Dance Marathon levels up

The morale team teaches event participants the steps to the morale dance. Photo by Riina Korri


In one of the university’s biggest annual philanthropy events, Butler University Dance Marathon (BUDM) ended its fundraising season by raising more than $257,000 for Riley Hospital for Children, surpassing last year’s total by nearly $17,000. 

Emma Stoody, a senior finance and risk management and insurance double major, serves as the vice president internal on the executive board this year. She said that BUDM has grown to become the largest student-run group at Butler, totaling almost 400 people attending the event this year on Mar. 2. 

Stoody said she was very pleased with this past dance marathon and that it was a delightful way to wrap up her participation in BUDM. Having been a member all four years of her college experience, Stoody has developed deep ties to the organization. 

“For me, [BUDM has] truly been a life-changing experience,” Stoody said. “I’m so thankful for the people that I have met and been privileged to work with and call best friends along the way to getting involved.” 

Throughout the day, there were many events aimed at keeping participants engaged. This year, the event featured a bounce house, tie-blanket making, Greek life lip-syncs and a silent disco. 

As is tradition, children from the Riley Hospital for Children were invited to come speak and share their stories. Throughout the event, participants learn an eight-to-10-minute dance which is then performed to round out the day. 

Having been involved with BUDM in different ways all four years of college, Stoody had a variety of ideas going into this year’s events. 

“My big [goal] was trying to keep people there and keeping the energy up for as long as possible,” Stoody said. “I would probably say it felt like a success.” 

Kathryn Babich, a sophomore organizational communication and leadership and strategic communication double major, stepped into her executive role as co-director of dancer relations this year and also had some new ideas on improvements from the past. 

“[This year, we] implemented a Color Team Challenge,” Babich said. “Points were awarded to color teams that went above and beyond, whether this was through fundraising, having high energy or an obvious passion for Riley.” 

Stoody’s work is inspired by her cousin Jack, who was born with dextro-transposition of the great arteries. 

“As soon as he was born, he wasn’t receiving oxygen and had to be lift-flighted to Riley, where he spent the first three months of his life,” Stoody said. “So without Riley Hospital for Children, he wouldn’t be the happy and healthy, smart, awesome 13-year-old boy that he is … and they just performed so many miracles for my family, I feel like it was just kind of my calling to give back to them and do anything I could.” 

Senior psychology major Alyssa McKillip was inspired to participate in BUDM due to her experience with the Riley Hospital for Children as well. 

With plans to work in pediatrics in the future, McKillip currently works at Riley as a patient care assistant and said she gets to see the impacts of each donation play out every day. A portion of the money raised during BUDM goes to the Child Life Zone, which provides different toys, games and entertainment to the kids during their treatments. 

This year, McKillip worked as co-director of special events. She worked on an event called H(our) BUDM, which worked to unite families of the organization, community members and Butler faculty in fundraising. 

McKillip said that throughout her four years of involvement, she always enjoyed getting to know other people who are passionate about a similar cause. 

“I feel like BUDM is such a big organization on campus that you have to know somebody that’s involved in it in some capacity, ” McKillip said. “Initially, I was interested because I wanted to go into medicine … then it turned into, ‘Oh my goodness, I love these people.’ [They are] like a second family to me. Seeing everyone motivated for the same cause is something that you just don’t find everywhere. And that’s really special.” 

Stoody said that each year, the event tries to build on previous successes. This year, reviewers said they loved the decorations and increases in engagement and money raised. 

“I think in the future we’re looking for more partnerships from [local] organizations,” Stoody said. “A lot of larger marathons, like at IU and Purdue, [get] a donation matching hour with a company and that is something we would be looking forward to doing … we appreciate the ones [we have] now, but we also want to push ourselves to do more.” 


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