, the reason why we do the event hasn’t changed,” Flores said. Supporting miracle children is still the goal of Dance Marathon.