Rutgers Dance Marathon gets students off their feet for charity

Natalie Civadelic Apr 11, 2024

Photo by @rudancemarathon / Instagram Rutgers Dance Marathon kept students grooving in the name of a good cause.

On Saturday, hundreds of students, faculty and community members gathered at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus to participate in the 26th Annual Rutgers University Dance Marathon (RUDM).

Dance marathons, a popular fundraising event on college campuses across the nation, involve participants dancing or remaining on their feet for an extended period to raise money and awareness for various causes. 

It’s a grueling physical challenge, but one that pales in comparison to the challenges faced by the children and families supported by RUDM’s beneficiary, Embrace Kids Foundation (EFK).

At Rutgers, participants dance to raise funds and awareness for EFK, supporting the non-medical needs of children with cancer, sickle cell and other serious disorders. Since 1999, a diverse array of organizations, including Greek life, cultural groups, professional associations, special interest clubs, honors societies and residence halls have united “for the kids.”

In order to participate, each dancer is required to raise a minimum of $250.

Kamryn Sokoloski, a Rutgers Business School junior and an assistant director of marketing for RUDM, highlighted the collective impact of small donations.

“It’s hard because you don’t know the impact that you have,”said Kokoloski. “Everyone donating $250 ends up with our total being over $500,000. Every single dollar means so much to everything in total.”

This setup naturally fosters a competitive spirit, as teams strive to out-number and raise the most money, encouraging participants to get excited about going above and beyond to support the cause. 

“Almost every chapter in the Interfraternity Council (IFC) attends RUDM every year,” explained Patrick Kilgallen, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore and marketing coordinator for IFC.

Kilgallen explained that each fraternity raises money for EKF throughout the year, receiving donations from tabling events with other on-campus organizations, friends and family.

Teams of participants at RUDM not only fundraise together but also forge meaningful connections with the children and families supported by EFK. During the event, participants have the opportunity to dance, play games and engage in friendly competitions with the children.